Ministry is what I have dedicated the last six or so years of my life to. Even before I was serious about the relationship Jesus initiated with me at 15 years of age, I was president of an FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) club at my high school that had died. During my one year as president, it grew from about 3 to around 30 regular members. After that I got involved leading worship and sharing Christ’s gospel at a few churches before landing in my first ministry position. I mention this to highlight that much of what God did through me, He did before I was serious about the calling that He had placed on my life. I have been guilty of doing ministry because it is the only thing I knew how to do. This is not a good reason to do ministry.
This is not, though, the problem I have had over the past few days. My guilt was ushered in when I began doing ministry because I knew God expected it of me instead of out of the love and honor I have for God. Ministry, as an act, should be, to us, worship for our Father. Worship seems not to emanate from the law, but instead from our acting on God’s grace and thus we have our reason to do ministry. Ministry, to me, is my action toward others according to God’s grace.
Our Sunday School class at church recently did a “spiritual gifts inventory”. The lowest ranking gift on my list was mercy. Even though there are some who question the legitimacy of taking a spiritual gifts inventory in order to discover actual spiritual gifts, no one can argue against their being profitable in order to discover areas in life where we just need to improve. Doing ministry is all about having mercy toward others. We have mercy towards sinners because Christ had mercy towards us while we were sinners. We have mercy to our brothers and sisters because God still shows us mercy and because we are all in Christ. God’s grace is all about mercy and to act toward others according to God’s grace is to have mercy, but mercy is not just something I can choose to have. It will take work and it will take my complete submission to God. For I can do nothing apart from God, but I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
Being able to have more mercy means having less cynicism and more trust, a less argumentative attitude and a stronger ear. Having mercy means that I will always stand up for my brothers and sisters and work for their benefit.
I remember a scene in the grand narrative of scripture that describes Jesus bending down to wash the filthy feet of His disciples. Being a Christian means one thing, that we follow our Lord, Jesus Christ. I want to be a feet washer. I want to be a servant. Woe to any of us who stand on stage to sing or to speak or to pray; to reprove or to encourage, without first serving the people God has placed within our community. We, together, are all ministers of God’s Gospel. We are all servants to each other and to those God wishes us to reach. Christians ought to be the hardest working individuals on the planet. They ought to be the best tippers. They ought to be the most understanding. They ought to be the most gracious. They ought to be the best servants, even when service might stretch them thin. We are followers of a Christ who intentionally gave His life so that we could once again bear the image of an awesome God!
Matthew 26:14-39; Luke 22:24-27; John 13:1-17