I read an encouraging quote this morning for us as we fulfill our roles as minsters of the gospel, teachers, effecting an impact on coming generations:

“A good teacher is like a candle: it consumes itself to light the way for others.” Atuke

Charles Spurgeon said something similar, “It is our duty and our privilege to exhaust our lives for Jesus. We are not to be living specimens of men in fine preservation, but living sacrifices, whose lot is to be consumed.”

We are reminded of what our precious Savior Jesus taught us.  He is our Master Teacher, the One whom we follow, the One whom we desire to be conformed to.  He is the One who we owe our allegiance to in times of great fruit and in times when it seems like the vines are empty.  When we forget who we follow, we start to wander down lonely paths that lead to discouragement and discontent.

After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me `Teacher’ and `Lord,’ and you are right, because it is true.  And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.  I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 How true it is that a servant is not greater than the master. Nor are messengers more important than the one who sends them.  You know these things—now do them! That is the path of blessing. John 13:12-17 (NLT)

The road Jesus traveled was not an easy one.  I don’t know why we think it was at times. Or if we don’t think Jesus had an easy road we can look around at some of our friends or family and think, “they have it so much easier than I do”.  That’s the downside of Instagram and Facebook. Folks rarely post their difficult times. I haven’t seen a picture of a wife walking out on her husband nor have I seen a church post a picture of their empty sanctuary wondering where are all the people?  There aren’t many chronicling their difficulties and posting the pictures along the way.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NLT)

It’s easy for us to think as we read the Scriptures, that life was different for Jesus and His followers. Different in that it was easier than the life and the struggles we currently face. But it wasn’t easy at all. It was hard. It was difficult. It was challenging in every sense of that word.  He was met with the sick, the dying, the difficult, and the hurting almost every moment of every day for three years straight.  He experienced difficulties with those closest to Him. Jesus was lied about. Men plotted His death. They even hired people to lie about Jesus and slander His perfect name. He was abandoned. He was betrayed.

It could be today, as you’re reading this, the road you’re traveling on is not easy, but hard and difficult.  You may even be wondering if you’re making the kind of difference you thought you would.  You are, even if you don’t feel like it.  Feelings are very real, but are not the best truth tellers.

Consider Jesus today. Know that while outwardly there wasn’t much to materially desire from the life of Jesus and His disciples. Following Jesus didn’t bring a large salary, or retirement, or any of the comforts we long for today. The commitment to discipleship included losing everything. They were homeless, despised, mistreated, eventually plotted against, murdered, and martyred. Jesus and His followers accomplished the will of the Father for their lives and today we are followers ourselves because of their faithfulness.

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul? For I, the Son of Man, will come in the glory of my Father with his angels and will judge all people according to their deeds. And I assure you that some of you standing here right now will not die before you see me, the Son of Man, coming in my Kingdom.” Matt 16:24-28 (NLT)

Look to Him today my tired friend. Rest in His calling upon your life. Live for His pleasure and know, without allowing a doubt to displace it, that you are making a difference for eternity.

So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters. Gal 6:9-10 (NLT)