Jesus had some real challenges in His ministry. It's tempting to think because He was God everything clicked along smoothly. Everything DID click along according to plan, but that doesn't necessarily mean it was smooth. In mark 3, we see a picture of His ministry.
In verse 20, Jesus couldn't even grab time to eat.
In verse 21, Jesus's own people, His family, and friends questioned His sanity.
In verse 22, the religious leaders reasoned that Jesus had to be in league with Beelzebub.
What does that mean for us?
- People will take advantage of our time and attention.
- People will question everything about our ministry.
- People will misattribute our motives.
If ministry wasn't tough enough, what makes it more difficult is that these very same people . . .
- May be part of the respected religious establishment (v. 22)
- May believe they have your best interests at heart (v. 21)
- May be well-meaning (v. 31)
- May be your closest associates, perhaps even family (v. 32)
When faced with opposition, we typically wonder if we are headed in the right decision. Taking the time to connect with God allows us to gain clarity on our ministry direction and receive confirmation.
Once we receive confirmation, it is important not to second-guess ourselves. It is natural to encounter obstacles. Don't be discouraged.
A final caution
The flip side is a warning to be careful questioning or criticizing another's ministry. We can't presume to know how God is directing someone else. Plus, the challenges (or lack thereof) they face may not have anything to do with whether or not they're on the right track.
Yes, ministry on any level, in any capacity can be challenging, but nothing else compares to it. In john 16, Jesus gave His take on it:
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. John 15:16
He chose us and appointed that we go bear fruit. How could we refuse?