Ministry is not always easy. Many times, it is grueling. Onlookers can only capture a glimpse of what is put into a ministry. They may not see the initial planning, the preparation, and everything that goes into getting everything in place. But they also don’t see the back-end story—they don’t see the lives of those who are ministering.
No matter what we are going through, we are still able to plant. Our faithful and obedient leaders of the Early Church certainly didn’t have it easy but they pressed onward. They understood that “those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.” They trusted that the harvest would come. They trusted that God would use every seed for His kingdom.
You may be struggling today and wondering how you can make a difference. You may feel unworthy or not equipped to plant. Remember that God qualifies you (2 Corinthians 3:5). Remember also that God’s word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). Continue to plant the seed my friends. Some may reject it. Your testimony needs to be heard. It may not always be easy. But the harvest will come. Indeed!
“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.” – Psalm 126:5-6 [NLT]
Yielding to others is difficult. Try driving in a roundabout with everyone thinking they are justified in going first. There’s a pattern to the road plan that has given drivers a time to yield and a time for others to yield. The world tells us we shouldn’t have to yield. The world tells us that we are owed the opportunity to go first. The world has caused us to think we must rush around, without pausing to allow someone else to go, because there isn’t enough time.
Yielding to others is not simply something we are to do when we are driving. We are to yield to others in life too. Another way to say this is being reasonable or accommodating. You might consider this to be very sacrificial in some regards, or it could be something very small. At the end of the day, if we are not willing to yield to others, if we are not flexible and able to adapt for others, we will neglect those that God has placed before us. We will charge over them just like someone who rushes into a roundabout without acknowledging the yield sign.
Today, consider how you interact with others. Remember that we aren’t supposed to be stressed out and OCD over every area of life. We need to be willing to yield to others as we go through our days. This demonstrates our compassion for others. This is a way of surrendering to the fact that you are not in control. This is all about thinking more about the ministry than about your selfish desires or pride. If you aren’t at a place where you feel ready to yield, continue to fix your eyes above. Remember that this is a wisdom that comes from above.
“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” – James 3:17 [NLT]
Timothy is told to pass on what was taught to him by the Apostle Paul. When we are taught something, we aren’t supposed to keep it just for ourselves. Paul was pouring a wealth of teaching upon Timothy. He was sharing great insight into the ministry of the Good News. He wanted this teaching to continue to pour out from Timothy to others. This is how the spread of the Gospel works. Ministry is a team effort.
If you look at the Early Church, you will find that those who were intimately involved with Jesus Christ during His early ministry rose up to spread the Good News. After his conversion, Paul did the same. Many of these people had small groups meeting together, sharing together, doing life together. This Good News was then spread by these people to others. As it was shared to some, it was passed on to many others. People were being equipped and empowered.
Too often we get caught up in thinking that the people in our lives will hear the Gospel from some pastor at a local church or on television. We think that ministry is all about someone speaking to the masses. But the Bible shows us that the Early Church spread the Gospel not simply by speaking to large groups, but by focusing on a small group who then passed on the great spiritual truths. Do not keep what you know about Jesus to yourself. What you learn, pass on. Whether you pass it on to your family, to your friends, or you start a small group or lead or teach at church—pass it on. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you share what you know, teach you more, and to show you who is ready with open ears to hear these spiritual truths.
“You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” – 2 Timothy 2:2 [NLT]
Paul ends chapter 4 discussing what it means to be a good minister of Jesus Christ. In verse 14, Paul tells Timothy to “not neglect the gift” (NIV). Verse 15 says to “be diligent in these matters and absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all” (NIV). The NLT translation says to “give your complete attention” and to “throw yourself into your tasks.”
Paul reminded Timothy of the importance of the gift he was given and the importance to press forward with that gift, to throw himself into the ministry of Jesus Christ.
Just like Timothy, we each have a ministry. For everyone, the ministry is different because each of us is unique and gifted differently. If you know the ministry you have been called to, throw yourself into it. Give it your attention. Remember the great importance of pressing forward. If you are still wondering about the ministry for you, pray for the Spirit to reveal this to you. Continue to diligently read His Word and serve His people. He will show you the path to take.
“Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.” – 1 Timothy 4:15 [NLT]
Getting Started: Discussion of Count the Stars Simile
First tell children about some similes – brave as a lion, crazy like a fox, slow as molasses. Visual illustration: molasses poured out slowly.
Genesis 15 says “look up at the sky and count the stars… so shall your offspring be.” – As many people as stars.
Can you count the stars? Do you know how many stars there are in the sky? What does this mean? (You can also show your favorite constellation to intro to these questions).
Craft / Activity
Watered down glue / glitter / black or dark blue construction paper / brown or beige construction paper
Cut the brown / beige construction paper as a small land mass before class.
Spread the watered down glue on the papers. Put the land mass at the bottom of the paper. Sprinkle glitter on the paper. Be sure to have a small box to catch the glitter that falls from the paper.
On the land mass, write “Count the Stars” – Genesis 15:5
After doing the activity, begin digging deeper into the lesson (this allows for the papers to dry and for children to have another visual learning experience).
Genesis 12:1-5 – God’s promise to Abram
I will make you into a GREAT NATION
I will make your NAME GREAT
You will be A BLESSING
… ALL PEOPLES ON EARTH WILL BE BLESSED THROUGH YOU.
(New Home – Great Name – Family)
Abram (75 years old) – left Haran with Sarai and Lot.
Genesis 15:2-6 – Count the Stars
Abram asked what the Lord could give. He had no children. The Lord said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars –if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Genesis 18:10-14 – Sarah Laughs
Three men visit Abraham and food is prepared. They explain that Sarah would have a son. Sarah laughed. Is anything too hard for the LORD?
Genesis 21:1-7 –Isaac born
The Lord did as He promised. Abraham and Sarah had a son, Isaac, God has brought me laughter. Abraham was 100 years old.
Discuss what this means to us. Discuss blessing. Discuss abundance.
Closing Verse: 2 Corinthians 9:8
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
What does this mean? What are we promised?
A person does not need to be at church or doing specifically labeled ministry work to minister to others. Whether you have considered it or not, everyone can minister from anywhere. There are people ministering in libraries, on the school playground, in bars, and even in the grocery store.
Today at work I was having a conversation with a customer. At the same time, I did not realize that there was another customer listening from out of view. We were talking about serving the Lord, about His blessings and providence, and about His faithfulness and trusting in Him. It was a short conversation. It was an unplanned conversation. I was not thinking about how to minister to a person and I did not consider myself doing ministry work per se. Then the listening customer came around and said she “loved” the conversation she just heard. Without even realizing I was being used to do something, God spoke through me to her.
Too often we think that ministry is simply something done at church or when we put on our ministry caps and run an outreach event or knowingly minister to someone. In reality our greatest ministry is done when most people are not looking, in those uncalculated moments. You probably heard that you could be the only Bible someone will read—today, consider that great responsibility. Don’t confine your ministry. Don’t over think what God can do through you. Simply ask Him to use you and show up for duty. There’s no need to complicate things. God has a great plan. You can make a difference from anywhere. Just do everything in love.
“Do everything in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:14 [NIV]
I am doing a lesson on Genesis 1 – Creation. I am going to start off showing the children the cross paper and discuss how God knew at the very beginning that we would need a Savior. Then I am going to transition into a discussion on Creation and we are going to cut out our crosses. I am going to read from Genesis 1 and review Creation. As we progress through each day, we will fill in a box on the cross by drawing something that represents what God created on that particular day. After the 6th day, we will fold our cross into a cube and tape it together. Then we will finish with Day 7. Finally, we will split into groups and take turns rolling our cube and sharing something amazing about that day of creation. Afterward, we will gather together and review.
For the cross pattern, simply measure 8 inches by 2 inches rectangular on a vertical sheet of paper. Then draw a line every two inches so that the squares are 2″ x 2″. Then at the second square from the top, put a square (2″ x 2″) on both the left and right side.
When you cut out the cross, fold up the sides at the mid square section and then fold the extra square (the bottom square) up. Use tape to hold the sides together.
This lesson allows the children to use their creativity while learning about Creation.