Happy Friday friends! Tonight, I did my usual Friday night devotional time with God. He led me to the sixteenth chapter of the Gospel of John. Reading prompted me to reflect on my times in campus ministry. Read more below, and enjoy! (Photo Credit: Instapray app)
LONG POST ALERT: If you don’t want to read all of the long post, skip to the block quote down the page.
For those of you who don’t know, I am a part of a Christian student organization at my university called Chi Alpha Campus Ministries. I have had the honor of serving as a small group leader for a little over a year. As a part of the leadership team, I co-lead a weekly bible study. This past semester, we studied the Gospel of John. Spoiler: It is LIFE. So good! Literally the Bread of Life. Living Water. Amazing. The best book to start with reading the Bible. The best book to start your devotionals.
Anyway, I absolutely love being a small group leader. The experience has brought so much joy into my life. God has brought so many beautiful, faithful women into my life. Every week, the Holy Spirit shows up and speaks so much truth from His word. I’ve gotten the chance to see Him work through so many lives. Campus ministry has changed who I am as a Christian.
Now let’s be real. Ministry is so hard! Being a small group leader challenges me every semester. I’m an introvert who never talked about her faith before college. Reaching out to other students stretches me out of my comfort zone. I balance bible study with classwork, work, other clubs and internships. So what keeps me coming back each semester? What keeps me going in times of feeling overwhelmed and stressed? God’s word. Period.
After that incredibly long introduction, enough about me, I’d like to share a scripture from the Gospel of John where Jesus talks about the ups and downs of ministry and discipleship.
20 Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. 21 A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.
Giving context, Jesus is talking to the disciples about how He will die on the cross soon and eventually leave them to be with God. He’s telling them about what life will be like after he leaves. The world will hate them, persecute them, kill them. As Jesus encourages his disciples with this scripture, He speaks to us, current followers as well.
While Jesus is saying a lot here, I will focus in on verse 21. Jesus always has the best metaphors. Childbirth as a metaphor for ministry? Genius! Think of the symbolism this way, God has put something big in us, some kind of project He wants to use to reveal Himself to His people. It could be a book, ministry at your church, bible study, mission trip, a prayer group at your office, etcetera. That thing grows in us over time. Bringing this thing into the world requires immense amounts of labor, perhaps years worth. It’s painful. It makes us sad, angry, tired, frustrated. We’re going to start crying and desperately want to quit. That’s ministry.
Jesus says it’s worth it. The fruits of our labor as disciples will bring new life into this world. God will appear on this Earth like never before, through us! And, bonus, the fruits of our labor will bring us joy! Joy “no one will take from you.”
If you can see this, thanks for reading until the very end! I truly appreciate everyone who reads my blog. Thank you for your support! I hope this word encouraged you tonight.