2 Corinthians 6:4-5 gives us quite the list, doesn't it? I don't know about you but they did not show me this list when I was in Bible College or Seminary. There seriously should have been a class called "Endurance 101" with each class period going over one of the many difficulties of ministry. If Paul were teaching it the schedule would look like this:
Class 1 - Enduring Afflictions
Class 2 - Enduring Hardships
Class 3 - Enduring Distresses
Class 4 - Enduring Beatings
Class 5- Enduring Imprisonment
Class 6 - Enduring Tumults
Class 7 - Enduring Labors
Class 8 - Enduring Sleeplessness
Class 9 - Enduring Hunger
If I were teaching the class the list of lecture topics might look a bit different. In fact, each professor who might teach this course would most likely alter the topic list based on their own ministry scars and experiences.
But no matter what topics are covered, the truth is that there is a low side to ministry and very few pastors and ministry leaders will skate through their lives without experiencing the gut-wrenching pain that comes with their calling. Paul didn't escape it. I didn't escape it. And if you are reading this posting then you have most likely not been able to escape it either.
That's why we have to go back to the first word Paul uses in the verse. It is the theme. it is the need. It is endurance - holding up under the weight of a ministry that hurts.
So my friend, ENDURE!