I’ll always remember a conversation I had with a friend several years ago when I shared my plans to become more active in writing devotional messages. He asked, “Do you know who will receive the greatest blessing from your writings?”
“Who?” I responded, trying to figure out who he was referring to.
“You!” he answered. Though I didn’t anticipate the insight he gave, I’ve found that he was exactly right. When I write with intentions to encourage others, I find myself greatly encouraged!
I shared last week how God calls us to minister for the purpose of helping others, but that is not the only purpose. He also calls us for the purpose of advancing our own spiritual growth and joy. You see, there is a great sense of personal fulfillment that comes when you allow yourself to be used by God.
Jesus alluded to this truth when he taught His disciples, the ones with the responsibility to carry on His ministry. We should also glean from His teachings to them, because today, it is our responsibility to carry out His work.
One lesson came in an instance when the disciples thought Jesus was hungry, and they urged Him to eat. Jesus took the opportunity to make an interesting connection between food and the work He had come to accomplish. He explained, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34, NKJV).
To help us understand what Jesus meant, let’s think about the benefits of food. For one, food satisfies a person’s physical hunger. In comparison, doing the work of ministry helps to satisfy a person’s spiritual hunger. We all crave a life that feels meaningful; we want to know that we’re making a difference. Well, there is no better way to live with true significance than to surrender to God’s call. When you give yourself to the work of the Lord, you become part of something bigger than you – the eternal plan of God.
Food also gives energy. When we eat, we gain physical strength for our daily tasks. In a similar fashion, working for the Lord will strengthen you to move forward in your spiritual journey. Your obedience to God brings an encouragement that motivates you to serve even more. Though you may feel tired physically, God brings a spiritual energy that empowers you to keep walking for Him.
Finally, food often brings pleasure and enjoyment. We have to admit that most of us enjoy eating, and we can enjoy serving the Lord as well. While the work of the ministry can be difficult, the reward is worth the cost. The late minister Francis Asbury noted, “Through the devil may come a thousand ways, and though you may have trouble at every hand, you will never be happier than when you are doing the work of the Lord.” I think he was right!
Like Jesus, we can say that our “food” is to do the will of God and to accomplish His work. When you minister for the Lord, you’ll find supernatural satisfaction, energy, strength, and joy. While your service will certainly benefit others, it is often most beneficial to you.
Therefore, I charge each of you with these words from the apostle Paul: “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV).