In my 35+ years of full-time ministry, I’ve at times wanted to walk away from my calling. People problems have usually turned my heart in that direction. Even today, it’s hard to watch as brothers and sisters in Christ struggle and fall. I’m not giving up on God’s people, though. Here’s why:
- God loves us, even in our sin. I know that truth sounds basic, but that’s the point. God really does love us. Completely. Christ died for us while we were sinners (Rom. 5:8).
- The apostle Paul reminds me to love God’s church. I find this example particularly in the book of 1 Corinthians. Paul began the book by thanking God for the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:1-9), ended the book by declaring his love for them (1 Cor. 16:24)—and in between, he declared them all a mess! Still, he loved them.
- I’m one of the messes. All of us are. And, I’m deeply grateful that brothers and sisters in Christ have loved me for a lot of years. I’ve learned about God’s love through the love of others.
- God’s church still includes a lot of God-fearing, Christ-honoring people. Many of us get focused on the seemingly “newsworthy” events, and we easily forget all the folks who quietly, faithfully follow God.
- It's the enemy who wants to discourage me about the church. If I give up on the Body of Christ, I begin living my Christianity on my own—and God never designed us to take this journey alone. We need the people God has given us.
No matter what happens today, don’t give up on the church. The gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18).