When serving becomes a burden, it is no longer ministry. It grows bitterness rather than the Kingdom.
Spring has arrived, and we learn she is a fickle girl, a season of temperament and unpredictability. Many of us are experiencing bitter cold, snow, and howling winds.
Wind screams across The Wilderness Place shaking windows and rearranging the furniture on our deck. My Sweet Man spotted wet snowflakes as big as his hand mingling with the rain.
When serving becomes a burden, it is no longer ministry. It grows bitterness rather than the Kingdom. There’s a half-hearted attempt at following through, and we find ourselves negotiating out of the very thing we have prayed God would hand us.
That’s where I found myself when I opened the Word earlier in my day. Somewhere between my desire to serve the Kingdom and rolling up in a blanket, calling it a day.
Led to Paul’s words in 2Corinthians 4:1 (CSB):
“Therefore, since we have this ministry because we were shown mercy, we do not give up.”
I wanted to give up, or at the very least push deadlines and commitments back one more day. Commitments, I had prayed for, open doors I longed for, deep in my soul.
The fears of rejection, of not being accepted lay heavy before me. I am serving in the places I love, doing the things I have prayed for, and yet I found myself stumbling in fear of messing up. The fear of not measuring up.
Can you relate?
The things we have prayed for, ministries you have longed to be a part of sending us running and hiding. We are left feeling naked and exposed. We are soul-weary of people pleasing, seeking validation when the main thing is to serve.
Serving where you are, serving the Kingdom, and dying to self. When I allow the judgment of others to become my stumbling block, bitterness grows. I am here to serve the Kingdom at all costs; I am told not to give up, even when the urge to quit is strong.
In Acts, chapter twenty, Paul is giving a farewell address to the Ephesian Elders.
“And now I am on my way to Jerusalem compelled by the Spirit, not knowing what I will encounter there, except that in every town the Holy Spirit warns me that chains and afflictions are waiting for me. But I consider my life of no value to myself; my purpose is to finish my course and the ministry received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the Gospel of God’s good grace.” Acts 20:22-24 (CSB)
Paul, compelled by the Spirit, dies to self and willingly walks into chains. Paul stays the course. He does not give up.
Can we pause here and do a heart check? Is the Spirit compelling us, or, are we seeking validation?
Seeking validation will drain our souls of life, bitterness takes root before we know what has happened, we step away from our calling. Possibly, we step away from the Church or worse, we turn away from God.
When we set aside our need for approval, trusting in our validation in Christ, we serve from the mercy God has freely given us.
Strengthened by His grace and urged to move forward in our calling, serving with love, mercy, and grace.
Gifts of Grace
Did you know I wrote I book? Mornings In The Word, a small devotional meant to encourage and challenge you, urging you to go deeper into the Word of God.
In case you missed these posts:
You are welcome here! Sign up here and receive new posts directly in your inbox.
I’m blessed to serve you in this place, to share with you the Gifts of Grace as I journey through the wilderness. I picture you across the table, hands wrapped tightly around your cup, sharing life, and laughter, and tears. As I share with you, my daily struggles, I long to hear what yours may be. You can do that by commenting below or reaching out to me here.