what difference does it make?
"With the strength which comes from God bear your share of the hardship which the gospel entails." —2 Timothy 1:8
Many of you have laid down your lives in the service of God's people. Priests, religious sisters, and religious brothers have given up money, careers, independence, marriage, and sexual relations in answer to God's call. Married couples have made supreme sacrifices for spouses and children. Those single for the Lord have fought the devil's temptations and our society's pressures, and have been pure as Jesus is pure (1 Jn 3:3).
Yet after years of self-sacrificing commitments, you look at the Church, your family, and your life and wonder if it was worth it (Is 49:4). Loud and clear, God's word to you is: "It is worth it." Growth in God's kingdom is often not immediately noticeable (Mk 4:27). Even the growth we do see begins small, like a mustard seed (Mk 4:31). Nonetheless, God is working.
"For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God bestowed when my hands were laid on you" (2 Tm 1:6). "Stay with this task whether convenient or inconvenient — correcting, reproving, appealing — constantly teaching and never losing patience" (2 Tm 4:2). "Do not, then, surrender your confidence; it will have great reward. You need patience to do God's will and receive what He has promised" (Heb 10:35-36).
Prayer: Father, replace my regrets with joyful hopes.
Promise: "I thank God, the God of my forefathers Whom I worship with a clear conscience, whenever I remember you in my prayers — as indeed I do constantly, night and day." —2 Tm 1:3
Praise: "Thanks be to God, Who has put an equal zeal for you in the heart of Titus!" (2 Cor 8:16)
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Hold Fast to the Faith on audio AV 71-1 or video V-71.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 30, 2007
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