On the west side of our house lies a whole row of rose bushes which my wife has planted. When blooming, the look of the red flowers against the white wall of our house is dazzling. When you approach the roses to smell them, the fragrance is pleasant. But, should you lay hold of the stem, watch out, you may be cut by the many thorns.
I have found ministry to be much like these rose bushes. There are times when the ministry is strikingly beautiful. When the Lord is clearly working in the lives of His people, it is stunning. And when the church is walking in unity and love and humility, it is pleasant for all around, especially for pastors, who get to enjoy the blessings that come. “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).
But, that’s not to say it is always this way. Whenever you live closely with others, sparks are sure to fly. Members sin against each other and tensions come among the believers. In Philippians 4:2 Paul urged two church members to get along, because they were not united. Darts are often directed toward the leaders of the church. And they can be painful, like the thorns of the rose bush.
But, overall, I’m thankful that the joy has been much and the thorns have been few.