Last week I had on of those distracted and unmotivated days in the office. I was grinding it out. My eyes kept drifting from my books. I couldn’t concentrate on my sermon prep. I broke my “check email three times a day” rule, like, twelve times.
And it was only 10 a.m.
For motivation, I turned to one of my key ministry verses, Colossians 1:28-29. It’s probably one of yours, too.
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
I wonder if you have seen in this verse something I saw only for the first time last week. It’s in the phrase struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
For the first time I realized that it’s a struggle to toil with Christ’s energy.
God’s energy doesn’t make ministry a piece of cake. It’s not that when ministry is easy, that’s when we are relying on God’s strength, and when it’s hard, that’s when we are relying on ourselves. Ministry will be a struggle, even when God powerfully works within us.
That’s how divine power is different than superhuman power. Superman can catch the car plummeting off the cliff with his index finger, and then spin it like a basketball to turn the family’s screams into laughter.
How often does your laughter turn into screams when you need to preach a passage in fifteen hours, and you’re still trying to figure out what the darn thing means? How often do you doubt that you are relying on God’s power in those situations? How often do you doubt that God is really helping you?
Ministry won’t be a cinch with God’s help. It will still be a struggle. But that power-filled struggle presents our congregations mature in Christ.
For this we toil.