And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry… (Ephesians 4:11-12, N.K.J.V.)
I’ve highlighted the latter portion of this passage because I don’t want you to miss its teaching. The saints are supposed to do the work of the ministry!!! Oh, and if you are wondering just exactly who the saints are, the New Testament teaches that every Christian is a saint (Romans 1:7; Philippians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1). The term “saint” comes from the word “sanctified,” which means “to be set apart for God’s service.” Yes, Christian, you’ve been set apart for God’s service and you are to render that service by doing the work of the ministry. You see, if your pastor is doing his job correctly, he is actually equipping you to do the work that you’ve been assuming your church is paying him to do.
So, I’ll ask you: How involved in the work of the ministry are you? Whether you are in church or out of church, are you doing anything to play the role of being the hands, legs, eyes, ears, and voice of Jesus to others? Trust me when I say that the world is far too big a place for us pastors to cover in ministry all by ourselves.
Several years ago, I ran across an excellent article in my daily paper. The article had the heading “Every Christian Is Called to the Ministry” and was written by Rev. Tim McConnell, the pastor of Peachtree United Methodist Church in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. At the article’s heart was a list that spelled out the differences between having a job and having a ministry. (McConnell did freely admit that the list was written by an unknown author.) The list was as follows:
-If you are doing it because no one else will, it’s a job. If you are doing it to serve the Lord, it’s a ministry.
-If you are doing it just well enough to get by, it’s a job. If you are doing it to the best of your ability, it’s a ministry.
-If you’ll do it as long as it doesn’t interfere with other activities, it’s a job. If you’re committed to staying with it, even if it means letting go of other things, it’s a ministry.
-If you quit because no one praised you or thanked you, it’s a job. If you do it because you know it needs to be done, it’s a ministry.
-It’s hard to get excited about a job. It is almost impossible not to get excited about a ministry.
-People may say “well done” when you do your job. The Lord will say “well done” when you complete your ministry.
-The average church is filled with people doing jobs. A great church is filled with people involved in ministry.
McConnell ended his article by saying:
If you have a job in the church, give it up and find a ministry! God doesn’t want us feeling stuck with a job, but excited, fulfilled and faithful in a specific ministry.
About all I can say to that is, “Amen!” So, Christian, if you haven’t found your ministry yet, ask God to help you find it. And then get to it because that’s work that surely needs doing. When you do, I’ll guarantee you that others will be blessed by your efforts and you, yourself, will become far less self-absorbed and far more fulfilled in life.