The High Cost of Ministry
At Lagos Airport, another delay to the flight to London was announced … I strolled down the various wings, bored of waiting at the lounge …then I noticed a passenger with a limp and I seemed to recognize him as he now sits calmly by his luggage waiting for his flight to the Far East. I had seen this popular evangelist at several crusade meetings ministering the word of God in great power … but never had the opportunity to meet him personally.
I approached him and introduced myself …he must have so many people seeking some counsel or the other and I could see he would prefer to be left alone. Still I pressed on and asked boldly only after a few introductory remarks …”What is the secret ? How are you able to continue so steadfastly over the years ministering … How do you do it?” He looked at me with a strange glance … as though I was some “Delilah” and then relaxed with a soft smile. “It would cost you much…so much more than you ever could bargain for …be ready to pay the price…” and he muttered a few words I did not quite hear …then looked as though he had already spoken too much …as he apologized and hurried off …the departure of his flight was announced.
What is the cost of ministry? How high is it? Christ told his disciples. Luk 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? …Luk_9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God….Luk 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple
Indeed, our salvation, forgiveness and victory over sin are paid for and we are complete in HIm … but our obedience to our calling demands of us a price. I admire Isaiah, Jeremiah, David, the apostle Paul, and Peter …but reading the scriptures I would not wish to experience many of the things they went through. I naturally want an easier deal ….
A preacher once said ministry will cost you everything …. All you ever dreamed of and even more. Everything you did not bargain for … things can go brutally wrong - like the lynching of Paul until he was left for dead … disappointments, betrayals and losses can be unbearable … even our innocent cherished ones. Indeed many claiming to obey God have stalled and long deviated at some point when the cost of obedience shoots higher than we ever thought possible. But there are the few Generals who have done all that they were commanded and bore the cost …it is this few that Christ speaks of when He asks them to see themselves as “unprofitable” …Luk 17:10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
This means not just that our salvation was bought with an inestimable price, that we can never pay for … but also that God ensures that in all - we also partake in a glory in this present life into eternity - a glory that causes us to conclude joyfully, that it was more than worth it … we would not exchange our path in Him for another even if we had the opportunity.
It was said that the early martyrs, as they were burnt on a stake for not renouncing Christ, would make a final sign, as they died, to the other saints watching - to confirm that even at the very end … there is indeed a glory that surpasses every pain and every ounce of sweat .
For those who did it all … all that was done, no matter the sacrifice, was only our duty. Be encouraged even at severe loss in ministry. Be steadfast even if obedience has been puzzling and burdensome. It is not in vain. I also discern that God does not disdain our weaknesses in obedience …instead He helps us, chastens us and His favorite means of helping the beloved is to constrain and delay our foolishness. And when we obey only to find heavier costs - even as new doors open for others to be blessed, we better understand the Apostle Paul when he finally proclaims.
Gal 6:17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus
Someone reading this blog is free from the troubles of men. God bless you. As for the rest of us, Lord help us to obey you.