Spiritual StrugglesWhen you struggle spiritually, how do you react?
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Thursday October 3
privilege of love
Three nights ago, my husband and I closed a chapter in our life. Youth ministry has been my niche for as long as we’ve been married (nearly 18 years) and even longer for my husband. As we prepare to lead a church plant, this fall has been a long series of goodbyes—our last youth retreat, Christmas banquet, youth service. This past Monday evening was our final, and most difficult, goodbye.
For several years we’ve also loved on the college-age young men and women who gathered with us to run after the heart of God. Chairs in the big room, sodas in the fridge, and hearts prepared, we opened our home and our lives to them.
Knowing the heartache of relational difficulties, physical separation, and the accusations of those who didn’t understand, the apostle Paul counted it a great privilege to invest in others’ lives. He knew that Christ’s mandate to “go and make disciples” was about people, not programs (Matthew 28:19).
Love is a privilege, one that requires a great investment. Because they lay down their lives regardless of the cost (John 15:13; 1 John 3:16), those who love well in the kingdom willingly risk rejection as they “[plead, encourage, and urge others] to live [their] lives in a way that God would consider worthy” (1 Thessalonians 2:12). Like Paul, though, they discover the secrets of the kingdom: a life surrendered to Jesus is great gain (Mark 8:35), and those who come to Jesus through our ministry are our “pride and joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:20).
When we invest in others, the return is invaluable because, truly, nothing this world offers can compare to the joy of seeing others fall deeply in love with Jesus (3 John 1:4). —Regina Franklin
1 Thessalonians 2:1-20
Yes, you are our pride and joy (v.20).
Who made a significant spiritual investment in your life? How can you make that kind of an investment in others?
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