IT'S WORTH IT ALL
is it worth the sacrifice?
Recently on a Saturday afternoon I was sitting with some good friends whom I don't get to see very often. You probably know the type - we only see each other every few years, but when we talk we pick up right where we left off. She is definitely a kindred spirit. Though I am almost twice her age, we both have a similar passion for kids!
They were sharing with us their latest adventure in following Jesus. Their family of seven had gone to a training school and participated in a couple of mission trips in the past year. Now they were going through the process of trying to know what their next step could be. Should they sell all their possessions, move their family across the ocean into a foreign culture and give themselves to a people they have never met? This would mean leaving their extended family and the comfort of familiarity. As we talked through the dream of what could be, she looked me in the eyes and asked, “is it worth it to go into full-time ministry? Is it really worth the cost (emotionally, physically, relationally) not only to us, but to our kids?”
After three and a half decades of life in ministry, I told my young friend yes. Yes it is! It hasn’t been easy at times. There have been many struggles and disappointments, but was it worth it? Yes!!!
living a life of purpose
When I was a child I didn’t have any big dreams for my life. I didn’t grow up in a family that encouraged me, or my two sisters, to dream big. But, I did believe that
the Bible said that God wanted us to experience life to the full. That he put in each of us talents, gift, and abilities that he could use to spread his kingdom to the world around us.
I decided early in life that whatever career path I chose, it needed to be something that wouldn’t just be about me, but would make a difference in the lives of others. That a “life well lived” would be a life that leaves the world a better place because of the Jesus that lives inside me.
Looking back over my life I can see that simply saying yes to Jesus has given me a life that I could have never dreamed for myself.
a lifetime of lessons
So after this 36 year “experiment” of moving two states away from family and friends and establishing a church in our community, what can I say that I’ve learned?
God is faithful! If he asks you do something that seems bigger than anything you could ever possibly do in your own strength, he will make it happen! It may not be the way you think it will happen. It may not look exactly like you thought it would look. It may not happen in your time frame.
God will provide. He is always ready and willing to give you what you need. You just have to ask him. God has always given me just what I needed at just the right time. If I had my preference, I would have liked the provision to come a couple of weeks before I needed it, but that’s because trusting isn't easy. Giving up control is even harder!! But the end result is worth it!!
Perseverance produces fruit. Just faithfully showing up counts. Being present in the lives of my two boys day after day, faithfully providing a place for kids to learn about and experience Jesus in our church services every week year after year, stepping out in obedience to what I’ve known was right to do time and time again, makes a difference. Perseverance gives God a chance to take our tiny bit of faithfulness and make something beautiful out of it!
The best way to hold on to something is to give it away. You need love, give love to others. You need comfort, comfort others. You need security, learn to let go. If your world feels out of control give control to God, the only one who controls all things.
In the small traditional church I attended as a child, I learned a song written long before I was born. It may be old, but the words speak of the hope that I have built my life upon.
“It will be worth it all when we see Jesus! Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ. One glimpse his dear face, all sorrow will erase, so bravely run the race, until we see Christ.” -Esther K. Suction (1940)
Yes, Chelsi, it is worth it all!