Do not be weary of doing good
While involved in an intense ministry like International Justice Mission, it is possible to become weary. The term tired just means physical, but the term weary means it is spiritual tiredness. Paul writes: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:9-10) Today’s world is target obsessed; a result-driven and expects quick and easy results. It is possible to become disappointed when the ministry is tough. Be encouraged as God is not an unfair God. God, who sees and knows all things, will reward you for your labours of love. (Hebrews 6:10)
Doing ministry is spiritually, emotionally and physically draining. So, many leaders are taken over by the feeling of being overwhelmed and perplexed. One of the reasons is the challenge before is so great, field so vast and our work or contribution seems to be meager and insignificant. Resources do not match or measure up to the challenges. However, God’s resources are marvelous. Pebbles in the hands of the shepherd boy David were enough to face the sophisticated weapons of a well-trained Goliath. Ministry without opposition is rare. There would be systematic opposition as well as sporadic opposition; there would be political opposition as well as spiritual opposition; the most difficult opposition is from the people for whom we toil. Hostile environment, unfavorable systems, oppressive structures and demoralized victims do not determine the results of our ministry, but the way we choose to respond to these challenges does.
When weariness overwhelms us, we feel exhausted. Many times, we may say: Let us sow sparingly. (II Cor 3:13) Let us not over exert ourselves. However, the rule is – the proportion in which we sow, we shall reap. Sowing has to be done as a matter of stewardship – optimally, strategically, creatively and wisely.
Weariness can make us frustrated, angry and disillusioned. In those times, there is a strong temptation to abandon the project we are involved in. Satan displays a picture that ‘nothing could be done’; ‘there is no chances of success’; ‘your labour is a waste of time, energy and resources’; ‘Are you doing His will?’. The strategy of Satan is to discourage us and distract us so that we abandon what we are involved in.
Bible has several stories that provides us insights and inspiration. The thing that is not reckoned or even noticed or considered becomes God’s tool for justice and success.
Tears of three month old infant
As we all know the story; three month old Moses was placed in a basket and left in River Nile. The Egyptian Pharaoh has commanded that all new born male children of Hebrews should be thrown into River Nile. The Godly parents of Moses obeyed Pharaoh’s commandment with some creative idea. Instead of throwing the baby directly into river, they created a basket and placed Moses there. The basket was noticed by Pharaoh’s daughter and it was brought to her. When the basket was opened the little Moses cried. The tears of infant Moses changed the history of Children of Israel. Tears may be insignificant to many strong-willed people. However, God uses even tears to fulfill His purpose. Tears are listed in a scroll and is in Heaven’s records according to Psalmist.
“Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?” (Psalms 56:8) Wandering is a common idea that we read in the Bible. Children of Israel had to wander 40 years in the wilderness. Joseph had to wander through various stages before he reaches the highest possible position in Egypt. When pursued by Saul, David had to wander. Many times, wanderings seem to be purposeless and pointless adventure. However, God knows the wanderings. Joseph, slave girl in Naaman story, Daniel were all trafficked (as they did not go voluntarily. However, God intervened in their lives and they became blessings to many people.
Abel was ruthlessly murdered by Cain. There was no court; no police, no hidden cameras, no eyewitness and Cain could escape punishment and judgement. But it was not so. Abel’s blood was appealing to God for justice (Genesis 4:10 and Hebrews 12:24). There were no humans and human institution to provide justice for Abel, but, God called Cain to account. Bloodshed and violence has become part and parcel of human history. The ruthlessness, cruelty and rage keep increasing day by day. Witnesses are silenced or side-lined or managed to help people go scot-free. Innocents die every day. God will call each and every violent act to account. “See, the Lord is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed on it; the earth will conceal its slain no longer.” (Isaiah 26:21) The atrocities today is like what Ezekiel describes about the city of Jerusalem: “For the blood she shed is in her midst: She poured it on the bare rock; she did not pour it on the ground.” (Ezekiel 24:7)
“During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.” (Exodus 1:23-24) The physical, economic, social, emotional, psychological and spiritual oppression of Israelites was intense. They did not have political power or military might or any other resource to gain freedom from slavery. “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.” (Proverbs 14:31 ESV) However, their groaning was not heard by the oppressors or ignored by the others; but was heard by God and he responds by sending Moses. In the similar way, Lord expects the Church to be like Moses, going out to deliver people from slavery and provide justice.
The parable of Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8) is an amazing parable. The widow knocks the door for justice until it was open. She did not give up. The judge, who was indifferent, later becomes reluctant and ultimately provides justice. Advocacy seems to be falling on deaf ears or even like speaking to dead people. The Parable teaches that there would be a favourable result.
Challenge: Follow Justice and justice alone
God is God of Justice. He is the righteous Judge. Following Christ is following the path of justice and righteousness. “Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the innocent. Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deut 16:19-20) Lord Jesus went around doing good (Acts 10:38) and as his disciples we should go into the world doing good, establishing justice and righteousness.