Are you tired?
Are you hitting the point of the semester where you’re drained and bearing the weight of all that is on your plate?
It’s that time.
The fun of the holidays isn’t quite here, North Texas hasn’t got the memo that today is the start of Fall, and the burden of busy calendars is upon us.
Coming in hot to steal away my ability to rest is some battles with insomnia. There are the occasional nights where I’m up for hours in the middle of the night for no reason other than the burdens of ministry (the pro of this is extra time in God’s Word, when I take the step of getting up and reading rather than just laying there). I see the light, but I also come face to face with the darkness that many are facing. There are moments where I feel like my tiny, feeble light is about to be extinguished by the darkness I battle every day.
You may not be in vocational ministry, but I know you’re likely prone to encounters with the weighty darkness of this world.
My problem is that I all too often try to bear this weight alone.
Thank God for friends who draw me back from the front lines, who remind me that I’m not in the fight alone, who remind me that discipleship is a team sport.
Discipleship is a team sport, guys! We need each other deeply and desperately. None of us, not a single one of us, are capable of doing the work of discipleship on our own in our individual communities. There’s enough work to go around.
We’re not alone in the fight.
The Lord’s been showing me this reality as of late. One through a pretty obvious text out of 2 Timothy, and secondly through a simple phrase at the start of an often-ignored letter of Paul.
Let me show you what He’s been showing me.
First off, we see in 2 Timothy a letter from a passionate missionary to his son in the faith. Timothy was at a point where he was deciding whether or not to go on in ministry. He was being pushed to and fro by the burdens of following Jesus above all else. He was a soldier of Christ (2 Timothy 2:3).
Quick side-note. The easy life is the life of a man or woman who is not sold out in allegiance to King Jesus, ready to do His work. I’ve been there. I’ve been churchy, religious, a lover of God, but not all the way in as His soldier. Now I know that utter allegiance to Him is the hard life. But that’s also the worthwhile and joyful life.
Paul sends him a letter of deep encouragement. He first reminds Timothy of his own care for him (1:2, my beloved child) and then he reminds Timothy of the heritage of faith that he had (1:5-6, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice). This was how Paul brought encouragement to Timothy for him to continue being resilient. He told Timothy to look behind him. See who came before him. See who invested in him personally. See who finished the race, and see who are still trucking along.
Man, as I’ve done that, I’ve felt such a fire in my soul to keep moving forward one day at at time.
Odus Compton. Brady Sharp. Zack Randles. Jeff Roach. Joshua Tompkins.
These are just a handful of men who have poured into me, who are still in the fight against the darkness.
Their faith, perseverance, and endurance keep me going.
Paul told Timothy to look behind him to those who came before.
Like I said, I’ve found another source of encouragement in a pretty random place.
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Thessalonians 1:1-2
You read 2 Thessalonians as of late?
If you’re like me, probably not.
This short little letter from Paul to the church at Thessalonica is pretty ignored at times. And while there is a ton of beneficial truths laced throughout the book, this opening greeting reminded me of something.
When you feel like you’re alone in the fight, look beside you.
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy.
If we’re not careful, we can slide over to the belief that Paul was superhuman.
But, here we have a reminder that he had a team.
Sometimes this team abandoned him, sometimes this team didn’t get along well with him, but a team he had all the same.
Silas and Timothy did ministry with him, and they were a part of his letter of exhortation to the church in Thessalonica.
The Lord regularly has to remind me to look around me. To open my eyes to the men and women in my church who are fighting beside me, and the men and women in our community who are doing the same. I could list out a plethora of names of men and women who are chasing after Jesus as King, who are serving as soldiers in His battalions.
So I ask again.
Are you tired?
Are you worn out with life, not to mention the fight for the Kingdom of God?
Look behind you and look beside you.
You are not alone in the fight. Look behind you to those who came before, and look beside you to those who fight by your side.
In His Name,