So send I you to labor unrewarded,
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown,
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing,
So send I you to toil for me alone.
As much as we might admire the courage of that hymn, we ought to question its biblical realism. To labor alone, without reward or encouragement, is more the theology of the High Plains drifter than the biblical Christian. Jesus, Paul, Titus, Timothy, Elijah, Moses, Joshua--to name a few--needed support. They found it in their common life with others of the same vision.
Yes, some callings are more lonely and difficult than others, but loneliness and futility are not the earmarks of the Holy Spirit's power through us. What makes us think we can maintain a high level of motivation all alone, when God did not design either individuals or the church for that purpose?
When launching a ministry, we do well to ask: Who supports me? Who has affirmed my gift for this ministry? Who has urged me to go in this direction? Who is willing to go with ...1