July 9, 2018

Pushing Against the Rock

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I recently came across a fictional story, written by an unknown author, that encouraged me to “keep on keeping on” with the ministry calling God has given me.

I hope this story encourages your heart as it did mine.

There was a man who was asleep one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light from the presence of God.  The Lord told the man He had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. He explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might — which he did, day after day.

For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, pushing with all his might against this massive, unmoving rock. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.

Seeing that the man was getting discouraged, Satan decided to pour salt in the wound by saying to him, “After all these years, and despite your best efforts, the rock hasn’t budged. Why keep torture yourself like this? You’re never going to move it.”

These thoughts disheartened the man even more. “Why am I killing myself over this?” he thought. “I’ll just put in my time, give minimal effort and that will be good enough.” But in his wrestling, he decided to make this a matter of prayer.

“Lord” he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do what you have asked.  Yet, after all this time, I haven’t even budged the rock a half a millimeter. What am I doing wrong? Why am I failing?”

The Lord compassionately responded, “My friend, when long ago I called you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your might, which you have done. Never once did I mention that I expected you to move it.

Your task was to simply push. And now you come to me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But is that really true?

Look at yourself. Your arms are strong, your back muscled, your hands calloused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and rock hard.

Through opposition and resistance, you have grown much in strength, stamina and ability. You may not have moved the rock, but remember this: Your calling was to obediently push against the rock, to exercise your faith and trust in my wisdom. This you have done well, my friend. So I will now move the rock for you.”

God calls us to be faithfully obedient to Him, whether we see great results or not.

It was Oswald Chambers who asked, “Can we continue to do our duty even when God has shut up heaven?” In other words, “Will we remain faithful, even when we see little fruit?” That is a true test of our character and our faith.

As ministry leaders, let us stay faithful to the task God has called us to and “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  (Galatians 6:9)

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