I have finished the race.’
Did you know that over half of those who enter the ministry leave before retirement? Why? There are lots of reasons – here is one of them: They discover that great revelation comes with a ‘thorn’. The apostle Paul, who wrote half the New Testament, says: ‘To keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong’ (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NIV 2011 Edition). Church leader, there are 168 hours in your week. The hour you spend in the pulpit on Sunday morning showcases you in the areas of your gifting and strength. So your challenge will always be to remember that it is God’s Word and God’s power, not yours, that changes lives and gets the job done. Notice what Paul said: ‘To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh.’ Paul’s thorn came in the form of ‘weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties’. What’s your thorn? You can only stand strong before people if you discipline yourself to spend time before God in prayer and Bible study. That’s how to stay effective and finish strong in ministry!