- Lorie Hedgepeth
“For the Lord seeth not as man seeth... the Lord looketh on the heart."
Frustration could be defined as having done your best and yet, still falling short of where you wanted to be and what you wanted to accomplish. Visible results do not always determine the value of our efforts, nor the purity of our passion. Many ministers and church workers have questioned the value of his/her ministry, simply because they could see few results for their efforts. Although it’s not right… far too often, in the church world, success is defined by buildings, budgets and crowds. The fact is, our best efforts do not always produce bigger buildings, bigger budgets and bulging crowds.
Isn’t it strange that we focus on the outward, while God focuses on the inward? We’re all about method… God is all about motive. We judge the seen - God judges the unseen. We celebrate the temporal - Heaven celebrates the eternal.
In Ephesians 3:16, Paul prayed that the Ephesian believers would be strengthened by the Holy Spirit in “the inner man”. The inner man: our spirit. It’s amazing what we can endure when our spirit man is sustained and strengthened by the Word of God and the Touch of God. The “spirit of man will sustain his infirmity.” (Prov. 18:14) What happens in us determines how we deal with what happens to us.
There is labor involved in ministry. “For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Eph. 4:12). Preparation and organization are important. In Mark 6:40, before there was a provision, there was some preparation: “and they sat down in ranks by hundreds and fifties”. Organizing and directing that massive crowd required a team and teamwork. Scripture says there were over five-thousand people… five-thousand hungry people. The point is this: effectiveness in ministry today demands excellence in preparation and presentation.
The inward man… our spirit man is the most important but, not the only important factor in our lives as ministers. Our inward man must be fed daily with the Word of God. We must take time to wait in the Presence of God until we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit in us. The anointing in us accentuates everything we do. But our responsibility doesn’t stop there - we work, plan and prepare so that at the end of the day, we know we’ve done our best.
What about the results? We commit the results to the One we work for. Otherwise, some days we would be prideful and a lot of days we would be depressed. No matter what results you see today, no matter what we see or don’t see from a lifetime of ministry… we must trust the promise of the One who called us into ministry.
“….BUT GOD GIVETH THE INCREASE”
(I Corinthians 3:7)