Ministry is a marathon: it’s not how you start in ministry; it’s how you finish.
If you look at 2 Corinthians 4:1-18, Paul gives seven suggestions for finishing the race:
Remember God’s mercy (v. 1): God has given us our ministries. We don’t have to prove our worth through our ministry, and we don’t have to wallow in our mistakes. You don’t have to earn your place as a pastor or leader in the church.
Be truthful and honest in all you do (v. 2): Maintain your integrity because integrity produces power in your life, while guilt zaps your energy. You need to finish with your character intact. Your integrity includes how you handle the Word of God. Don’t distort it or make it confusing.
Be motivated to work for Jesus’ sake, not out of selfish desires (v. 5): We need a right motivation. A lot of guys start off as servants and end up celebrities. You need to learn to live your life for an audience of one, and that one is Jesus Christ.
Realize that Christians are only human (v. 7): We must accept our limitations, and the quickest way to burn out is to try to be Superman. Humility is being honest about your weaknesses.
Develop a true love for others (v. 15): Churches thrive, grow, and survive when love endures. You must love people or you won’t last in the ministry.
Allow time for inward rejuvenation (v. 16): I have a motto – Divert daily, withdraw weekly, and abandon annually. You need to take time for recharging. In the Air Force, they’ve mastered the art of mid-flight refueling. You can, too – you don’t have to land every time you need to refuel.
Stay focused on the important things, not distracted by momentary troubles (v. 17-18): Keep your eyes on the goal, not the problem. Only he who sees the invisible can accomplish the impossible. To be a winner in the marathon of ministerial service, Christians need to realize great people are just ordinary people with an extraordinary amount of determination. If we run from problems, we’ll never be able to become what God wants us to become.
The world needs you to last in ministry! God wired you and called you to the task, and you can do it in his power and under his grace.