Life is busy. Period. Ministry seems to increase our busyness exponentially. Demands on time are non-stop. Focus on others is required. Eyes set on the Kingdom of God are a must. It can be hard to actually notice and celebrate the good things and the God things going on in the midst of the mission. However, to not celebrate the momentous happenings can not only make life on mission seemingly more vinegar than honey, it can also lead to fatigue that we as Christ-followers are not meant to bear. In my own second half of life and ministry, I am becoming aware that I too often blow past these ‘glory moments’ and when I do I miss the opportunity to celebrate. I also miss the opportunity to glorify the God of the mission as He draws people to Himself.
The Apostle Paul seems to have been a ’Type A’, Hard-charging, zealous missionary. He was “go, go, go”. Yet, I was struck recently by his letter to the Ephesian church where he makes this statement, “This is why, since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.” Ephesians 1:15
This verse doesn’t pop at first. In the midst of one of Paul’s typical greetings where he near always prayed for his audience, Paul is simply praying for them. However, as we look deeper, we see that this busy missionary had taken the time to truly hear the testimony of the church (their faith and love) and it caused in him a bubbling up of thanksgiving. Why? Did Paul stop in the midst of the mission long enough not to miss a ‘glory moment’. I believe God gave him a gift of being able to celebrate that in the midst of the madness, God was indeed doing exactly what He said He would do. Rather than blow right by it and onto the next Kingdom adventure, Paul stopped, gave thanks, and further said he ’never stopped giving thanks’. Forget burn-out. Lay aside compassion fatigue. Paul saw the Body of Christ being the Body of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit of God and could, at least for a moment, celebrate God’s faithfulness. In doing so, he was refreshed and God was glorified. Do you need refreshing in your ministry endeavors? Does God receive regular thanksgiving for what He is doing in the midst of your part of His mission?
Seeing churches planted in the rural parts of the Wyoming where antelope outnumber people, it is easy to get focused on the difficulties, struggles or even the moments of spiritual warfare that leave ministry leaders broken and blindsided. Yet, this weekend God gave me an opportunity for refreshment in a glory moment. In one of our church plants that is just getting started in a town where there has been very little gospel presence, an elderly lady stood up and requested to give a testimony. Her testimony will be one that I hope to ’never stop giving thanks for’. She informed this small group that she had once been a part of a church that met in this same building over two decades ago. There had been a season of grace where God’s Spirit was moving in the community in the church that was very meaningful to her. On this day, she was blessed to report that she is seeing/feeling/sensing God at work as in those older days and it brought her great joy. Her faith in the Lord Jesus was refreshed and her love for the Body of Christ was evident. This moment, although small in a world of 7 billion souls, was a monumental glory moment that I would normally miss if I’m being honest, but not this day. This day, it struck me as a mountain-moving, Kingdom building, glory moment where God let us in on what He was doing. I am thankful. How might you attune yourself to see or hear the moments in your own life where you can celebrate what He is doing and glorify Him for doing it?