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How to deal with discouragement while doing good work

“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” Hebrews 6:10

This Bible verse is a message of encouragement. It not only comforts us but gives us a hope of steadfastness, and enables us to press on forward faithfully. Here, better things could be said of them to be optimistic because God will not forget the works of genuinely saved believers and the love shown when they minister to the saints. Remember, faith, hope and love are the hallmarks of true Christianity.

Do not be discouraged

Often, we are so discouraged thinking that God has forgotten us. But we should never encourage such thoughts. God never forgets or overlooks our hard work for Him. We may not receive our rewards right away, but God knows our every effort of love and ministry we do for Him.

There is an old tale about Satan walking on the street of life, sulking in the shadows with his hunting dogs, the assistant demons. A man, Albert, came walking down the street; Satan said to the little demon, scowling with bitter face: “Go, get him for me!”. Quickly he crossed the street, silently and lightly hopped on to the man’s shoulder. In his ear he whispered, “You are discouraged.”

‘”No,” said the man, “I am not discouraged.”

“You are discouraged!” insisted the demon. This time the man replied, “I don’t think I am.” Louder and more decidedly, the demon repeated, “I tell you, you are discouraged.” Albert dropped his head and murmured: “Well, I suppose I am”. The little demon darted back to Satan and said proudly, “I have got him; he is discouraged.”

Another man, Carlson, passed. Again, old Satan said: “Get him for me!” The proud little demon of discouragement repeated his tactics. The first time, he said. “You are discouraged,” the man replied emphatically, “No”. The second time Carlson replied, “I tell you I am not discouraged!” The third time he said, “You lie! I am not discouraged” and he walked down the street, his head erect, going straight towards the light. The imp of discouragement returned to his master, crestfallen, “I couldn’t get him,” he reported. “Three times I told him he was discouraged. The third time, he called me a liar, and that discouraged me!”

Satan is ready to step in with his cunning devices and stratagems to discourage and disappoint believers. At such moments we have the right prescription from the Scripture and that is “Resist the devil; he will flee away from you.”

Disappointment is Fatal

Let God’s love for us and His intimate knowledge of our service for Him bolster us as we face multiple rejections and disappointments here on earth. No matter what life takes us through, let the hope and faith we have anchored in the Lord, keep us pressing forward to do more for Him. Periods of lingering frustrations are common in each one of our lives. Some days are like diamonds – bright and shining while some other days may seem like a stone – unimpressive and unattractive. Yet we must always remember to clothe ourselves in confidence and focus on the almighty God.

Ministering to the Lord

There are few things that accompany salvation. Evidence of salvation will manifest in the lives of saints namely their work of the faith, labor of love and patience of hope. The Lord’s ministry should be done heartily, not grudgingly and as to the Lord and not to men. ‘Ye serve the Lord Christ,’ (Col.3:24). Those who persevere in a diligent discharge of their duty shall obtain the full assurance of hope in the end.

Reward in heaven will not be for prominence or apparent successes; they will not be for talents or opportunities, but rather for faithfulness as to the Lord. The Lord’s ministry is a responsibility and we must take it seriously – continue doing it and finish the task faithfully.

In the name of the Lord

Apostles and early Christians continued to serve the Lord’s people in the name of the Lord. Likewise, we have to steadfastly minister to the Lord as long as we have the health, ability, and opportunity. But, only do the ministry which you have been called to do and that which is received from Jesus Christ according to the will of God. The Bible teaches us a very important lesson that the humblest ministry (Mt.10:42) can be glorified and dignified by doing it for the Lord. While serving the saints in the name of the Lord, always remember to fret not, faint not, fear not or forget not.

Certainty of God’s promises

Remembering the reward that lies ahead should encourage us as believers to carry on the work, entrusted into our hands, till we can declare that we have finished it faithfully. Since faith must wait long to be rewarded, we may be tempted to grow weary. But if we have anchored our hope in God our savior, we will never be disappointed. The example of Abraham is given as a stimulus and through this the certainty of hope is affirmed. God is righteous therefore the fulfillment of the promise is assured.

Conclusion

Lest we become discouraged and disappointed, the Bible reminds us to have faith and hope in the Lord for rewards are certain even if not immediate. Over the medical school of the old St.Bartholomew’s hospital are carved these words: Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.

The story is told of a king who placed a heavy stone in the road and then hid and watched to see who would remove it. Men of various classes came and worked their way round it, some loudly blamed the king for not keeping the highways clear, but all dodging the duty of getting it out of the way. At last a poor peasant on his way to town with his burden of vegetables for sale came, and contemplating the stone, laid down his load, and rolled the stone into the gutter. Then, turning round, he spied a purse that had lain right under the stone. He opened it and found it full of gold pieces with a note from the king saying it was for the one who should remove the stone.

Those who expect a gracious reward should not be slothful. They must not love their ease and lose their opportunities. Therefore, ‘Beloved brethren, be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord’.

C.M.John

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