In It For The Long Haul

Years ago, when I was in youth ministry, I had the opportunity to have lunch with a Foursquare pastor from Germany. During that lunch we talked about numerous things concerning ministry, but there is one part of that conversation that I still remember to this day.

We were talking about goals and accomplishments in ministry and he told me that they have a saying in Germany that translates to English like this: “We overestimate what we can accomplish in one year but we underestimate what we can accomplish in five or ten years.”

The truth is, we live in a society that seeks to accomplish things as quickly as possible and, if we don’t reach our goals as quickly as we hope, we often abandon them. We lack patience in our culture and, because of this, we often don’t see our goals fulfilled.

This week I’ve had the opportunity to hang out with our missionaries in Alaska. Our Church family has been supporting them since we planted our church and we have watched them lovingly and patiently do the work they set out to do a little over ten years ago.

The last three or four years have been extremely challenging as they’ve faced many hardships. There were times when they weren’t sure if their mission here would continue, but they persevered and pressed on, seeking to do the work God has called them to do.

This evening, as I sat talking with Rod Koop—our primary contact and liaison for the North of Hope mission here in Alaska—he received a text from an Alaskan tribal administrator asking for his help with a project. As he read the text to me, he said, “This is what we came here for. This is huge—they don’t ask outsiders to help with things like this.” Tears of joy and gratitude streamed down his cheeks as he shared these things with me.

This came after ten years of hard work, patience, and perseverance. And I believe they are only beginning to see what God will do through their faithful obedience! Galatians 6:9 tells us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Rod didn’t give up and now he’s beginning to reap the harvest God has prepared. And God wants to use all of us to make a difference in our world. The question is: Are we willing to be patient, walk in faithful obedience, and persevere to see those things come to fruition?

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