toils, trials, and Him


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I am trying to make sense of it all. I don't know about you, but sometimes I just sit in awe at the unbelievable task that we are called into. I know, we are told to go into all the world..., but stop for a minute and think about the task we are called into as youth ministers. To share the gospel with kids, and minister to families. Other areas of ministry are important, but we have a special challenge, a special call. We are many times, underpaid, overlooked, misunderstood, and overworked. But would you want it any other way?
 
Paul shares a little of his struggles in minstry. Read 2 Cor. 11:16-12:10:
 
"16I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then receive me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. 17In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. 18Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. 19You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face. 21To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!

   What anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. 22Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I. 23Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

 30If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. 32In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. 33But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.

 

 1I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. 5I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say.

 7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

 

After he relates his hurts, struggles, and frustration, I believe Paul would go on to say that if called to do it all over again, he would. I think as youth ministers we too, would answer like Paul that we would face the same junk we have already just so that one teen might accept Jesus and be changed by the gospel.

 

Youth worker, be encouraged by your trials. Christ is the strongest when we are the weakest.


5 Responses to “toils, trials, and Him”

  1. Anonymous Brian 

    Amen! We work for the best "boss" ever!


    For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
    Philippians 1:21

  2. Anonymous sam 

    i too think paul would do it all again, but if i'm honest about it, i would not. i'm "in", so i'll stay in, but if i knew then what i know now, if i knew all of my personal relationships would go down the tubes, that free time would be a pipe dream, that the overwhelming pressure of church politics and all the bull$hit that comes with the job would crush my view of the ppl i once held up in honor and respect, honestly, i wouldn't have done it. there would be no way to learn except the hard way though, so, here i am. i know it sucks, but i really wouldn't do it all over again.

    i know that's bad, and i may get slammed for it, but it's honest. this job is hard -- almost too hard. there's more defeat than victory. there's more bad times than good. there's more stress than rest. maybe you all's experience is different than mine (i hope so), but this gig's for the birds.

    pray for me.

    -sam

  3. Anonymous Jason 

    Sam,

    I wanted ya'll to be honest, and I appreciate your honesty. YM is a tough work. I sure hope you didn't think I was skirting around that.

    I have had some lonely moments. Moments, when any other job looked better than what I am doing. I don't know all the hurt you've gone through, but you asked us to pray, and know I will be praying for you.

    Sam, you are not alone.

  4. Anonymous Brian 

    Sam,

    I just prayed for you. I have felt some of your same feelings. I know it sucks. Do know that you have a brother in Oregon praying for you. I pray that in the midst of pain you might find hope.

    Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
    but those who hope in the LORD
    will renew their strength.
    They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.
    Isaiah 40:30-32

  5. Anonymous sam 

    thanks guy, yesterday was a tough one. i appreciate it.

    -sam

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