Jackie Halstead, Managing Director of the Institute for Christian Spirituality at Lipscomb University. She blogs regularly at http://institutechristianspirituality.wordpress.com/
My focus is so often egocentric. Ministry is an honor and a joy. I love the opportunities that present themselves, but not the challenges. Doing what is right can be difficult and often without reward. My motives are pure, right? I am not doing it for the rewards, am I? True for the most part, but the discouragement I feel at times, communicates another answer. God gives me a prompt to do something and I jump right in. When there is not immediate buy-in, my feet start dragging and I am less than enthusiastic.
Paul says “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Gal. 6:9) Doing good without recognition or reward is not only a discipline, it takes courage. Courage to believe that the good I am doing is worthwhile—even if I am the only one who believes it is so. The harvest may not come for years–if at all–but I trust that God’s timing is best. And I practice. God has given me many small and large opportunities, through the years, to practice this discipline. In the midst of church struggles, I’ve had the opportunity to be Christ like, even when others were being hateful. I’ve had the opportunity to love a person when they were trying to discredit me. I’ve had the opportunity to treat my family well when they were irritable. I’ve had many opportunities; my success in those opportunities is directly correlated with how much I am leaning into God. There have been so many times I have said “I can’t do this, Lord. It’s too hard.” Yet God continues to give me what I need when my desire is to be God’s instrument.
This past weekend I led a retreat for about a dozen of our Lipscomb employees, board members, and spouses. It has been in my heart to do so since I came here three years ago. There were times when I threw up my hands and quit. I just could not get any traction. But the idea did not go away and I would pick it up again. This weekend it finally came together. It was not earth shattering or grand, but the people were there who were meant to be there and I know they were blessed by the time with God. It obviously was God’s timing that it occurred when it did and in the group that was brought together.
God is faithful. God’s role is to water and bring in the harvest. My role is to be faithful to being available for God’s use. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Grace and peace to you,
Jackie L. Halstead, Ph.D., LMFT
Managing Director, ICS