Is it worth it? Pressing On When Evangelism Seems Hard
I’ve been created for and called to do the work of an evangelist. As rewarding as it is, it has also been one of the most grueling and challenging facets of my life. There have been days I’ve tried to take my calling and throw it back at God in despair, doubt, and discouragement. “Sorry Lord,” I’ve prayed, “Clearly I’m not the man for the job. I can’t do it anymore. I’m done! Please, find somebody else!”
Can you relate? Have you been there too?
The work of an evangelist is not for the faint of heart. We often deal with financial burdens, relational discord, spiritual attacks, family hardships, the pressure to constantly produce results, an inner critic and fearful spirit, the relentless drive to do more or be more, and feeling inadequate and out of my league. I’ve experience all of it!
After 40 years of ministry, and a lifetime of feeling like the underdog, I’ve learned how to find purpose in my pain, strength for the call, and reason to keep pressing on when faced with the question, “Is this [you fill in the blank] even worth it?!”
“…He who is wise captures and wins souls [for God— he gathers them for eternity].” Proverbs 11:30; AMP
I’m certain God’s goodness, faithfulness, and favor is evident in your life. I pray for your eyes to see it! Over the years I’ve acquired multiple prayer journals and I’ve kept them close on the bookshelf in my study so I can reference and reflect on them often. Why? Because it helps me recount the miracles, provisions, goodness, and faithfulness of God in my life. I encourage you to not be so quick to forget where we have come from. Instead, we must choose to remember that His grace is able to provide strength for any task at hand. Evangelism is a calling and gift given by Christ Himself for the expansion and growth of His church (Ephesians 4:11-13)! God will not call you where He will not sustain you!
“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; ESV
Did you catch that? Does Paul declare we must be good enough, rich enough, successful enough, smart enough, or eloquent enough? No. As stewards of the Gospel, the command for us is to be faithful. Will you get tired? Yes! Will you want to quit at some point? Guaranteed! In fact, your knuckles may bleed, your knees might bruise, your back may feel like it’s about to break because the road you’ve walked in ministry has been far from smooth and straight. I’ve been there; I’ve got battle scars too. Thankfully, Jesus gets the last word and not your present challenge at hand. Nothing we persevere through will be overlooked or forgotten by our Almighty God. Remain steadfast in your mission of winning souls for Christ and He will reward you in due time (Galatians 6:9). We reap everything we sow, right? So, resolve to be faithful in work and fervent in prayer!
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he refreshes my soul.” Psalm 23:2-3 NIV
The Lord wants us to slow down long enough to acknowledge Him and confess our great need for Him. We must carve out times of quiet so we can hear His voice and know His will. He wants to give us rest for our weary minds, bodies, and souls. Especially when ministry is overwhelming us! Believe me, if we don’t voluntarily take time for quiet, rejuvenation, and solitude, then the Lord will do what is needed to get our attention. Let’s not be ones that who will have to learn the hard way. Take steps toward carving out time for rest. It is of pivotal importance for your spiritual walk and health of your ministry (Hebrews 4:9-11).
I pray these thoughts offer some encouragement not if, but when, you find yourself in the same boat as I’ve been. This is not an easy profession, but it is a purpose-filled calling that will reap great rewards for eternity! Our pain here will have purpose There. The spiritual oppression we often feel as we preach, the mountains of life we can’t seem to summit, the warfare that doesn’t seem to retaliate— these present realities will not last forever! When discouragement hits, perspective is key. We do what we do, not always for the results we see now, but for what’s to come. Thankfully, this world is not as good as it gets; so we must remember to set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2)! Regardless of how we may feel sometimes, our job is to stay faithful, remain humble, prayerful, and expectant. Then watch and see the Lord show up and do only what only HE can do.
I love what William Arthur Ward says, “God’s strength behind you, His concern for you, His love within you, and His arms beneath you are more than sufficient for the job ahead of you.”
So, take heart and press on, my friend. Remember, there is coming a day when all the hardships, bitter defeats, and devastating disappointments of our lives and ministries will be perfectly restored. There will be no more let downs, grief, comparison, sin, or suffering. Everything will be eclipsed in His Glory. I can only imagine how our souls will REJOICE! We will finally be fully reconciled to the One who is wholly, irrevocably, eternally, worth it ALL.