I am blessed to have friends in ministry. Most of them go to the same church I go to, but some don’t. Some I have never met outside this box we call a computer.
Ministry is not easy. It is hard work. There is little recognition and little pay. At least, in this world.
People high up in ministry, whether paid staff or volunteers, get the pleasure of hearing people in the congregation cry and complain. I’m not sure if they hear more complaints than praise, but I hope not. I know they get all the dirt. I mean dirt too. They are called upon when people are sick, addicted, dying, depressed, suffering, and so on. They visit hospitals and prisons. They feed the hungry. They help the poor. They pour their lives into being the Hands and Feet of Christ.
It ain’t easy bein’ called to ministry. At all.
On the other side of that coin, it also isn’t a picnic being convicted to be different. This year, just like last year, we felt convicted to not celebrate Halloween. This year was much harder than last year. Brianna was exposed to kids in school talking about costumes and candy, two things she really enjoys. She had questions. We had answers. I finally had to sit her down and explain that even though certain parts of Halloween are fun, the whole is not pleasing to God. It was not an easy conversation, but she understood and did not complain. In fact, quite the opposite. She told me she hates Halloween because it is scary and she wants to eat healthy so she doesn’t mind not asking our neighbors for candy.
I had to tell two of our friends that we don’t celebrate Halloween when they called to ask us to join them in the festivities. That was different and I stumbled over my words. Next time, I’ll just say simply, “We don’t celebrate Halloween”, and leave it at that. Then there were the people at the stores asking my kids what they would be for Halloween. My kids looked at them like they were from Mars. I laughed it off and did not reply. Next time I will just say simply, “We don’t celebrate Halloween”. I know most people won’t ask why. In fact, I’ll be surprised if anyone asks why. We’ll save that for next year.
I know there is a great division w/in Christian circles over this subject as well as Santa and the Easter Bunny. I am not typing this to start a debate. My point is that it isn’t easy being called to something.
Ministry is hard.
Conviction is hard. Sometimes. Most of the time?
Anyway, I think people who are against my idea of honesty and integrity as a Christian scoff at me and others like me without truly thinking it through. It would be MUCH easier to dress up my kids and join the crowd. It is not easy to bow out because we feel it is more important to please God than to please man. Even when we are made fun of. Even when we are scoffed at. Even when our backs are stabbed. Even then.
Because, they did that to Jesus too. And, we are taking up our crosses and following. He said it wouldn’t be easy.
He was right!
I want my kids to grow up knowing that even though sometimes it is very hard, pleasing God is the most important thing they can strive for in their lives. Our rewards are great if we obey.
I don’t think God is in business to make our lives miserable. No way. But, He does convict some to obey a certain way and then He tests them to see where their hearts will be… and, quite frankly, I believe we are passing this particular test with flying colors. My integrity as a Christian has not been compromised.
Whether you respect that or not, means very little.
Whether He respects that or not, means very much.