Do you know Sisyphus? In Greek mythology he was a king punished by being cursed to roll a huge boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this throughout eternity. “Sometimes the ministry feels like that doesn’t it?”, I said to Ellen. She said yes, and added, “And sometimes you feel like letting the boulder roll right over you and just get it over with.” We both laughed. I hope you’re laughing.
Today, Sisyphean can be used as an adjective meaning any activity that is unending and/or repetitive. Or, it could also be used to refer to tasks that are pointless and unrewarding. Obviously there is much about pastoring that is unending and repetitive. And occasionally the ministry can feel pointless and unrewarding. But remember this…it only feels pointless and unrewarding. The value of what you are doing is not based on results but based on the fact that you are doing it. In other words, God called, you said yes = value, meaning. In a letter dated April 13, 1967, Thomas Merton said, “The great thing in life is to share the best one has, no matter how poor it may be. The sharing gives it value.”
There is something very valuable in what you are doing, even if it does not feel that way. Your ministry is not pointless, it has value, great value. First, because you are doing it. Second, because if you can put aside the current discouragement and objectively look behind you you’ll be able to see a long line of people who’s lives have been enriched because of you. You are making a difference. Your church is making a difference. The difference may seem small but it’s still a difference.
Have I ever told you that I once met Mother Teresa? I did. It was amazing to say the least. She once said, “Jesus does not call you to be successful, but to be faithful.” You said yes. You’ve been faithful. Just because something feels pointless doesn’t mean it is. Don’t give up. And certainly don’t lay down and let that boulder roll over you.
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