Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Five Fold Ministry Paper

I just wanted to let everyone into my little world lately.  This is a paper for my Bible College class.  This is not the version I handed in, though.  This is the long version.  I am going to clean it up and hand it in as well just for the fun of it.

I am really only posting it for the stories.  See, I didn't have the directions for this report so I worked like crazy and got this one going.  I was really excited about it.  Then I got the directions and Andrea lovingly pointed out that I was supposed to do a three page summary.  OOOOOOOOPS!

Anyway, this version is a blending of the real report and the original.  Like I said, the stories at the beginning are what I posted it for.


Upon receiving this topic I did what anyone in my position would do.  First, I went to the library.  My wife is very handy to have around as she is very comfortable in the library.  We searched together for books that would guide me through writing this report.  Unfortunately, we came up empty handed.  Next, I had an epiphany.  I would go to the local Christian book store.  Surely one would find a great amount of resources pertaining to the five fold ministry in a Christian book store, right?  I mean, the job and soul desire of a Christian book store is to provide resources to build up the church…  Or so I thought.  As I walked in to hear the Christmas music, and look at all the inspirational pictures and knickknacks, I knew I had to ask one of the very knowledgeable staff for help.


“Do you have any books about the five fold ministry”, I asked.


“The what”, was the reply from the lady behind the counter?


“The five fold ministry”, I said.


“What is that?  Is that like the emergent church, or something?”

“No, the five fold ministry is not the emergent church.  It is the order established by God for the church.  It can be found in Ephesians 4:11-12”, I said.


The lady looked very confused now.  “Do you mean the gifts of the spirit?  Love, joy, peace, and that stuff, if you are looking for that…”


I interrupted here.  “No, the five fold ministry is not the gifts of the spirit, though those who walk in one of the offices of the five fold ministry should possess the fruit of the spirit.  I am talking about Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers.”

A light went on, and then faded quickly.  The lady was confused now.  Finally, I think she had an idea that could end this conversation in which I feel she was getting frustrated with.  “You might want to try looking in our pastors’ resource section.  It is the last bookshelf down that aisle.”

Finally we are getting somewhere.  I thanked the lady and happily proceeded down the aisle.  I walked past hundreds of self help books.  How to be your best you, your thinnest you, a better husband, a better wife, a better child, a better parent, how to books about nearly everything filled my eyes as I walked.  I made it to the place the lady directed me.  It was the pastors’ resource section.  Surely I would find a ton of gold here.  Not just what I was looking for, books about the five fold ministry, but I was sure to find books that would really mold me in to the man God wants me to be.  As I looked I was giddy with anticipation.

I could go on here to write a completely different paper, but I won’t.  Let’s just say the big bible book store had very little in the way of pastors’ resources.  Well, maybe a smaller book store is where the pastor shops.  I nearly knocked down a shelf of Joel Osteen book as I ran out of the store.  I hopped in my minivan and drove to a smaller book store where I was sure to find what I needed.  I made it to the smaller book store and walked in.

“Do you have any books on the five fold ministry?  I went to another book store and they didn’t even know what I was talking about.  I was hoping that you might have something that would help me write a paper on the subject”, I said to the wise looking older man behind the counter.

“Of course they didn’t have anything there, they are full of self help books”, he said.  I knew I could relate to this guy.

We sat and talked for a minute about my visit.  I told him how amazed I was to find so little in the pastor’s resources.  He understood my dilemma very well.

“A lot of people come here looking for things they should be able to find in a big book store.  Some people tell me they found more at Borders about Christianity than they do at that type of store, but that doesn’t help your problem.  What do you need again?”

“I am looking for a book about the five fold ministry”, I replied.

The man looked a little disgruntled now.  I thought this guy was my buddy.  We just shared a laugh together.  I could tell that his reply wasn’t going to be what I need to hear.  “We do not have any books on the five fold ministry.  That went out with the first century church.  There is no need for anything more than pastors.”

“Well, then what about evangelists?  Are you saying there is no need for them?  If so, it would wipe out nearly fifty years of ministry through Billy Graham.”  I can’t believe I just said that.

