There is no easy way to say it. Ministry is difficult. You are dealing with people. Not just people at a 30,000 foot marketplace exchange. You are on the ground, in the fight with them, dealing with the core of who they are. You are working to shape their worldview. You are helping them fight sin. You are comforting them in times of trouble and loss.
Ministry is a blessing
But for all its difficulties, ministry is a blessing. It is a privilege to be used by God as His instrument to bring about lasting change in others.
The apostle Paul was an exceptional leader and intellectual. He was gifted by the Lord in many different ways. For all his gifting, he experienced trouble in his ministry. He was rejected, beaten, and jailed. Most likely he was eventually killed for preaching the gospel.
Ministry is joyful
Even though he experienced hardship as the sinful world pressed in on him, he found ministry to be joyful. Recounting his time in Thessalonica, he recognizes it was not spent in vain (1 Thess 2:1). Some in Thessalonica were changed.
“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.”(1 Thess 2:13)
The word Paul preached had an effect on the Thessalonians. It took root and changed them from the inside out. Paul was one of the ones God used to bring about this change.
Ministry is a calling
It is a privilege to be used by God to do the work of ministry. Ministry is not a job, though it does provide income for those who do it vocationally. It is not necessarily a career, even though many minister vocationally for all their working years. Ministry is a way of life. It is a privilege. It is a calling.
“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.”(1 Thess 2:19-20)
Ministry is difficult
Yes pastor, your ministry is difficult. There are seasons in ministry that are hard. I know the difficulties of ministry myself. I believe we need to acknowledge them. We need help and encouragement as we walk through them.
But we also need to remember that ministry is a blessing, a joy, a calling, and a privilege. The God of the universe has gifted and called us, of all people, to preach His Word, to exhort, encourage, charge, and rebuke His people. He has called us to come alongside others to help them walk in a manner worthy of God and the Kingdom into which we have been called for God’s glory (1 Thess 2:11).
What a privilege it is and what joy it should bring, when we see the Lord at work in others through us!