Summary: A sermon examining the importance of ministering to those who remain faithful in the ministry.
Don't Forget The Faithful
It is reported that there are more than 50,000 homeless veterans in America. There is an attempt by several government and civilian organizations to address this problem. And this is a problem that deserves our attention. When a unit returns from serving overseas there is often a great celebration planned to welcome them home. And this is well deserved. We have holidays set aside to honor our veterans and to remember those who paid the ultimate price sacrificing their lives for our freedom. Again, this is honorable and needed. But we often take for granted those who are currently in harms way. As we speak there are military service men and women deployed all over the globe. These faithful servants sacrifice greatly to keep us free. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands who are here on American soil who are willing to do what it takes to secure and protect our liberty. They sacrifice their own desires, they spend time away from their families, they are grossly underpaid and often unappreciated. Let us be reminded not to forget those who are faithful to serve our country.
Likewise, in ministry there are often some faithful servants who are overlooked and neglected.
a) In ministry, much of our time is spent reaching out to the lost. - And we should reach out to those who do not know Jesus. Jesus said in the Great Commission that we are to "Go, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" - Matthew 28:19
b) In ministry, much of our time is spent reaching out to the new believer. - And we should disciple and train those who have recently come to faith in Christ. In the Great Commission when Jesus said "go and teach", He literally means that we are to make disciples. This involves time, effort and investing in others.
c) In ministry, much of our time is spent reaching out to the backslidden. - And we should reach out to those brethren who have fallen away. Paul says in - Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
d) In ministry, much of our time is spent reaching out to those who have left the church. - People becoming sporadic or even inactive concerning their church attendance is a common problem. And we should have compassion on them and do all that we can to persuade them to return to a place of faithfulness.
e) In ministry, much of our time is spent reaching out to those who are physically sick. - And we should have compassion on our brothers and sisters in Christ and do all that we can to care for them when they are sick.
e) In ministry, much of our time is spent reaching out to the downtrodden. - When we know of a brother or sister who is dealing with great difficulties we should have compassion that would motivate us to minister to them.
Reaching out to: the lost, the new believer, the backslidden Christian, the sick and the discouraged are all vital elements of the ministry. You would think that that list would cover all of our responsibilities in ministry, but you would be wrong. There is another group of people that we should minister to. And this is a group that often slips through the cracks unnoticed. What group is this? I am referring to the dependable servants of God and the church! Those who are faithful devoted strong steadfast, mature wise, selfless, sacrificial and serving.
We look at the faithful in ministry and say "they have got everything in order" they are fine, so we focus our time and resources on those who seem to need "more help". Let us never forget that these faithful servants are the first ones that the Devil will attempt to stop. He wants to halt them because they are having a positive impact on others.
There are great dangers in ministry. We face spiritual attacks, we grow weary and we reach a point of burnout at times. Some of God's most faithful servants will face times of depression, discouragement and doubt. Consider Elijah for a moment. He had just experienced one of the greatest victories in the Bible. He prayed fire down from Heaven and slew 450 prophets of Baal. Then Jezebel sent a message to him that she was going to kill him. Out of fear he ran a days journey and hid himself, he sat down under a juniper tree, gave up and asked God to kill him. Under that tree we see a man who has pushed himself beyond his physical and emotional limits. Elijah found himself in a period of great discouragement and depression.