Why should I serve where I'm not wanted?
Have you ever served in ministry and felt unappreciated, devalued, or outright disrespected, despised, and possibly in danger? Dumb question, huh? It is sad to say, but there are times when people in church can make it clear when someone isn’t wanted. It may be a new pastor with big, fancy ideas, or, wait, I’m sorry, ahem-vision. It can happen to a new musician who has changed the style of music for Sunday worship, or a newly hired staff member or church leader with a different leadership style than their predecessor.
In Matthew 20:17-19, Jesus warned His disciples that He is going to enter Jerusalem and face harsh treatment resulting in His death and resurrection. Despite how He was going to be treated, He went anyway.
There are going to be bad days in ministry where people will make you feel unwelcome. God will send us to people and places where we are not wanted. When it comes to ministry, we cannot be driven by how we’re treated. We need to be driven by a stronger and more compelling why. Why should we serve where we’re not wanted?
What would drive Jesus to enter Jerusalem knowing how He would be treated? Love! Love was Jesus’ driver in life. Likewise, our love for the Lord and His people needs to drive us in what we do.
This is a love that makes you tough—tough enough to love people and care about them even if they couldn’t care less about you.
This sort of love can make you tender, too. It can help you forgive those who are hurting you because they don’t know what they’re doing and strive to be a blessing anyhow.
Jesus went into Jerusalem knowing it would result in His death because it was important to Him to go. The importance of dying for our sins drove Him to push past what He knew people would do to Him and faithfully go where the Father willed.
He clearly stated He would be killed but rise again, which was very, very important!
“For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless,” (1 Corinthians 15:13-14).
Never allow how you’re mistreated make you lose sight of the importance of the work you’re called to do. Always remember the importance of souls being saved, the weak being strengthened, broken marriages being restored, and everyone knowing someone cares about them. We should serve where we’re not wanted because what we’re doing is important; too important to be unfaithful or just quit or prior to the Lord reassigning us to another work.
What can keep you going when you’re serving where you’re not wanted? Faith. This is a faith that gives us a language. It influences:
What you say to your mountains: Pray declaring, “Be thou removed!”
What you say to your haters: Like Nehemiah, say to your haters, “God is going to help us finish this great work”.
What you say to yourself: There have been times when I would remind myself that just as I am trusting God to make this work, He is trusting me to serve with excellence so He can bless watered seeds with increase. I trust God and remind myself that He is trusting me. He is trusting you, too!
We need to focus on the eternal rewards promised to us.
“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life,” (Revelation 2:10).
When you’re made to feel unwanted, look past today and look toward eternity remembering God is going to make it worth it! God won’t let you suffer for nothing!
Finally, where would we be if Jesus didn’t endure the mistreatment? Give the people everything you’ve got. Somehow and someway it will all work together for good. Be faithful!
David Anthony Clarke, is a pastor, speaker and self-published author of two books. He has served in the U.S. Marines for over 12 years and taught as an adjunct professor. David received an A.S. in Business, B.A. in Leadership, and M.S. in Organizational Performance. He serves as Senior Pastor of the Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Georgia.
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