But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

2 Timothy 4: 5

 

These words were spoken by Paul to his disciple, Timothy. They are also directed by Jesus to His disciples, and that includes you andI.The message has not changed, and it will not ever change. We are to take the business of serving God with a seriousness that makes it the singular most important thing that we do. The challenge to this comes in the form of distractions, disillusionment, and discouragement. In these times the message that God lays on our hearts comes out in a weakened and altered form that bears little or no resemblance to the truth that Christ revealed to us.

 

Sometimes the hardships that we will need to endure come in the form of tangible fear and loss. These are times of true persecution, rejection, and danger that come our way due to our zeal for living and for sharing God’s truth. At other times, the hardships that we may need to endure are generated in our own minds. These are the times when we fear the response that we will get or when we seek to soften the message of truth that God has given to us in order to make it more palatable. When I do this I find that the sense of frustration and the degree of personal disappointment that are mine are very real hardships.

 

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if we are serving God as our occupation or not. The calling and the mandate are the same. Serving God is a full-time, all the time, never off duty type of occupation. As we know Christ, He leads us to set aside all of the things that get us off track. The Lord prompts His people to seek out His heart through reading God’s word and in prayer. The more fully we set aside our fears and concerns and sacrifice our self-interest to God’s great glory, the more He will lead us to serve the needs of others in this life and to show them the way to Christ in order to meet their eternal needs.