The Pain of Ministry: Friends Who Fail You “No one stood by me, but all deserted me.”

18 Sep

Ministry is painful, in a number of ways.  John Piper recently preached about one aspect of pain in ministry from the closing words of 2 Timothy: Friends Who Fail you.

Christian ministry is relationally hard… Friends in the ministry can let you down and never care for you again.

“Paul seems to want Timothy to feel that because of how many [examples of friends who have failed or abandoned him] he dumps on him” in the text.

“Every moment of unexpected silence from a friend,

and every verbal blow from an enemy

wounds the spirit of the Christian.

And it happens a lot.”

Have you ever lived what Paul did, when Paul wrote that NO ONE stood by him?

Have you ever been abandoned or even turned against by who you thought were your friends in ministry?

How does one respond?

Piper’s thoughts:

While some friends in the ministry will let you down and never care for you again, others will care for you again. Don’t be simplistic. Don’t be unforgiving. “It is possible to love someone deeply and let them down.”


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  • This is John Piper?  –>  “It is possible to love someone deeply and let them down.”

    Wow, that’s good.  I want to write it down so that’s why I’m asking 🙂  Thanks for this.  I hadn’t thought of it as “abandoned” before, but in a way, I felt that, yes.  Not by the friends, per se, but in the area I wanted to serve.  Sort of left behind.  Disappointing.  I’ve tried to respond the way I hope God wants me to, but it’s been hard because it’s hurtful.  And I’m still confused about my role in that area, because I believe God put the desire for it in my heart.  So the confusion is … confusing 🙂  I can tell I’ve grown up a bit, though, because I’m not bitter about it.  But I am hurt, and confused.

    • Yes, that’s a quote from John Piper.

      I agree that it is painful to be told, directly or indirectly, that you are not to serve – not to use your giftings. Unfortunately, this happens a lot.