The "Why" of Ministry

A life without love is like a year without summer..png

This morning I received a notification that someone had unsubscribed from my daily blog. This is nothing new. Unfortunately, here lately it seems like I receive three times more unsubscribes than subscribes. The unusual thing was this was someone I know personally, someone I thought enjoyed my daily devotions. Naturally, when I saw the email, my heart sank, and I began to ask a dozen questions. Did I offend her? Did I say something she didn’t agree with? Have my devotions been too whiny or needy? Have they been too predictable or commonplace? Doesn’t she like me anymore?  (Of course, it’s probably none of these things, but you know how the mind is drawn toward the worst case scenario.)

Sometimes, the ministry is difficult. I try to do the right things for the right reasons, but the results are not always what I expect. And in times like these, I have to step back and remind myself of the “why.” Why am I in this ministry? Why do I write? Why do I send out daily devotions? What’s the point? The purpose? Is it so others will like me? Is it to receive compliments or praise? Do I do it to feel better about myself? Why?

On the surface, I do it because I want to encourage others. There is something within me that is compelled to help others, to offer a kind word or a listening ear. There is a drive within me that pushes me to encourage anyone, anytime, anywhere. I guess God made me that way, and as wonderful as that sounds, it’s not enough. Longing to be an encouragement is a great thing, but it’s not the best thing, or you could say it’s only part of the best thing.  If my focus in only on encouraging others, what happens when others aren’t encouraged?  My feelings are hurt. My efforts seem wasted. My ministry seems fruitless. Yes, hanging my hopes on the response of others is a surefire way to disappointment and despair.

If, however, I follow God’s command and write for His glory, I will be much better off. I must do what I do for God, not for others. This ministry is all about Him. Not me, and sorry, but not you. Therefore, I must follow His leading in all things regarding my writing rather than trying to cater to the wants and needs of the people. And, if the people unsubscribe, well, that’s just the way it is. I can’t help that, but neither am I responsible for it. I am accountable to God and God alone, and in any area of ministry, that’s a hard thing to remember.

You are my peeps, my friends, and my faithful readers. I often feel responsible to you. Many of you have shared with me how much you look forward to my daily devotions, and when something comes up, and I can’t post anything that day, I feel like I’ve let you down. I want each of you to know I love and respect you, and I want to be here for you. I want you to feel you can depend on me. But, ultimately, my primary goal is to glorify Christ. So, if I’m running behind and throw something together at the last minute just so I’ll have a post for the day, that’s unacceptable. It’s not fair to you, and it is not glorifying to God because I didn’t give it my best, my all.

I say all of this for a couple of reasons. First off, I hope this post will serve as a reminder to all of you involved in ministry. Your number-one priority is to glorify God. If you do that, everything will work out as it should. Maybe not as you thought it would, but the way it should. We have to stop trying to please everyone and not take it personally when someone we’re trying to help walks away.

My second reason for this post is to say my daily devotions may not be out every day. I certainly intend to try, but with being on the road more and more for deputation, it is getting harder to find the time and energy to put out these daily devotions. And I don’t want to throw things together so that I don’t let you down. I want to glorify Christ in my writing, and if that means that some days I don’t write, then so be it. Doesn’t Ecclesiastes tell us there’s a time for everything? “A time to write and a time to not write” may not be listed in the passage, but the teaching is there.  

I thank all of you who have stuck with me through the thick and thin. Thank you for listening to my rants and hearing my heartfelt cries. Thank you for letting me know how much these daily devotions mean to you. That is an encouragement to my heart.  As I said, by God’s grace, I will be able to continue regular posting, but if a post is missing here or there, know that I was hindered in some way and I’m doing my best to do the right things for the right reasons. Thank you for understanding and for loving me despite my many failings!  Y’all are the best!

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
— I Corinthians 10:31