“Billy Graham may be an exception, but the popes’ of old are proof there is no more need for apostles, and I do not see God needing prophets either.  Pastors and teachers are the same thing, so God Himself has disbanded the five fold ministry.  Why would you have to do a report on that anyway?” 

“Well, I have to do a report on it because my teacher asked me to”, was the only reply I could give.  I wanted to stay and debate with him, but I had burned up my lunch hour.

What is it?

As you can see, I had a hard time finding resources for this topic.  It is obvious that this topic is not often discussed in the church.  I find this odd.  It seems very natural to me to have a five fold ministry covering since our church is a part of one.  I can point to several apostolic leaders who I know.  I have seen both the gift of prophesy and true prophets.  I know, and have worked with evangelists such as Steve Fatow.  Obviously pastors are around, and I also know of teachers who are not pastors.  Why then would I have such a hard time finding resources?

Well, I don’t really have an answer to the question of why I have a hard time, but I do not have to look as far as I thought to find solid information on the topic.  Our church is, as I mentioned, part of an apostolic network known as Master Builders.  It is from here that I know these people walking in these offices, and it is from these people I find my understanding of the five fold ministry.

Within Master Builders you have solid examples of five fold ministry leaders.  Pete Beck and Neil Silverberg are good examples of apostles.  They oversee a network of churches that spread across north and central America.  My own pastor, Mike Osminski, could be classified as three to four of the offices of the five fold ministry.  He walks as a pastor; he has apostolic oversight of the Michigan region; he is an excellent teacher; and I believe he also embodies the prophet.  Steve Fatow is a true evangelist.  There are obviously many pastors in the network.  The late Jim Murphy and his wife Carolyn are two of the best teachers I know.  It is from the book by Jim Murphy, “An International Minister’s Manual” that I will turn to for knowledge.

Who Are These Guys

Before moving into the next chapter of the report, I want to clarify briefly what each office is.  In order to do this, I need to reference the main passage of scripture where the five fold ministry is found.

Ephesians 4:11-12

11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up

As you can see through this passage, God set this order so that the church can grow.

1.      Apostle-A messenger or an ambassador.

2.      Prophet-A person who speaks by divine inspiration or as the interpreter through whom the will of a god is expressed.

3.      Evangelist-The evangelist in some churches is one that travels from town to town and from church to church, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

4.      Pastor-A pastor is an elder of a Christian church. The word itself is derived from the Latin word pastor which means shepherd. Pastor, shepherd and elder are the same, but are not synonymous with preacher or minister.

5.      Teacher-One who teaches or educates.

Apostle-Greek (one sent forth)-noun-A missionary or leader of a mission, especially one in the early Christian church (www.merriam-webster.com/)

As mentioned earlier, the apostle is somewhat of an enigma in the church today.  For networks and denominations that do not look at this passage of scripture as “for today” it is very hard to understand the office of the apostle.  I am not sure I understand how they can feel that this or any portion of the five fold ministry is not for today, especially since the church has historically been founded by apostolic work.  We can see this from Paul down to our present day.  Evidence of present apostolic work can be found in the Baptist church.  In each town you will find a “First Baptist Church”, and if the town is large enough you will find a second or third.  This is not because the church split, it is because the Baptists worked apostolically. 

The heart of an apostle is to see the work of the Gospel spread through every area.  They will often work in several capacities such as evangelist and pastor as they work to see this goal accomplished, but the apostle does something unique.  I believe the heart of the apostle is very similar to the heart of Jesus in many respects toward the church.  Jesus is coming for a bride without spot or wrinkle, and the apostle understands this.  The heart of the apostle is to establish, nurture, and guide the bride as she grows.

Prophet-Greek (one who speaks for God)-noun-A person who speaks by divine inspiration (www.merriam-webster.com/)

A prophet is a person appointed by God to speak His word to His people.  Often in the Bible God uses a person to carry His word to His people.  Some of the prophets of the Old Testament were used to tell His word to others, and others, like Hosea, were used to demonstrate in a visual way that which God wanted His people to know.

A prophet typically can share a word through two major ways.  One way the word can come forth is in the moment.  God will urge someone to bring forth a message to a person or a group of people right in the moment.  Another way this can happen is in a word of the season method.  In this method, the Lord shares portions of a word over time and that word is shared as it comes to its fullness.

A prophet is concerned primarily with the truth or the issues God has in mind at a given time.  A prophet is less concerned with the people than he is in the truth.  That being said, a prophetic word given by a prophet can usually take on several forms:

·         Exhortation-to motivate and renew the spirit of the hearer

·         Edification-to build up the hearer

·         Comfort-to comfort the hearer

·         Predictive-to tell the future

·         Directive-to guide the hearer through decisions or actions

·         Rebuke-to point out sin and cause repentance


            In Hebrew the word is “navi”, which is defined as a “proclaimer.”  As seen above, Prophets of God are mentioned as far back as Genesis, but I think the Lord Himself describes them best in the following passage:

“I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brothers, one like you, and will put My words in His mouth. And He shall speak to them all that I shall command Him.” Deuteronomy 18:18

Evangelist-Greek (bringer of Good news)-noun-A person marked with extreme enthusiasm or support for any cause (www.merriam-webster.com/)

The Evangelist is possibly one of the few of the five recognized in modern times as an office of ministry.  The true evangelist has a heart that beats only for the lost.  Their desire is to share the Gospel with as many people as possible in their life.  As with the apostle, the evangelist wants to go to un-reached areas of the world.  Unlike the apostle, however, the evangelist is only interested in seeing lies transformed.  To the evangelist building the church is not their goal.

Something that is common among evangelists throughout history is the evidence of miracles.  Signs and wonders will often accompany the call to salvation.  The evangelist will often see God move when they are among the lost.  The signs and wonders that accompany the word of an evangelist are amazing.  They can range from small healings of arthritis to literally raising the dead.  Though they can be found in the ministries of both the apostle and the prophet, and throughout history they have been evident, I believe signs and wonders following evangelistic ministry is much more common.

Pastor-Latin (a person who tends sheep, a shepherd)-noun-A spiritual overseer, especially a clergyman serving a local parish (www.merriam-webster.com/)

The Pastor is possibly the only other of the five fold ministry to be accepted in modern times.  The Pastor is the person who oversees a local congregation.  The pastor is a mixed breed among the groups of the five fold ministry.  The pastor has a heart for everyone.  At times the pastor will almost appear to be an evangelist; bent on reaching every lost person in his community, but then they are also shepherds of a flock.  The pastor can be found in outreaches, the pulpit, and in the counseling office.

The heart of a pastor is very similar to the heart of the Father in that the pastor is there to encourage, teach, guide, preach, and reach both the lost and the found.  Like a father the pastor is concerned with providing for his family.  This is evidenced in the speaking and weekly teaching of his congregation.  Counseling and discipline are also traits that the pastor shares with the Father.  Like our Father, the pastor will look for those who have gone astray.

Teacher-noun-one that teaches, especially, on whose occupation is to instruct (www.merriam-webster.com/)

The teacher, like the pastor is called to teach the Word of God to the congregation.  This brings some confusion among the community for the role of the teacher.  Let me sum this up as easily as I know how to explain.  Though Pastors can teach and teachers can be pastors, the teacher does fill a different role.  The true teacher is primarily focused on building up the body of Christ.  Unlike the evangelist the teacher is not as focused on the lost.  The teacher desires to make sure that the church knows and understands what they believe. 


Instead of preaching as the pastor would, the teacher is focused on taking passages or portions of the Bible and breaking them down into understandable pieces for the main congregation.  A teacher will often teach through expositional methods, though occasionally they will teach through topical methods.  A teacher will be a well read person who uses a number of scriptures and outside sources to gain understanding before they pass it on to the body.

