Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)
The period just before and during the Jews’ captivity in Babylon was one of the darkest times in Bible history. God’s people had fallen to their lowest level in sin and rebellion. They totally rejected God and everyone who represented Him. That included men like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
Isaiah ministered for about half a century, as did Jeremiah and perhaps Ezekiel. This was during very difficult times. Each one was persecuted, rejected, abused and at least Isaiah cruelly killed. Isaiah warned the last kinds of Israel about coming judgment. Jeremiah lived through the judgment and Ezekiel went into captivity with Jews who were taken to Babylon. God was faithful in keeping a witness for His people no matter how difficult the circumstances.
They faithfully served God despite rejection by family, friends and those they ministered to. They were unappreciated and have very little if any positive response to their work. Yet they persevered? Why? Statistics tell us that today, in this country where ministry is much easier than it was for these men, that 9 out of 10 men who begin in the pastoral ministry will drop out before retirement. Unfortunately we know very little about these men for they revealed almost nothing about themselves. But perhaps that is the clue we need to understand their faithfulness. It wasn’t about them, it was all abut God. They were willing servants no matter the dangers or rewards. They were committed to serving God faithfully no matter the cost. They had no private agenda, so personal “kingdom” they were building. Everything was about God’s kingdom and faithfully doing what they were called to do.
God must have been very pleased with these special men who faithfully represented Him in a time and place where they weren’t appreciated or thanked. They were tiny lights in a land of darkness. But they kept the light alive. Nothing could put out their light. Their only agenda was to faithfully serve God as long as they lived, no matter what happened to them. And God was pleased.
God needs men and women like that today in every country of the world. He needs disciples who are committed no matter what, who keep following despite everything around them going wrong, who will stick to their job no matter how personally painful it gets. God needs Isaiahs, Jeremiahs and Ezekiels today. Will you be one?
1 Corinthians 4:2, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”
Hebrews 11:32-40, “And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets…. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.”
Matthew 25:21, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!'”
- What has been the strongest test you have every faced in your Christian life? Were you faithful? What would you do differently if you faced the same thing again?
- Are you willing to be a witness for God no matter how tough the circumstances and how rejecting the people?
- Will you serve God year after year even if you see no visible results or increase? Will you serve out of faithfulness to bless God even if you aren’t personally blessed in what you do?
- Are you faithfully carrying out the work God has given you to do regardless of the response? Are you working only for God’s kingdom or do you keep an eye on the personal ‘kingdom’ you are building?
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on August 2, 2009