Tag Archives: ministry

Equipped for service

325064_2851984026582_830175113_oEphesians 4:11-13 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,  to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,  until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

The idea of gifting and that each person has a unique gifting is certainly a familiar one; however, there is a good chance that we need to widen our perspective. Take all of Ephesians 3 and the first section of chapter 4 as your context. Paul describes the radical love of Christ in chapter 3, and then goes on to make several radical statements about how the church is supposed to represent that love. Our lives ought to be worthy of this calling, and it is with that foundation that Christ gifted each of us.

In 4:12, we see the purpose clearly – we have our gifts so that we can be equipped for service, and so that the Body might be built up for Christ’s glory. Verse 13 tells us what each man must do. In present day language, it might go something like this:

“Look, each one of you has a skill set. But those skills and gifts are not an end in themselves. We have been called by Christ and given our lives to Him, and our purpose now is to create, in our interactions and daily lives, a picture for the world to see that represents the Love that has been showered on us. Every man must apply himself to growing in Christ. Just as children grow physically, we need to grow spiritually so that each part of the Body is mature and functioning. The people in Ephesus that don’t know Jesus, they should be drawn in by their interactions with you, and that will happen when each of us pursues Christ above all else.”

Don’t be passive. You have certain strengths that will bless other people. Those strengths must be put into action, and they must be under the headship of Christ and used with this over-arching perspective.

———-  In what area of ministry are you currently using your God-given gifts and abilities?

Grace to the least of all the saints

Ephesians 3:7-13 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

We’ve all been given a ministry and the Lord has equipped us specifically for the role He’s given us. What’s your ministry? If you’re not sure, take an inventory of your circumstances, talents, abilities, resources, and even what burdens you.

The Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesian church with his own specific burden. No one else quite cared the way Paul did about certain people or certain issues they faced. He had his own ministry that was no one else’s. You and I also have to live out our own calling, not one that belongs to someone else.

Just when you may object to the idea that you are a minister of any sort, look at Paul as an example. He not only calls himself the least of all the saints, but if you know anything about his history, you know he’s not exactly who one might have expected to be used in such a huge way to see people converted for Christ. If Paul’s the least of all the saints, the chief of sinners in his own eyes, how can you be any worse? You’ve received no less grace than Paul. Isn’t it time you had “boldness and access with confidence through [y]our faith in him?”

Grace for the weary

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Ministry is wearisome. Recently I heard a sermon by Pastor Mark Driscoll in which he said “You should never grow weary of ministry, but ministry will make you weary.” For everyone who has ever participated in ministry, and if you are a Christian this means you, you know how draining it can be. It can push you physically and emotionally to the edge. It’s at these times that we need God’s grace the most, where we need Jesus to be strong in our weakness. And it’s ok to be made weary by doing ministry. We make ourselves weary for many other things in our day to day lives, how much more should we be made weary for things that have eternal consequences?

What’s not ok is when we become weary of doing ministry. Those days when we call it in, when do things half way, and when we just throw in the towel. In almost every church, and in so many Christians lives, there will be a point where one of us will become discouraged. We lose sight of the prize and no longer look at the future. We take our eyes off of Jesus and forget the grace that was afforded us on the cross. What do we do with brothers and sisters who have fallen in this way?

We pick them back up. Jesus said in John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you.” The church in Phillipi was going through some difficulties and some of the leaders were losing their focus. Paul didn’t open his letter to the Phillipians scolding them or telling them they better get their act together or else. Instead, he opens it with nothing but encouragement and love. Most importantly he took them back to the place where they started, where we all started. That place is the cross.

We need the cross not just when we fall on our face, but everyday and in all that we do. And when we don’t start at the cross, when we rely on our own strength, when we take on the weight of ministry by ourselves, we are doomed to fail. When one of us falls, we need to remind them of one simple fact. The battles may not be over but the war is won. Jesus is victorious. We are redeemed by the grace of Jesus Christ and everything else we do in this life is simply to bring God glory. In other words, everything else we do is just icing on the beautiful and perfect cake that Jesus has given us.

Those of us who are partners in the gospel need to love each other. We need to encourage one another. We need to remind each other of all the ways that Jesus has worked in and through our lives. And when one of us falls down, too tired to continue. We need to pick them up with grace. The grace of Jesus Christ, grace for the weary.