The Five Fold Ministry

First Mentions of the Ministries

Ephesians 4:11-12

11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up… (NIV Bible)

The five fold ministry consists of five different offices of the church.  As seen above, these offices of ministry are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.  Though these offices are first listed together as God’s plan for the church in Ephesians, each office is mentioned at other times in scripture.  The different offices can first be seen in the following verses:

·         Apostles-Matthew 10:2 (Jesus appointed His first twelve apostles)

·         Prophets-Genesis 20:7 (God told Abimelech, king of Gerar not to touch Abraham’s wife)

·         Evangelist-Acts 21:8 (Concerning Philip)

·         Pastor-Jeremiah 2:8 (A word of the Lord through Jeremiah)

·                                          Teacher-1 Chronicles 25:8 (Casting lots)
(Note: All verses found in KJV version of the Bible)


            Throughout scripture the Lord has used these tools to build His bride.  In Ephsians 4:11-12, He makes clear that these ministries are to be used to build and edify the body.  The five fold ministry was used in the first century church to do just that.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of debate as to the need of these ministries in modern times.

            In the early first century church, the use of the five fold ministry was known as the “Apostolic Age.”  After 100 CE the church moved into the age of the “Apostolic Fathers, and around 200 CE it moved further to the age of “Church Fathers.” 

In 306 CE the church took a major turn as Constantine was named Roman Emperor.  Shortly after he was named emperor, Constantine converted from a worshiper of Mithra, the Persian sun god, to a follower of Jesus.  There are different stories as to how and why he converted to Christianity, but in the end, his conversion led to Christianity moving from a small movement to a world religion and power. 

This shift in the direction of Christianity changed things for the church.  As the Apostles and the Prophets time was coming to a close, a new order was rising.  At around 607 CE, the bishops of Rome, who had become increasingly more powerful, had put together their first Pope.  Boniface III was named as the first Pope.  The end of the Apostolic Age was evident when he states in the Cessation Doctrines, “We declare and define it to be believed as a necessary condition of salvation that everything created in the human universe is subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

As he and those who followed after him grew the church in both religious and political power through the Middle Ages, all church life was filtered through Rome.  The Apostolic gifts, such as prophesy, signs and wonders, and those wiling to teach, did go on, but they were forced to do so in secret as the Roman church had lost its way through the power of man.  Martin Luther (1483-1546) and others like him challenged the Church of Rome on a number of points.  This opened the door to translations of the Bible into other languages, and different understandings of the scripture.

With this open door, many new things happened.  One significant rise was that of American Evangelicalism.  In this denomination and others like it, the quest for a return to New Testament theology.  Through these denominations seeking the truth in scriptures, the roles of Apostle and Prophet began to see a restoration.  Over the next several hundred years to the present day, though, there is still a division as to the roles of the Apostle and Prophet. ( B.K. Kuiper 1964)

Present Day Divisions

There are four major points of debate as to whether or not the five fold ministry is still active and valid in today’s world. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five-fold_ministry)  Those points are:

1.                           Apostles had to be personal Disciples of Christ.  Since none exist today, there are no Apostles.

2.                           Prophets were used to give the Bible.  The Bible is finished therefore there are no more prophets.

3.                           Prophets had to be 100% accurate. Deuteronomy 13:1-5, 18:20-22

4.                           Mainline denominations do not accept the view.

In order to summarize how this topic relates in today’s church, I will give my personal debate to these opposing views of five fold ministry.

·         Apostles had to be personal Disciples of Christ.  Since none exist today, there are no Apostles.
Earlier I mentioned the first mention of Apostles in scripture.  This reference was Matthew 10:2.  I would like to use Matthew 10:1-5 as the reference t debate this point:

And when He had called to Him His twelve disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.   2And the names of the twelve apostles are these: First, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee and John his brother; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-collector; James the son of Alpheus, and Lebbeus, whose surname was Thaddeus; 4Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.  5Jesus sent out these twelve, commanding them, saying, Do not go into the way of the nations, and do not enter into any city of the Samaritans.  (MKJV)

In this passage, Jesus appoints twelve who He sent out.  Notice He would not let them enter certain areas.  Now, take a look at this progression in Acts 1:8

“But you shall receive power, the Holy Spirit coming upon you. And you shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (MKJV)

I point this out to show that He, in His infinite wisdom, commands much more of those Apostles.  He, if He is wise enough to send them, would be wise enough in Matthew 10:1-5 to tell us that those would be the only Apostles. 

