Editorial

Look for the blessings

When we are facing challenges, we must look for blessings, for if we don't, those challenges will overtake us.

Nikolaus Satelmajer is the Editor of Ministry.

Some days we feel as though challenges face us every moment. That whatever we touch, do, plan, or say presents another challenge. Sometimes it’s true both for personal and ministerial responsibilities. What do you do on such a day?

“Look for the blessings,” one of my good friends said to me recently. As he spoke those words, I listened to him respectfully, not only because he has lived more than 90 years or because we have been good friends for many years but because he has been a capable minister during his years of service.

When to look for the blessings

When we are facing challenges, we must look for blessings, for if we don’t, those challenges will overtake us. In fact, we should focus on blessings at all times. Blessings come from God who knows our needs, capabilities, and future.

Look for blessings when the situation seems hopeless, such as what the Israelites experienced when they were slaves in Egypt. However, in the midst of their hopelessness, they celebrated the Passover. The Passover was much more than a ritual; it was God’s way of blessing them in the midst of a crisis. (I invite you to read our lead article by L. S. Baker Jr., for an insightful interpretation of the Passover experience.)

We are two-thirds of the way through 2009, and perhaps you are tempted to dwell on all the reasons that exist to be discouraged. Focusing on the blessings will provide hope for our lives and call to ministry.

Where to look for the blessings

Where do we find these blessings? Although we do not always see it, one of the sources includes the churches in which we serve. Every minister faces challenges; yet we all can testify that there are members in our congregations who go out of their way to bring blessings to us. I recall, in one of my churches, an older woman who went out of her way to always speak a word of encouragement. Perhaps her many years of living close to the Lord brought assurance to her own life, and she wanted to share God’s blessings with me. I looked forward to hearing her words of encouragement.

There are also people in our communities who bring blessings to us. I recall a man in our New York City area neighborhood who never joined or even attended our church as far as I can remember. However, when he passed by the church, he would stop and speak words of encouragement to me. He thanked me for the ministry that the church was providing to the community. Now, years later, in my mind I can still see his face and cherish those words of encouragement.

Often neglected sources of blessings in our lives are our families and friends. Perhaps we just expect them to speak words of encouragement and fail to pause long enough to realize that they live as a source of blessing to us. Listen to their words as they speak to you.

God, the One whom we worship, the One who has called us to ministry, is the ultimate Source of blessing. Let’s face it. There are times when God is the only Source of blessing in our lives. The day I wrote this editorial, I read a story about a clergyman whose denomination and local congregation have been experiencing great difficulty. I empathized as I read the challenges they are facing—for all of us have faced challenges in our ministry. The challenges he faces seem insurmountable, and it will be hard for him to find blessings other than from God Himself. To him and to all, I remind us of the words of Proverbs 10:6, “Blessings crown the head of the righteous” (NIV). That kind of blessing comes from God alone.

“Look for the blessings,” says my friend. Sometimes they are hard to find. I am one of those individuals who can go to a store to find a certain food item and walk up and down the aisles looking for it, but I just can’t find it. At times I have stood at the very area that the product should be and actually is, but I still don’t see it. I’m tempted to look somewhere else even though I know I’m standing where the product should be. If I stay where I belong, I will find the product. If I look to God for the blessings in my life, I will find them.

Look for the blessings, and you will find them.

Advertisement - Ministry in Motion 300x250

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus
Nikolaus Satelmajer is the Editor of Ministry.

September 2009

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Covered with blood: A better understanding of Exodus 12:7

Egyptian archaeology provides a clear understanding of the events surrounding the Israelite slaves' final night in Egypt-one that delivers a powerful lesson about salvation by faith alone. Have you ever wondered why God asked the children of Israel to paint blood on the lintel and two doorposts of the door to their houses prior to the tenth plague (Exod. 12:7)? Sure, you answer, it was to serve as a sign for the angel of death to pass over their houses (Exod. 12:13). That's true. But why the doorposts? Since no one is kept out of a dwelling by doorposts, why not paint something like a big cross on the door itself? Egyptian archaeology provides an answer; one that can teach us a powerful lesson about salvation by faith alone.

Evangelism's big picture: From baptism to discipleship

Any approach to evangelism that focuses primarily on the number of people baptized misses the mark.

Pastoral care of veterans and their families

With the increase of military activity worldwide comes an increase in the need to minister to veterans. What are their needs? And how can ministers address them?

Ten things to be learned in pastoral ministry

Twenty-five years of ministerial experience condensed into ten statements worth remembering.

A closer look at Christian leadership coaching

Mentoring is a process that ministers need throughout their lifetimes, and is also something they can provide to others who have also been serving for many years.

The strength of the covenant

The beauty of God's contract with humans lies in its inclusive nature, its acceptance of all people.

Forgiveness: A part of the journey to healing

A practical discussion on the why, when, and how of letting go of a painful past.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Trending

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - Digital Discipleship (160x600)