“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
I read this today and it hit me. The last thing Jesus says in the book of Matthew is one of the most important things we need to recall to thrive in ministry today: “I am with you.”
These words are certainly some of the most emotionally powerful words to be spoken. They indicate connection, belonging, faithfulness, partnership, and tender intimacy that every human heart longs for! A heart could burst with joy at the sound of these words spoken by the right person at the right time.
And here is Jesus saying this with all sincerity and in post resurrection authority to the men and women who will now carry on his dream. Wow! Can you imagine standing there hearing him say that…his words falling on your intently listening ears and sinking into your hungry heart. “I am with you.”
After several months of emotionally challenging ministry and family life I have begun to wonder at what creates and maintains resilience in the heart of a pastor. What dynamics and ingredients allow us to “stay in the game” when our lives get thin and our hearts are stretched?
My answers are probably similar to yours. My best friend in ministry is my wise, long-suffering, and dedicated wife. I am blessed with friends who press in when life gets hard, offering kindness and sympathy when needed. I have a wonderful team of gifted and considerate staff members who are growing with me and serving Jesus wholeheartedly.
At the end of the day all these people I am connected to are echoing the words of Jesus in Matthew 28. They are saying in many different ways and with different words “we are with you…just like He is with you.”
There is a sacred work we can do with one another in response to these words of Jesus.
- We have the beautiful opportunity to challenge each other to continually re-hear these words of Jesus in our quiet times with Him. Soaking up the truths of the gospel is a continual place where resilience is cultivated.
- We can powerfully encourage each other in the same spirit as Jesus did by simply being with each other in the chaos and challenge of our calling. Who are you appointed to “be with?” Who stands beside you?
The powerful presence of Jesus being WITH ME is a much greater source of strength and life than any wise counsel or instructive teaching. To endure and remain as a voice of courage and compassion I must make the space to hear His words and allow them to become the sure foundation in my heart.
He was with the disciples on that auspicious day that Matthew recounts for us. He has walked with the many men and women who have championed His causes on every continent of the globe. Surely today He is closer than your own skin as you lead, love, and build His church!
Today I pray that your ears would hear again the words that endure. May they sink into your heart and bring you comfort, peace, and strength.
“I am with you.”