Scripture: 2 Corinthians 6:1-18
Observation: Paul speaks about his ministry, the hardships he’s endured, and how he’s prevailed with endurance and the Holy Spirit. He concludes by comparing the church to the temple of God where people worship God alone and are therefore separated from anyone who doesn’t share that same Christ-like devotion.
Application: Every time I have a hard day in ministry, I want to come running back to Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 6:3-13. Whether we work in full-time vocational ministry, serve in our local church, or have devoted ourselves to following Jesus, we’ve all felt the struggles of ministry.
I think about all of the tough ministry moments I’ve had in the past five years – the hard conversations, the heartache, the heartbreak. I’ve seen senseless division turn people away from each other, and worst of all, away from God. I’ve watched relationships break and friends turn to destructive behaviors. I’ve been verbally accused and attacked. I’ve doubted, and I’ve dealt with my own debilitating discouragement.
And, then I read Paul’s words, and every experience I’ve had, every problem I’ve faced, pales in comparison. Whether you’re discouraged or doubting today, let these words become your anchor:
“In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.” (verse 4)
We patiently endure – through troubles and trials, through hardship and hard conversations, through distress and discouragement.
When we patiently endure, we learn.
When we patiently endure, we grow.
When we patiently endure, we find hope.
When we patiently endure, we discover a purpose in our problems.
When we patiently endure, we find the strength to overcome everything Paul mentions – being ignored, slandered, rejected, threatened, beaten. We overcome it all.
“Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, yet we have everything.” (verse 10)
Could those words be any more beautiful? If you’re feeling poor right now – financially poor, relationally disconnected, emotionally depleted, remember that Jesus Christ is your Lord, and through him, you have everything.
Your story is far from over. Practice patient endurance, and your heart will be full.
Prayer: God, I pray for patient endurance. When I feel overwhelmed, help me practice patient endurance. When I feel fearful of what I’m called to do, help me practice patient endurance. When I feel unequipped and inadequate, help me practice patient endurance. When I struggle in my own sin, help me practice patient endurance. Through it all, I pray for your strength. Amen.