Feeling Forgotten?

Ministry can seem like a thankless job at times. But God will not let your labor go unrewarded.

The Bible nowhere promises Christ's ambassadors some rose-petaled aisleway of safety through suffering. Indeed, scriptures such as Psalm 34:19 say the exact opposite: "Many are the afflictions of the righteous" (NKJV).

However we try to impose upon God our limited human fairness doctrines, He will not submit. He lifts one to prominence and public blessing, plants his feet in a broad place and anoints his ministry before the eyes of the world. Another pours out his life in the jungle, and the Peruvian Air Force shoots down his plane, killing his wife and child. Ministry, hardship, suffering, blessing, miracles, signs, wonders and unspeakable agony seem all jumbled in the fruit basket of life, which defies our cozy explanations and tidy little formulas of faith.

Only one word will make sense of it all, bring a victorious joyful meaning to it, for that word scatters the midnight of temporal confusion with the dawn of eternal significance: nevertheless.

Satan never misses an opportunity to plunge the dagger deep into the soft, defenseless tissue of our pain. "You see," he says, "there is your God for you. You see how He is. He lets you work like a slave, pour out your heart, preach till you drop, pray without ceasing, and He rewards you with a church split, angry elders and rabid sheep tearing your flesh to shreds. What do you have to say to this fine mess?" he mocks.


The weight of our apparently unrewarded labors, so oppressive in their density, is on one side of that word. On the other rests an unchanging and unchangeable biblical truth.

In 2 Timothy 1:12, Paul said: "For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day."

In the midst of trial by fire, who God is remains the infinitely greater truth than what is happening. Plant your faith in the miracles of God, and you are ripe for satanic attack. Anchor your soul in the God of miracles, and circumstances can never dislodge your hope. Whom you have believed may someday be all you have to cling to. But that will be enough.

Your life, faith and labors of love in Christ's behalf are not lost under the clutter of papers on God's disheveled desk. Regardless of what you may think just now, God keeps, carefully and lovingly, all that is committed into His hands. Nothing is lost. Nothing is even temporarily mislaid. In that day, that lovely dawn of clear, bright truth, it will be right there where you put it: in His hands.

God will not put any burden, calling, responsibility or ministry in my hands that He will not keep in His. The ultimate responsibility for outcome is not mine, but His. My responsibility is to intentionally place back in His hands all that He puts in mine.

In the jeering din of demonic accusations, we can whisper the one great word that puts the enemy to flight and lights the corners of the room: nevertheless.

I know who my God is, and I am eternally convinced He will not let anything go unseen or unrewarded. When Satan tenderly drapes the dreary afghan of self-pity around our slumping shoulders and begins to whisper, we need not let him even finish his sentence.

"What about all the..."


"Who will repay all the..."


"Look, they all forgot your..."


Mark Rutland is president of Southeastern College in Lakeland, Florida, and founder and president of Global Servants, an international missions ministry. He is the author of Nevertheless (Charisma House), from which this column was adapted.

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Explorers require significant input.

    How to Receive Clarity When Torn Between Choices

    Decision making is risky without guidance from the Holy Spirit.

  • Lyndon Johnson

    63-Year-Old Law Still 'Threatens' Churches, Pastors

    Read why this law is so dangerous to the kingdom culture.

  • A new path is opening now.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Opening Doors for Kingdom-Minded Businesses

    Find out how to activate this prophetic word of increase in your company.

  • Do you have the proper training to be a soldier in God's army?

    The Training You Need as a Soldier in God's Army

    We are in already in a war. Let us enter the fight as fully trained soldiers with the full armor ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • Local congregations are called to become Christ-like in their methodology, mission and essence.

    10 Traits of the Jesus-Driven Church

    If we attempt to walk in these, we will leave a powerful imprint on the world around us.

  • Greeter ministry

    5 Common Greeter Mistakes to Correct in the New Year

    Like those involved in any other ministry, greeters can get in a rut.

  • Saddleback Church

    One Clear-Cut Sign Your Church Is Mature and Healthy

    A church's health is measured by its obedience to this important mandate, not by its seating ...

  • Evangelist John Burton

    What My Third Church Plant Might Look Like

    Here are some things Evangelist John Burton might change if he decided to start another church.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders