“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” (James 3:1)
Do you aspire to be a leader or teacher in the church? Count the cost. God will hold you accountable for those you teach, and especially for what you teach them. You will also encounter trials and challenges like never before. Your hopes and expectations will frequently come crashing to the ground. You will want to give up.
This is not a negative confession. It is fact. Jesus told His disciples at the Last Supper, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.” (John 15:20-21)
And it all seems so unfair. Jeremiah spoke to the Lord about this (from today’s Old Testament reading, Jeremiah 12:1-16).
Jeremiah: “Righteous are You, O Lord, when I plead with You; yet let me talk with You about Your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously?” (v. 1)
The Lord: “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?” (v. 5)
The Lord’s response doesn’t seem filled with sympathy, does it? He says, in essence, “you haven’t seen anything yet. If these small challenges wear you out, what will happen to you when your path becomes really difficult and treacherous?” In fact God goes on to “complain” that His heritage – His people to whom He has given so much – have forsaken Him. The parallels to Jesus’ experience are unmistakable.
Yet He promises to restore and bless all those who are faithful. He will not cease working in them and through them … and He will not cease in you – if you do not give up seeking His face and His will, and then doing it!