Jesse Itzler, who wrote the NBA song, “I love this game” talks about a conversation he had with uber-successful entrepreneur Lewis Katz. Jesse was complaining about the process he had to go through to get his demo tapes of songs out to radio stations and to producers and Katz said: “Jesse, this is what you signed up for.”
I don’t know about you but I sometimes need to be reminded of that.
If there are elders who are imperfect and sometimes see things differently than I do, I signed up for this. Members who do not like my approach, preaching, work, habits, hair, I signed up for this. Not making as much money as my peers who work less hours, I signed up for this. Not enough hours to get everything done, yet members who believe we only work one day a week, I signed up for this. Striving to keep unity in a local church in a culture that maximizes division over the slightest difference, I signed up for this. The relentless occurrence of Sundays, I signed up for this. The struggle to rightly divide the Word and to declare the whole Counsel of God, I signed up for this. People have misquoted me and impugned my motives, I signed up for this. And when they do any of the above I am just beginning to identify with my Lord and should feel honored for that opportunity (Acts 5:41).
Let me be clear, we all hurt and get hurt at times and at times need to vent. In fact, feel free to vent to us anytime you need to, BUT my caution here is: don’t let your mourning turn to moaning. And, we’d do better in the long run, and do more eternal good, and stay in this “field of work” longer if we determine not to be shocked or overreact to mean people, evil people, or even opposing people, even if they are brethren. This won’t stop the pain, but it will shorten the bleeding.
“For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:20-21).