For some reason the disappointments and pains of ministry have a way of affecting us more than the successes. Just like how we are more cognizant of Judas’s betrayal than John’s devotion, it can be so easy to let disappointments like this week overshadow successes like last week. We may have lost a battle, but we are still committed to the war. That’s the key! Reminds me of that great rhetorical question in the Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug — when did we let evil become more powerful than us? We can’t and we won’t.
It’s so hard when you want something good for others more than they want it for themselves. I’ve found that to be one of the most challenging and heartbreaking parts of ministry. Here are two things I’ve found that help: 1) meditating on the times when Jesus has felt about me the way I feel about the person(s) who disappointed me, and 2) keeping a list of successes that I can go back to remind myself of the good I did.
Your success in ministry will be determined by whether you are consumed with the pain of the past or the potential of the future. A list of successes helps me to stay focused on what matters (for the joy set before Him…)