Saturday, December 28, 2002

What is ministry? This is a very interesting subject. We've thought we know what ministry is to be. We've enrolled people into classes and told them that they can be prepared for ministry by going through certain things. It's not that these things are bad per say nor is that they are wrong when used correctly. It seems to me, more and more recently, that ministry is an expression of life. If I "pursue ministry" as some sort of professional endeavor or vain ambitious journey then I'll never arrive there. Ministry is the life of Christ working through my own life. It is not what I can do nor is it what I can be - it is what He does through me; it is what I have become by coming to know my Father more and more; it is the work of the Holy Spirit in the depths of my being that transforms me into a new creation that then expresses life and the Kingdom of God into the world. Ministry MUST be life. It must be an engrafted part of a person that naturally seeks expression and that is a part of that person. Ministry is not professionalism. Ministry is not a career. I think recently that my understanding of ministry is going through a major overhaul and I know this is the work of the Spirit of God. We've seen the professionals. Jesus was not a professional but who He was come from within Him and was expressed in and by His life. It seems to me that what we need then is to more know Jesus Christ, to more desire God, to more seek out the power and life of the Holy Spirit and to so sit at His feet in humility and to so know Him that ministry (as He sees fit) is placed within us and is worked out within us. I am coming to believe that ministry means sacrifice; it means leaving our entire selves behind; it means death; it means the end of all selfish ambition; it means being ignored and being counted as nothing; it means we must even consider 'ministry' itself as nothing but Christ Himself as everything. Perhaps in many ways this is just the call of Christ to all those who would believe. No one can truly follow Him apart from taking up their cross to follow. No one can truly believe and trust Christ without denying themselves. No one can truly know Christ while still being full of self-seeking. No one can cling to their own lives and yet know the new life found in Christ. So perhaps the real necessity is to gain greater knowledge and communion with the Father in Jesus. Then that is the end of all. We no longer then need to seek 'ministry' but we seek Him and we are changed and He works out things through us. We no longer have to fret of where we will do ministry because we become a walking source of salt and light to everyone. The culmination here is that I am not sure what real ministry is anymore. It cannot be something full of pride and selfish ambition. It cannot be something that exalts a man of flesh on a stage while trampling the glory of God until it cannot be seen. It cannot be something that is glamorous.

On a basically related note, it is amazing to think of the certain rules and requirements that are needed to enter into a sort of ministry. Education or experience is necessary. Yet it seems to me that all throughout Scripture we see men and women that were used of God as He empowered them to do so. We see the promise that the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth. I am not saying we should not study! No. Reason and intellect cannot be just refused or thrown to the ground yet intellect in and of itself cannot understand the things of God. We first need the working and indwelling of the very Spirit of God and then we can study and desire to learn and to read and the Spirit of God will teach us and help us. Yet education and study and reading alone cannot bring us into the very depths of the truths of the living God.

Ministry ... I am not sure what that is ... but I am pretty sure it has to be who we are and I am convinced it is nothing without much prayer, much fasting, much Scripture and the divine call of God on the life of a person.

No comments: