Read 2 Corinthians 4:1-18
Twice in this passage Paul makes it a point to say, “do not lose heart.” This phrase is found both in verse 1 and in verse 16, acting as bookends to the important message he’s giving to his fellow Christ-followers.
When Paul says, “We do not lose heart,” he’s encouraging us to not lose our motivation to do what God has called us to do. God has given you your sport as a platform for ministry; be enthusiastic about that!
So why does Paul say it twice? Well, why do preachers ever repeat themselves? There are three possible reasons: We’ve forgotten what we’ve already said, we’re ill-prepared, or the repetition is for emphasis. I’m pretty sure in Paul’s case, it’s the last option. In fact, God’s Word often repeats points for emphasis.
So how do we not lose heart in ministry?
- Remember, it’s not your ministry. In verse 1 we read, “Since through God’s mercy we have this ministry…” Whether you are a ballplayer, a pastor, or in a different profession, you do what you do because God in His mercy entrusted it to you. When we remember that, we can be enthused because we know that our life is not about us, it’s about God and His ministry. Beyond being held accountable to our bosses or coaches, we are accountable to the One who gave us our gifts!
- Keep your motivation. We do nothing out of our own power. In verse 7 we read, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” When we realize that He’s the one who empowers us to do whatever it is that we do, we no longer have to do it all in our own strength. We can do all that we can to be fully prepared and equipped, but ultimately, God is the One who blesses the work.
- It’s not for our glory. In verse 15 Paul acknowledges this: “This is for Your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” As God increases an athlete or pastor’s platform, causing more and more people to be influenced by them, they have to remember that it’s not for their own glory. When you make the All-Star team, gain more Twitter followers, or receive more Facebook likes, you then have a greater opportunity to share God’s Word and your faith in Christ with others.
Do not lose heart. Keep your motivation right before the Lord. Why are you doing what it is that you are doing today? How can that be glorifying to God?
Tomorrow, you’ll hear a story from former MLB player Donnie Kelly, who will share an example of living out this type of motivated faith through his sport. You won’t want to miss it!
—Jeff Totten, Chaplain of the Detroit Tigers
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