Tired? Depressed? Worried? Burdened? Recently I had the privilege of conducting a brief affinity exercise with Christian ministry workers in a mid-western city. While I was not surprised that they voiced the fact that their ministries had fewer paid staff as the recession grinds on, the most surprising finding was that the spirits of those who labor in the trenches of ministry were quite down. Perhaps it's the economic stresses they face. Perhaps it's the lack of resources they now have to operate with. Possibly it's because they're having to work day-in and day-out with others who are also finding life quite difficult at this time.
Tough times don't last; tough people do. When times get rough, Christians are called to encourage one another, help one another, and pray with and for one another. We need to take more seriously God's admonition to us in I Thessalonians 4:13-18.
"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words."
Isn't it great to know that we don't have to live on this earth forever? Isn't it heart lifting to know that the trials we now face are building in us the kind of godly character that will make us stronger for the future? Isn't it encouraging to understand that being thankful for the things God supplies today and not worrying about tomorrow is what we are supposed to do? Find someone whom you can encourage with these words today!
Jerry Thacker, Publisher