“The children are obstinate and hardhearted. I am sending you to them, and you must say to them: This is what the Lord God says. Whether they listen or refuse [to listen] -for they are a rebellious house-they will know that a prophet has been among them." – Ezekiel 2:4-5 HCSB

Ministry is not for the faint of heart. You must combine the sensitivity of a trained, empathic counselor with the thick-skinned tenacity of a prophet. You must be passionate about speaking the truth, but you must learn to do so with love and grace[1]. You must be “one of the people”[2] and accessible, while remaining an adequate figurehead that can lead[3] into new, wonderful vistas.

The most difficult part of ministry is speaking truth that you know is powerful to save and protect, but that will most likely be ignored. It’s discouraging to throw lifelines to drowning people every day and watch them push the help away.

God’s calling is not merely to oversee the healthy, well-fed sheep that obediently stay in the fold. It extends to those lost sheep out there in the crags and bushes[4]. They’re hard to reach. They’re in the darkness and rain. Their coats are matted and in their panic, they often fight you as you try to disentangle them from the briars of their sin. Yet, that is the calling.

You must encourage yourself with this: your job is not to save them; your job is to try. Your job is not to fix them; your job is to show them the way. Your job is not to change them; your job is to model growth in your own life[5]. In the end, even if it’s only at the Great White Throne of Judgment[6], they will know that a true prophet has been in their midst[7] and they will be unable to protest their condemnation.

The ministry is not only thankless, but it is often downright dangerous![8] Don’t be afraid of their slanderous words or their rolled eyes[9]. You don’t answer to them anyway. You just keep feeding them, herding them and protecting them. The Shepherd[10] will give you your just reward in the end.[11]

Make sure you are speaking Hashem’s* words, though[12]. Take care to make the words as palatable as you can, understanding that it is often an impossible job. Making truth tasty to sinful palates is not easy and it has confounded the wisest among us for thousands of years.

Finally, make sure that you yourself eat of the word of God[13]. Don’t be rebellious. Make sure that you have a steady diet of truth that is applied in your own life. That is the surest way to not merely survive but thrive in ministry.

*Further study this and other names of God at www.pastorpauley.com/tzedekah/concepts/hnog.htm

[1] Zechariah 8:16; Ephesians 4:25; Colossians 3:12-16

[2] Numbers 12:3;

[3] 1 Corinthians 11:1

[4] Matthew 18:11-13; Luke 15:4-7

[5] Matthew 5:14-16; Proverbs 18:15

[6] Revelation 20:11-15

[7] Ezekiel 2:5

[8] Matthew 10:16

[9] Ezekiel 2:6

[10] Zechariah 13:7; Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27; John 10:1-16; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:5

[11] Matthew 25:21; Luke 19:17

[12] Ezekiel 2:7

[13] Ezekiel 2:8