"How's work?" I'm asked.
"Every ten days I want to quit." I've given this answer a few times in recent months. Am I really going to turn in my keys? Probably not . . . but maybe.
Anything of significance is worth sacrificing for. And anything worth sacrificing for will leave you with a "tenth day." Nine days can be good, even great. But about every tenth we are sobered by harsh reality.
As a pastor, I hold the hands of widows at the graveside of their husbands. I'm called when a problem has spiraled into a crisis. I point people to "the one thing needful" when they're frantically over-committed and don't have time for it. I love people who don't want to be loved. I lead people who sometimes don't want to be led.
So, yeah. Every ten days I ask, "Can I do this?"
"Am I any good?"
"Am I making a difference?"
"Am I a failure?"
"Is this worth it?"
In 1880, Friedrich Zundel wrote a landmark biography on a German pastor named Johann Christoph Blumhardt. In following Blumhardt through the ups and downs of life and ministry, Zundel distilled some key words of advice.
I read these words when I hit my "tenth day," and I believe they are applicable for more than just pastors.
When behind you, you see nothing but failures. When before you, you see nothing but trouble . . .
1.) Do what is at hand to do. Consider each single day to be your appointed task. Leave to God the care of the future.
2.) Don't desire to harvest. You are only a sower.
3.) If you can be comfort and strength to even one single person, then even fifty years of no success have not been in vain.
4.) It is no help to a struggling person for you to be annoyed with him or her. What he or she needs is seeking love.
5.) Even for Paul, the "thorn in the flesh" remained. His grace is sufficient . . .
6). Christ can fight his battles even with broken swords.
7.) It is not ability but faithfulness that counts (I Cor. 4:2). "He dared to believe his way through the deepest gloom."
I pray God gives you vision to see His work on your "tenth days." His strength in your weakness. His courage in your fear. His victory in your failure.