Monday’s Ministry Encouragement: Written to encourage you, my friend in ministry, to be refreshed and renewed as we live for Christ and look toward the Bema.
“The ministry would be fun if it wasn’t for people!”
This was said to me in jest and attempted humor many years ago.
There are two questions to consider.
1) Is fun the goal of ministry?
2) What ministry would you have if you didn’t have people?
Indeed, ministry can often be difficult and not fun because of the heart of man, the stress of the work and the expectations of people, to mention a few. Add into the mix the brokenness and needs of the minister himself.
The goal of ministry is . . .
- the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)
- the preeminence of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:15-18)
- the outworking of the power of the Holy Spirit pointing man to Christ (John 16:8-15)
- the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)
- the maturing of the believers in Christ (Ephesians 4:11-24; Colossians 2:6-7; 2 Peter 3:18)
- the sound proclamation of the Word of God (Romans 10:14-17)
- heart-penetrating worship of believers (John 4:23-24; 14:15-31; Colossians 3:23)
- fervent prayer (Hebrews 4:16; 10:19-23; James 5:13-18)
- transparent community (Acts 2:42-47)
When Christ is exalted by the power of the Holy Spirit, God is glorified and no matter the scenario, there is joy as Paul said, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry” (1 Timothy 1:12).
Second, the ministry is people of which I am one. People whom Christ died (2 Corinthians 5:14-21). People created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). People who are of one race (Genesis 3:20; 2 Corinthians 15:45). People because of the fall of man (Genesis 3:1-15) need the Gospel (Romans 3-6; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
We are commanded to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). Your neighbor is your ministry.
In particular, note the words of Paul about various congregations in his sphere of ministry:
- Philippi — I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy (Philippians 1:3-4).
- Colossae — We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel (Colossians 1:3-5).
- Ephesus — Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers (Ephesians 1:15-16).
Ministry friend, how do you view the people in the arena where you serve?
Are they your brothers and sisters in Christ? Are they your supposed enemy? Are they an irritant to you? Do they get in the way of your agenda? Are they the crown and rejoicing of your heart? Are they the flock of God?
We know that ministry is people for the glory of God no matter who they are, what they do, or where they come from.
As ministers of the gospel, we all have our scars but the joys and “fun” of ministry far out weigh the hurts and sorrows. Those difficult times were and are the sovereign loving hand of God knocking out of us what doesn’t look like Jesus and reveals His character to us.
So, the ministry is “fun” (a joy) because of people! Christ is all in all!!