I wish I could tell every one of my young students that ministry will always be easy and churches will always be supportive. That’s not always the case, though. Sometimes this work is just hard. If that’s the case for you today, I hope these thoughts encourage and strengthen you. Here’s what the Christmas story means for you today:
1. God keeps His word. He had announced through the prophet Micah 700 years prior to Jesus’ birth that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. By His very nature as God, He is true to His word – and even leaders in tough situations can cling to His promises today.
2. God comes through in unexpected ways. Of course, God was hardly surprised by His plan—but the Jewish people who expected a political, reigning king surely were. Little did they expect that God would show up in the form of a baby in a feeding trough in a non-descript town. If you’re hurting today, God might just surprise you by His answer to bring you comfort.
3. God delights in working through weakness. The baby was the king. The will of the Father would be His death on a borrowed cross and His burial in a borrowed tomb. He would bring salvation not by establishing a political kingdom, but by dying as a common criminal. If you feel weak today, that’s an okay place to be in God’s eyes. He will be your strength.
4. The darkest night can unexpectedly become light. That’s what happened for the shepherds in the field. The night dramatically changed when God chose to send His angels and shine forth His glory. Maybe God wants to do that in your tough situation today—or, whenever He knows is best.
5. It shouldn’t be a surprise that some folks just won’t follow God. Jesus’ coming would lead to the separation of the sheep and the goats, the reward for some and the judgment for others. From the beginning—when Herod sought to kill the Christ child—some folks have been opposed to Christ. No matter what we do in ministry, we’ll face opposition—but we need not live in fear. God has come, and God has won!
6. The gospel is still good news no matter what we face today. Simeon rejoiced when he held the Christ in his arms. Anna announced his coming to all who were seeking redemption. The shepherds glorified God. All these folks could do nothing less when they met the Savior. Regardless of how hard your situation may be today, you do still know the good news. Cling to it today.
Let us know how we in the Church Answers family might pray for you today.
Posted on December 21, 2021
Dr. Chuck Lawless is a leading expert in spiritual consultation, discipleship and mentoring. As a former pastor, he understands the challenges ministry presents and works with Church Answers to provide advice and counsel for church leaders.
More from Chuck