No Greater Joy

Today's devotion from 2 John & 3 John.

By way of confession, I have thought at various times about leaving pastoral ministry. I dealt with some difficulty early in ministry that caused me to reconsider my call. I have wrestled with seasons of discouragement. I have struggled to balance family and ministry. I have not handled stress very well. At these times, I think about what I might do to provide for my family. I evaluate my skills, abilities, and education. Inevitably, as I go through these periods, I am reminded of the words of Charles Spurgeon:

“Do not enter the ministry if you can help it,” was the deeply sage advice of a divine to one who sought his judgment. If any student in this room could be content to be a newspaper editor, or a grocer, or a farmer, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a senator, or a king, in the name of heaven and earth let him go his way; he is not the man in whom dwells the Spirit of God in its fulness, for a man so filled with God would utterly weary of any pursuit but that for which his inmost soul pants. If on the other hand, you can say that for all the wealth of both the Indies you could not and dare not espouse any other calling so as to be put aside from preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, then, depend upon it, if other things be equally satisfactory, you have the signs of this apostleship.

I realize that there is nothing else in the world that I could find fulfillment doing. It's not that I want to preach or like preaching. I must preach.

In these epistles, John is writing to encourage and strengthen specific believers. In both, John communicates his personal joy and gladness over the faithful walk of others. As I began to think through this, I felt a sense of sorrow for many believers who do not know this joy. Too many are self-absorbed. They care only for their own salvation. They concern themselves only with their own growth. 

The reality is that walking with Christ is wonderful, but that joy is only truly complete when we are investing in others. When we disciple another person, we experience a satisfaction and gladness that surpasses even our own moment of salvation. The reason is simple. We are never more like Jesus than when we are giving ourselves away to others.