Ministers, are you ever discouraged by the feeling that you’ll never see your goals achieved? Welcome to the club.

19th century Irish missionary, Robert Bruce spent ten years among Muslims in India before beginning his life’s work in Iran. The labor was difficult and filled with frustration. Yet, Bruce’s attitude was filled with a long-view of God’s mission rather than a short-view of his own. Listen to Bruce describe his endeavors in his own words:

I am not reaping the harvest; I scarcely claim to be sowing the seed; I am hardly ploughing the soil; but I am gathering out the stones. That, too, is missionary work; let it be supported by loving sympathy and fervent prayer.”

Bruce was determined to look at his ministry as part of God’s work in Iran rather than the entirety of the work. That’s a great reminder for all of us. And it is encouraging because it helps us remember that the weight of God’s mission does not rest fully upon us. Christ carries that weight. We are simply called to be faithful in the role he has given us.

Bruce’s words remind me of Paul’s in I Corinthians 3:6: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”

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