Monday, May 04, 2009

The Reward Of Ministry

Hello All,

Sunday mornings are a bit unique for me as a Pastor. In the congregation that I currently serve, Sunday mornings for me, is drumming, serving Kingsfield Church as the foundation of the worship band. I'm a drumming Pastor! Sometimes, I walk off the stage and walk through the sanctuary and only relate to people based on my drumming. Most of the comments are complimentary (naturally! :), and we celebrate the nature of the music, which is always fun. However, as great as it is to be well thought of as a drummer, it is better to have what happened yesterday.

After coming off of the stage and another "scintillating" set, (said with my tongue firmly in my cheek, as this drummer dropped not one, but two sticks in the same section of one of the last songs of the morning!) I saw a group of people that were waiting to talk with me. I knew that this group of people was not interested in talking with me about the drums.

The first couple is a couple that I spent a half dozen weeks with last year in pre-marital counseling. As with most of my couples, we formed a bond over the process, and it has been a joy to see them walking in as a married couple. They stood in front of me, hardly able to contain themselves, as they announced that they were now pregnant, due to deliver in December! It was great to celebrate that moment with them and because they were so great to counsel, I made up the concept of "Pre-Infant Counseling!"

After talking with them, the next couple in that group came up to thank me. Just last week, this couple was in a major life dilemma, the man, facing his own mortality. I had been advised of his condition and agreed to see him in the hospital. Of course, at that moment, I had assumed that he was at a nearby hospital, at least within Orange County. When I realized who this was, I also realized that he actually lived in Riverside County, which wasn't bad, but still required a trip on the dreaded 91 freeway! Still, not that bad. Then I called the couple, just to get room information and schedule a time to come and see them. It was a this point that I was told that he was being transferred...TO FONTANA! Fontana is in San Bernardino County! I had already promised and with his condition being so dire, I knew than an "over the phone" blessing was out of order.

I made it to Fontana (known to the locals as "Fontucky!) just in time to pray for this brother before he went in for the procedure that would determine whether or not he had a heart attack or an infection near the heart. He was scared at the prospects, as is natural, and staring down the tunnel of mortality that no man at age 35, believes that he will see. We prayed together and then I prayed with his wife and daughter. About 45 minutes later, I was called and told that the doctors had discovered and confirmed that this was an infection and that it should reverse itself with the proper medications.

Of course, at that time, I did not expect to see these two together for a few weeks, but here they were! He looked strong and was so thankful that I had come to pray with him. He didn't know that I was the one that was thankful for the experience.

After catching up with these two, I ran across another couple that I counseled pre-maritally last year. (Last year, I had 5 couples, not many by former Redlands standards, but still enough for me.) I got to do the ceremony for this couple and I admit that there is great deal of love that I have for them. On the one hand, they are living out a wonderful, godly marriage. On the other hand, the husband is a brand new Christian with a sordid past, but a wonderful future. He and I have been meeting together weekly for discipleship. I am blessed by his questions and the zeal that he has for the Word of God. Each week, he challenges me with the latest barrage of questions. The answers might be a blessing to him, but the questions are the blessing to me!

Finally, I got to the back of the Sanctuary and met with yet another woman who I had visited in the hospital the week prior. Unfortunately, her condition has not vastly improved and her family's situation is a very difficult one. She updated me on things and I was again able to pray for her, with this young man that I have been discipling, laying hands alongside of me. I know that it seems weird to those who do not do this type of work, but I believe that anybody can relate to seeing someone take on the same practices that you find so valuable, negative practices excluded of course!

This process took up most of the time that fellowship usually happens at our church, but this was enough. Ministry, like any other position in life, has it's ups and downs. Often, the "downs" take precedence in our minds and most of our energy is focused there. However, it's true that when these "ups" happen, it makes all the "downs" worth every second. To have any of these moments, there must be necessary, reciprocal expenditure into investing relationship. I am grateful to have been spent for this cause, the cause of Christ being honored and glorified in the lives of individuals who now carry the same passion for Him that I do.

For those in ministry, let me remind you that this is your joy and crown. Your investment, even if you do not see it manifest in this way, is seen by the Lord, who will reward you. Be encouraged. It's worth every moment.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

3 comments:

unfailingwords said...

Frank,

I enjoyed this post. It brought back some memories personally. Your definitely right about the blessings of ministry. As someone who has had to go back to secular employment, I'm grateful for a job, but I look back on full time ministry with fond memories.

I miss having my hands full of ministry -- studying, preaching, counseling, discipling, constant prayer meetings and fellowship. All of it. Glorious!

I'm so glad for you to be in the thick of things, laboring and being spent for the sake of Christ. What a blessing and an honor for you! Enjoy it! I rejoice with you bro!

The U-Man said...

So awesome to know that God communicates grace through us!

The Thompson Family said...

good stuff..
hey have you thought of any more questions or needing any more info?