Weeping While We Work

When you are part of a church for any length of time, you inevitably experience the ups and downs of church life. I attended the same church for two decades and saw leadership change many times over, membership rise and fall, and the life of the church thrive in some seasons and shrivel in others. In the midst of all the changes, there were times when it was hard to keep pushing forward and to continue in my labors for the church. There were many disappointments, sorrows, and griefs to endure. At times, it was tempting to give up all together.

Whether we are called to full-time work in the church or serve as a lay-person participating in the life of church ministry, our labor is hard. There are battles we face from within and without. The work is exhausting and unending. We deal with the “shoulds” of how things ought to be, were meant to be, and wonder if our labors are even worth it.

Working to Build

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah tell us about what happened with God’s people when they returned home after decades in captivity. A new ruler took over the empire and decreed that the Israelites could return to their homeland. While not everyone returned, many did.

Ezra 3 tells us that after their return, the Israelites went about rebuilding the altar to make sacrifices to the Lord. Then they began the work of rebuilding the temple. When King Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem, he burned down the temple Solomon had...

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