"I am tired, but happy!" These words come from a man I greatly respect. Ricardo is a church planting movement leader in the country of Brazil. God is using him to build a network of churches and leaders that are identifying, equipping, and launching church planters. Last year he had an idea for a church planting conference. Over 160 Brazilian pastors and church planters came. This year 250 leaders gathered for the event.
Ricardo and his team have been working very hard. For two weeks he has been running on four hours of sleep per night. When I sat down across from him in his office and asked, "How are you?" A smile flashed across his face and the heartfelt words came out, "Tommy, I am tired, but happy!"
My friend expressed what God's servants find when they lean on the Lord. Joy! It is the paradox of Christian service. Arduous work is met with an overflowing joy. Nehemiah conveyed this when he said, "The joy of the LORD is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10) Paul experienced this paradox in his own way. He writes about it in his letter to the Corinthians.
Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. (2 Corinthians 7:2-4 ESV)
I am writing from a hotel in Villavicencio, Colombia. We arrived last evening on the heels of full days and late nights working with church-planting partners in Brazil. Yesterday was “par for the course.” Our twelve hours of travel included a bus ride, jetting from Brazil to Bogotá, followed by a very long trip over winding roads in a cramped car. About 8:30 we sat down to a meal with our ministry partners here. We were tired but happy!
My Prayer: Are you living with full day and busy nights? Is your service for Christ sapping your strength? May God give you that tired but happy joy!