I see people in all stages of the working for the Lord process from the very beginning of an idea or calling, to mid-stream, or to the well-established ministry or even end phase. I’ve seen A LOT, as well all have for those who work in ministry.
Perseverance is a necessary quality in the Christian walk. Perseverance is persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
If you are a baptized Catholic or Christian, then you and I are called to be working for the Lord. Just like that one scripture in Matthew’s Gospel (Mtw. 20: 1-16) about the workers in the field, the ones that showed up at the end of the day got paid the same as the ones who started working in the field in the morning.
Some of you reading this may be in active ministry –working at a parish or diocese. Maybe you are a Catholic mom or dad work in the vineyard of your family to care and disciple them. Maybe you are not actively working for God at all right now, but God is calling you to do so.
I’ve been working for the Lord since my conversion in 1991. Although I am a baptized Catholic, it wasn’t until after high school when God became real to me. After I encountered God in a REAL way, I’ve been excited to work with God with a joy, excitement and zeal.
This is not to say that I’ve never experienced set backs, discouragement, exhaustion, near burnout, and of course lots of persecution. We all experience these things working for the Lord.
I’ve mentioned before that I really enjoy the reflections and teachings from Presentation Ministries and specifically Father Al Lauer. Below (scroll to the bottom) is an inspiring teaching on the topic of working for the Lord for you to encourage you as you work in the vineyard of the Lord. This teaching on working for the Lord which served as a good reminder for me to keep things in perspective, yet also to be energized in this great honor that I have, and that so many I know have.
- Motives. What are your motives in doing “x” for God? Ask your self, “Why am I working for the Lord? Am I really doing what He wants or am I doing what I want?” (Good question.) I have to take this question to prayer often as it is easy for any or all us to get off track. After you do this, and you discern that you really ARE doing what the Lord has called you to do, then read on.
- Be Generous. Be Unselfish. Working for the Lord requires a great deal of sacrifice. It requires discipline, possibly fasting, lack of sleep, fewer worldly pleasures perhaps. Ask any Catholic parent with a large family about sacrifice! Believe me, it’s there. God wants to give ourselves to him fully. To lay our lives down.
- Be Joyful & Zealous. Okay. So you are working for God, but you’re not really happy about it. You have answered the call, but you are a big grouch. You don’t really WANT to work. Okay. I’ve been a big grouch at times (mainly from lack of sleep), but God wants us to work for him joyfully or NOT at all. He wants us to WANT to work for him. Remember, God is with you.
- Be Thankful. Our work for God is temporary. We may not be in good enough health to do certain things for the Lord, so while we are able to do the work, be thankful that you are so privileged to do God’s work.
- Focus on Grace. Many times I’ve been frustrated more by what I was NOT able to get done, than I had gotten done. When I get frustrated about progress, I have to remind myself two things. 1) This is God’s baby, not mine. 2) God needs to do the work (not me) per se. 3) If I want more to get done, the more I spend in the presence of the Lord, the more I attend Mass and receive the sacraments, God seems to do much more through me. (Note to self get back to more frequent Mass! And have more quiet time with Jesus.)
- We are part of God’s loving Salvation. The work we do now for God has an eternal impact on ourselves and on those God has us encounter on the journey. Now that’s pretty cool if you stop and think about it. Not sure how all that works, but one day I hope to find out.
- Working for God is a Mystery. This is exciting and at the same time requires faith and trust in God. We may not understand or feel that things are going the way we think.
Peace Be with You!
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(Click below to listen to the podcast teaching on this topic by Father Al Lauer.)