Doing the work of Jesus will not make you friends. Ministry is hard. The true church is the suffering/persecuted church.
This is not what I have experienced in Greece, for the most part. In fact, in my last days here, people have told me over and over again how much they are going to miss me. I am told I have a “servant’s heart”, a “gentle spirit.” This is confirmation of what I have felt and observed within myself. I trust they are being truthful and not just speaking flattering words. If so, they do me a great disservice.
I wonder, however, if the fact that people like me, even love me, makes my ministry somehow lesser or incomplete. The crowds loved Jesus, up to a certain point too, but when he began hard teachings, many disciples left him (John 6:25-66) and the religious authorities began their attacks. I compare myself to Jesus, which is perhaps sacreligious and unhealthy, as he is the Son of God and I a mere human. But all of his earliest disciples were persecuted, and many faithful followers after them. Am I called to this? Or called to relative comfort? I believe I am free to make that choice.
I am probably being too hard on myself, but I am always striving for the best. All ministry will not look the same, cannot look the same, because people are individuals, not carbon copies. But all people need to come to God, need to be pushed/called into deeper relationship and service to Him. This is where the difficulties start, because this is where God, either himself or through those in ministry, begins to make people uncomfortable. And, if my understanding of this is correct, this is where we make a choice – to continue in our sinful ways, or give up ourselves, give in to the Holy Spirit, and follow the way of the cross.
Man, I need to study more!