Few people see ‘ministry’ as service, fewer people who are in ministry behave as servants. We can consider for a moment our politicians who are Ministers of a diverse number of portfolios as one example of those who are called ‘servants’ and yet are emboldened to rule.
This is indeed partly true, though there is a paradoxical element to Ministry, when it comes to the servants of Jesus Christ our lives are given completely to his service, and if we have a love of people, this service is to spend and be spent for the benefit of their eternity.
Our desire for the good of this life wanes in comparison to the benefit we desire to see for those who’s lives and souls can be blessed and saved by Christ. For the minister here and now, is considered the offscouring of the world. Consider Paul and what he speaks concerning his ministry;
For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and eare naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
When you consider the demeanour and humility of Paul, you find it difficult to reconcile the contrasting nature of many who set themselves as rulers over the people, who are looked upon and revered. But, what a joy to be not only considered in such a defamed manner by the world, but to know that this is the manner in which the world had seen Christ also. It will be then for his sake we suffer it and for the sake of the lost, we endure it.
Paul goes on, being wonderfully encouraged by this and its miraculous effect upon the lives of the ministers of Christ, in his second epistle to the same church saying;
But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
Its for the glory of Jesus Christ we work and not for ourselves, to bring him honour and not ourselves, that all men may know Christ and not us, that he is exalted and lifted up and not we ourselves, that he would increase and we decrease. The work undertaken in ministry is for that end, and seeking such we hope to draw many to Christ through the preaching of the Gospel to salvation in that everlasting name of all names.
Pr Edi Giudetti