Let us also consider Paul.  He was not one of the twelve.  He did not personally walk with Jesus.  He at one time persecuted those who followed Jesus.  I would question how this scripture got in the Bible, then:

“For I am the least of the apostles and am not sufficient to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (1 Corinthians 15:9 MKJV)


Prophets were used to give the Bible.  The Bible is finished therefore there are no more prophets.

I will concede that in the Old Testament Prophets were among the authors, however, just as Ephesians 4:11-12 states:

“11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…” (NIV Bible)

It would appear that God had a plan for Prophets all along.  If you look at the Old Testament in this light, you see that God was attempting to get His people to repent in order to build them up.  I repeat the types of Prophetic words mentioned earlier:

·         Edification-to build up the hearer

·         Exhortation-to motivate and renew the spirit of the hearer

·         Comfort-to comfort the hearer

·         Predictive-to tell the future

·         Directive-to guide the hearer through decisions or actions

·         Rebuke-to point out sin and cause repentance

My question to the people who debate from this side would be, “in light of all scripture did not all the Prophets of Old and New Testament do this?”

·         Prophets had to be 100% accurate. Deuteronomy 13:1-5, 18:20-22

1 If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, 2 and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," 3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. 5 That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery; he has tried to turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.  Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (NIV)

20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death."  21 You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD ?" 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him. Deuteronomy 18:20-22 (NIV)

I would agree not to accept a false prophet.  I do not think I would carry out the killing of a false prophet as that would violate Jesus’ teaching on “an eye for an eye”, and modern American law.  I would also add that it would be hard to qualify all prophesy as, given the types of prophesy, not all are about accuracy.  Some prophetic words are to encourage the hearer. 

·         Mainline denominations do not accept the view.

To this I would ask a question.  At several points of scripture there is mention of adding or taking away from scripture.  Several passages like these can be found in 1Timothy 6:3 and Revelation 22:18-19.  My question would be simply, “are you in error of the scripture at these points if you hold this view?”


            In summary I feel very strongly that the five fold ministry is valid and relevant to today’s church.  As seen in our own network of churches, Master Builders, the Apostolic leadership seeks the Father and sets the tone for reaching a dying world.  The Prophetic Word goes forth to all believers.  The Evangelist mobilizes the local church to reach the lost in un-reached areas.  The Pastors carry out the Apostolic vision of reaching the lost in their region along with uniting with other Pastors to lead the whole flock of their regions home to Jesus’ pasture, and strong Teaching gives us sound understanding of the Word and Person of God in order to share Him with a dying world.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hearing the Lord Through Non Believers and the Joy of the Lord

Let me start with telling you I want to keep this blog short.  I will follow it up with knowing I want to go down two very different trails because of the story.  I guess I don't know where this blog will end.  With that I will begin writing on the fly!

The other day I was at a gathering with several church leaders and church workers and a non believer.  A conversation arose about doing too much.  The non believer was telling this person they were doing too much and the other persons response was they will keep doing what they feel the Lord telling them though they may get a little grumpy.  From there we had a little joke but the topic died down.

Andrea and I were alone for a few minutes yesterday and the topic came up.  I would like to point out that both of us thought about that moment and both of us had the same conclusion...  The Lord was speaking through this non-believer.  This person had a word from the Lord for all of us and we failed to hear it because they weren't following the Lord.  As believers we tend to feel superior in such conversations and are too easily positioned to miss Father speaking to us.  For this I have a simple solution.  As believers we need to slow down and be ready to hear Father in everything.  Think if we were doing that, we may have been able, at that moment to agree with the Lord, validate the non-believer speaking to us through Him, and then have an open door opportunity to repent for ourselves and share the gospel.

The next point is not so simple to address, but it is the very point of this persons rebuke to us and the other persons response to the rebuke.  Often as believers we get caught up in the work.  Sometimes we get overwhelmed.  The Lord reminded me of a few things that I want to address.

