Reading time: two minutes When I pray for church workers, I pray for joy. From my own experience, I know that joy comes from seeing the beauty of Jesus when He shows up in my ministry. It’s a little bit like Peter leaping from the boat in John 21 when He recognized the risen Jesus standing on the shore after the Miraculous Catch (Part 2). When we witness those wonderful moments in ministry that are the “Only Jesus could do that!” moments, joy follows. I hope you have those all the time.Some of the most amazing of those moments happen when I least expect them. There are some parts of ministry life (many actually!) that I’m not very good at. There are pastoral duties that I learned to perform only through training and hard work because I am not naturally skilled or gifted in those areas. They never came easy. But sometimes (often, actually!) Jesus showed up, bearing grace and hope and peace through my humble offering of service. Visitation to our home-bound members was always a difficult challenge for me. It was physically and emotionally draining. I always needed a nap after an afternoon filled with visits. When people were blessed, it was very obviously a work of the Spirit in Word and Sacrament. What a joy to behold a faith-filled face reflecting to me the face of Christ as He Himself spoke a blessing of peace and joy through an act of service that I would have ranked as quite ordinary. I remember most vividly those times I was serving in my gifted areas. Some parts of ministry came easily and naturally for me, like falling off a log. It was so easy to prepare and serve in my wheelhouse. Naturally, those times were such a pleasure. Jesus showed up often in places I expected it. And Jesus showed up often in times and places I didn’t, because, for me, the work was so hard. It makes me wonder how many thousands of times Jesus was there hard at work, blessing, filling, renewing and strengthening His children when I didn’t notice it at all. What a shame. Isn’t that the way of the kingdom of God? I will continue to pray for you and for all workers in God’s kingdom. I’ll pray that Jesus will surprise you with those joyful experiences that come when you are at your best, doing the things you love about your ministry. I’ll pray that He surprises you once in a while too. And I pray that He will give you faith to see that in your faithful service, He is always at work. That’s something to rejoice in the Lord about. Always. Thanks for reading. Do you serve in a multiple staff setting in a church, Lutheran school, university or social service ministry? Discover how a Ministry Team Wellness Workshop can help enhance your team ministry by building the unity, spiritual life and communication essential to partnership in ministry. Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman for more information.