We’ve all had thoughts like these. Monday morning blues hit all of us. This is why the experts say, “don’t not resign on Monday.”
One of God’s greatest prophets was ready to give up. Isaiah spoke of the coming Messiah more than any other Old Testament prophet. He had a powerful ministry to God’s people. Even Isaiah was ready to throw in the towel at one point in his life.
But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the Lord, and my recompense with my God.” Isaiah 49:4
The prophet Malachi spoke of the discouragement of those serving the Lord as priests. Many of them had given up because they concluded-
You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? Malachi 3:14
They said, “Why continue to serve God when we do not see any good results?” “It’s all in vain and what’s the use?” Have you ever felt this way in ministry? In my 40 years in ministry, I have felt this way more than a few times. We all struggle with an unseen enemy who often fires his flaming arrows of discouragement our way. (Read Ephesians 6:10-18)
When we watch our favorite teams play, we do not expect a game with no opposition. We know in sports, there is a battle, a game and an opponent to face. In our own world, we wake up every day to the reality of opposition. In our own life, sometimes we lose the battles we face. We can easily get beaten down.
When it feels like everything is in vain and you feel like giving up, remember this word from God-
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. I Corinthians 15:58
Our labor is not in vain because of who we serve.
This is the work of the Lord. It’s not our work. We are simply servants of God. Paul introduced himself in Romans 1:1 first as a servant of Christ Jesus. We serve the Lord Jesus and represent Him as leaders in His church.
Our labor is not in vain because of why we serve.
Ministry is not about us. When ministry is about anything or anyone else, we can easily lose heart and give up. When our ministry is about our reputation so that others will admire and praise us, then we have lost sight of why we serve the Lord. When ministry is only about results then we will feel defeated and disheartened. Here’s why we serve-
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24
Our labor is not in vain because of the ultimate rewards given by the Rewarder.
It’s one thing to be recognized and rewarded by people we serve. It is such a blessing to be encouraged by others who recognize what we do for the Lord. However, it is far better to be recognized and rewarded by God himself.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12
And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. I Peter 5:4
Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 2 John 1:8
You may be ready to give up and move on from your present place. God may be calling you to a different ministry in a different place. Don’t give up on God’s call. The pain of the present may be God’s preparation for something better. We know that your ministry from the Lord and to the Lord is never in vain. Don’t give up.
We are in the recruiting season for our 2023 Still Waters Renewal Retreats. We would love to have you come join us. Our ministry is offered to you at no cost. However, our spots are limited. We have a few spots available for Galveston. We are booked up in Ruidoso, but you can get on the waiting list. We have spots available in Branson and only a few are now available at Moro Bay in November.