In Luke 10:38-42 we find the story of Jesus visiting Mary and Martha.  As they relax Martha is running around doing all of the work while Mary is sitting at Jesus' feet.  Martha finally has enough and asks Jesus to tell Mary to help her work.  Jesus, instead of agreeing that Martha is doing too much and that Mary should help her, tells Martha that Mary has made a wise choice in sitting at His feet.   This is an important passage for several reasons:
1. Margin.  We need to take the time to fill our life with Jesus.
2. Work.  If we are grumbling about the work, we are missing something.  That something was just mentioned above.  We need to take time to fill our life with Jesus.  Doing the work is not getting us closer to Him.  We were saved by grace.  James also has a good point about us if we do this:
Jam 4:11  Do not speak against one another, brothers. He who speaks against his brother, and who judges his brother, speaks against the Law and judges the Law. But if you judge the Law, you are not a doer of the Law, but a judge.
Jam 4:12  There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you who judges another?

I will let God's word speak for itself on this one and be silent myself as I am one who stands convicted on this.

I could go on for hours right here about the work of God and the rottenness of us believers who do it and complain about it.  I will try to be brief, but I feel a storm brewing on my keyboard. 

Mat 11:28  Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Mat 11:29  Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls.
Mat 11:30  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.

This is a very important passage.  It is important for anyone who is doing what they feel the Lord telling them to do (ie home school, church work, parenting, working in commerce, LIFE IN GENERAL) and then complaining about it.  IF you fall into one of those categories like I do, let me comfort you.  We are all in the wrong!  We are all doing something very wrong.  Let me add this to those who then think I am saying that we are working too hard and that that is the problem.  We are all in the wrong!   The problem is very simple, we are not coming to Him.  This passage says come.  It doesn't say how many times, and I think people only do this passage once.  The issue with that is that there are many times we get heavy ladened.

I would encourage you at this point to read the entire passage of Matthew 11.  The whole thing is a rebuke from Jesus.  For us who get caught up in the work we need to check our hearts.  I cringe, and love the rebuke Jesus gives in Matthew 11:21:
Mat 11:21  Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the powerful acts which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes!

Many of us who work in the church are like Chorazin and Bethsaida.  We have done powerful works.  Maybe these churches were like many of us, doing a lot of work, but falling from doing it in love to doing it in work, or worse, doing it in self righteousness.  I love the fact that after all of this rebuke, there is hope.  We can take His burden.  If we start falling back into old habits, we can take His burden again.  As a matter of fact, we can keep taking it as long as we need to.

Let me add one thing here:  Nehemiah 8:10 has a little diddy that we all need to cling to.
Neh 8:10  Then he said to them, Go eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared. For this day is holy to our LORD. And do not be sorry, for the joy of Jehovah is your strength.
Neh 8:10  Then he said to them, Go eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared. For this day is holy to our LORD. And do not be sorry, for the joy of Jehovah is your strength.

The joy of the Lord is our strength.  Maybe we don't get stronger in the Lord, maybe He gets stronger in us.  I think many of us tend to forget the joy of the Lord.  I think as we work we go right back to being Martha.  We are looking at things from our perspective of having so much to accomplish.  We could be looking at them from things even worse than that.  I know I have over the years.  But, we are looking at things from our perspective.  Our flesh gets tired.  Our lips get heavy and start opening.  As this happens our hearts get revealed.  I did a quick survey of the Gospels this morning and couldn't find where Jesus ever complained.  He must have had something I want.  How do I get it?  I don't ave all the answers here, but the Bible leaves us a good direction on how to get it...
Luk 11:9  And I say to you, Ask and it shall be given you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened to you.
Luk 11:10  For everyone who asks receives. And he who seeks finds. And to him who knocks it shall be opened.
Luk 11:11  For what father of you, if the son asks for bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a snake for a fish?
Luk 11:12  Or if he shall ask for an egg, will he give him a scorpion?
Luk 11:13  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?