THE PARADIGM OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTER

Every believer is a full-time minister. Every one of us has been gifted by God with a unique talent, that He gives us at salvation for the purpose of the church and for the common good (cf. 1 Cor. 12). Our life is a pilgrimage with the Lord, and it strives toward maturity; never reaching but continually striving. As we mature and become completely sold out to the Lord, it is no longer a question of what “I wanted to do”, or where “I wanted to go”, and what “I wanted to be”, but the cry of our heart becomes “What do You want for my life, Lord?”. And as we seek His will for our lives with pure motives, He will help us understand that what He wants for our life is a life that grows and struggles toward Christlikeness.

I believe God speaks to us through the Bible, and it speaks to us intuitively on areas it does not cover, but the authority comes from the Book itself, because it is the inspired Word of God. The question is, “What does God want to characterize your life in ministry? I think we really have a hang-up on the word “preach”; we often associate it with a pulpit in a building, in front of a congregation, 2 or 3 hours every Sunday. Biblically speaking, the word ‘to preach’ is not so much about the word pulpit, as a word that means public proclamation. The word “ministry” is not a word that describes some small group of “called out” people in the church. It’s a term of service that characterizes the complete family of God. I think the life of the apostle Paul is an exemplar that fits so well into our day, because Paul being a rabbi had to have an occupation. The Jews thought it was a sin for their teachers and their rabbis to make a living off teaching the Old Testament. So, every rabbi had to have an occupation to support himself, and then teach as an avocation on the side, and so Paul as you know was a tent-maker (cf. Acts 18:3). I think that is very analogous to most of us that have full-time jobs that make us enough money to live on and survive and provide for our family’s needs. But even though you have a full-time job that occupies a lot of your energy, and a lot of your time, and a lot of your interest, truth is, the church of Jesus Christ is a body of “called-out, gifted, full-time” ministers. We have all been entrusted with the Gospel, and as stewards of the Gospel we are responsible for the way we use our gifts and talents, and the time and energy we spend in our own respective spheres of influence, in the workplace, in our jobs, wherever God has planted you. I don’t think when we stand before God, He is going to ask how high you rose in the corporate structure of your day. I don’t think He’s going to ask what kind of bank balance you had when you died. I don’t think He’s going to ask you what assets you bring with you. I think He’s going to ask us “Were you faithful in sharing the Good News that I gave to you”, in a world that desperately needs it? May God help us all!