How can you...after I've done so much for you? I heard a statement similar to this recently. Even if we don't say it verbally, many of us have thought it, or felt it. I think those of us in the ministry may feel this way quite often. Why? Because the nature of the ministry is dealing with people. More so in some cultures than others, people are very dependent on their leaders.
For example, in our ministry here, we deal a lot of times with doctors and hospitals. People call us when they are sick, to ask if we know what is wrong with them, or to find out if they should go to a doctor, or to ask which one to go to. They might call because they need a ride to the hospital, money to pay for the bill, or help in understanding what the doctor is telling them. Of course, in the midst of all this, they want us to pray!
But what happens, when these same people, who we have prayed for, taught, discipled, preached to, agonized over, served...turn away from us or from the Lord? We might feel like saying.."How could you...??" At such times..and they will come...we need to remember...
1. They are not rejecting us. When someone we have helped, turns away from the teaching of God's Word, or leaves our church, we feel rejected personally. But, is it really us that they are rejecting? God told Samuel when the people were asking for a king..."And the LORD said to Samuel, ...they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them." I Samuel. 8:7
2. Remember who we are serving. "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." Colossians 3:23 "Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;" Ephesians 6:6 Our service involves the people that God has placed before us, but our service ultimately is for God Himself.
3. He is faithful! "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6 We second-guess ourselves. "Maybe if I had called them more often...maybe if I had shared this verse...prayed more...encouraged more...done more..." We need to be faithful to the ministry God has called us to, and leave the results up to Him. In the end, it is God's work in lives that will change them, just as His work in our lives will change us! "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also WILL DO IT!" I Thessalonians 5:24