Why Bother?

In continuing our discussion on the verses in Malachi, I want to focus today on verse 14 which reads, Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? 

Guilty as charged, I'm afraid.  While I know in my heart that it is not vain to serve God and that He will fulfill His promises to do good unto those who trust in Him, I tend to lose sight of that knowledge in the midst of my pity parties.  When the bills are due and the bank account in empty, I cry, "Why bother?  I've done what the Lord has asked of me, and I still can't pay my bills."  When those around me seem to have success showered upon them and I'm still struggling to sell more than 5-10 books a week, I'm convinced that I missed a memo from God somewhere that read, "Gotcha!  I can't believe you fell for that when I told you to leave your paying job for this."  When my body can't keep up with dreams, when my hopes soar away on the wings of eagles, when frustrations surround me, I walk mournfully before the Lord.  I feel like Eeyore the donkey, "Not that it matters anyway."

But the hard truth is that these thoughts and feelings are the very ones that weary the Lord.  And I'm inclined to think that the main reason they weary Him is because He knows that we know better.  How quickly we forget all that He's done for us.  How quickly we turn our backs on Him when we feel things aren't adding up the way we feel they should.  How quick we are to judge success and blessings according to the definitions of this world.  No wonder God is grieved!

Any form of ministry can be a blessing, but it can also be difficult.  Ministries often consist of thankless jobs that seldom gain any reward or recognition.  They can be lonely positions that often leave the worker wondering if anything he/she is doing is making any difference at all.  They are tasks that are under constant spiritual assault as Satan seeks to hinder and destroy both the workers and the work.  Nevertheless, we have God's assurance that any work we do for him is not in vain.  He is working through it, even though we may never see any evidence of that this side of Heaven.

So, be strong, dear brother or sister.  Keep fighting the good fight.  Stand firm, unmovable.  Do not allow Satan to hinder your work for God.  Those wearisome thoughts about your work being in vain are ploys of the enemy.  They are meant to distract and discourage you from your calling.  Be on guard.  God's grace is sufficient, and His work will be accomplished.  Don't get sidetracked.  Don't listen to the lies of the enemy.  Cling to God's promises and know that everything you do for Him has a purpose, and that purpose will be fulfilled.  It's not vain to serve God.  It's a glorious privilege!

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. - I Corinthians 15:58

NOTE:  Since I've recently shared with you so many of my heartaches, I felt I should also share with you two praises.  First of all, Cornerstone Christian Supply in Pickens has agreed to carry all of my books in their store on a consignment basis.  This is a big deal to me, and I'm thrilled at the knowledge that I can now see my books on the shelf of a brick-and-mortar store.  Woohoo!  Second, Jason finally received his raise, and it was double what we were expecting.  On top of that, he received a $100 bonus last week as part of one of the company's sales incentives.  At the beginning of the week, I found myself, like David, asking, "How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord?"  But by the end of the week, God had proven that He was still there.  He hadn't forgotten.  He hadn't forsaken.  He's keeping tabs on what's going on.  And, as always, He's taking care of His children!