Often, when we hear the word ministry as Christians, we take it to mean the work of preachers and the like. My aim in this post is to disabuse you of that notion and get you conscious of the fact that you are a minister. Preachers are not the only ministers in the eyes of God. Every Christian has a ministry. You have a ministry and I have a ministry. Any service or assignment you do that brings glory to God and blesses humanity is ministry. Ministry is also the use of your God-given gifts to serve others.
Blessing humanity without glorifying God is humanitarianism. Glorifying God without blessing humanity is incomplete Christianity. Every Christian is called to bless humanity. Christianity is two dimensional – relationship with God and relationship with man. Thou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind while loving your neighbor as yourself. It is a service done for God but to man or in some cases for man but to God. Therefore ministers are servants of God and others.
In the structure of government, ministers are public servants carrying out the assignment given them by the people in a specific area. Usually, each minister has a specific portfolio such as finance, labor, agriculture, etc. Similarly, all Christians are ministers though to varying degrees and with diverse portfolios.
Paul had an apostolic ministry to the gentiles and peter had a ministry to the Jews. Joseph never preached a sermon but had a ministry of management and governance. In our day, he’ll be the equivalent of government consultant or Special Adviser to the President. Esther never preached a sermon but she had a ministry to save the Jews from genocide. Bezalel in Exodus 31 had a ministry as a master artisan, a craftsman. Likewise, there were some women in Luke 8, several of them unnamed, who had a ministry to care for Jesus’ needs.
And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” – Colossians 4:17 (NKJV)
We all have a ministry and we are all ministers. You don’t need to be dressed like a priest or ordained a Bishop to be a minister. Aside from the thought that ministry is for preachers, another misconception is that ministry requires impact on a grand scale. Ministry could be to one or to millions.
Some would ask, ‘what then is my ministry?’ Your ministry lies in what you do daily or often and has the potential to impact someone else. Much like government ministers, everyone should operate in their unique space. A Christian cashier at McDonald’s who rings up orders from 3,000 people a day could have a more significant impact than a pastor who speaks to 3,000 people every Sunday, ‘could’ being the operative word. This is because there is a personal interaction that takes place although very brief. Also, the cashier will likely interface with new people daily and by the end of the week might have had upwards of 10,000 unique contacts while the pastor has had 3,000 not so intimate contact points.
That cashier need not carry a Bible at work. However, the conduct, aura, and grace can be felt by all who come in contact with him. The excellence of the service he delivers, his efficiency, the kindness shown to coworkers, the integrity demonstrated, the joy exuded day after day, the grace displayed. There is a fragrance of God’s glory that should be discernible on all Christians even without speaking a word.
Have you ever met someone who never spoke to you but you could just tell that he/she was a Christian? That’s the level at which we ought to be operating. I think it is a shame when people have known you for a year and are surprised to find out that you are a Christian and I don’t mean we go about smacking people with the Bible every chance we get. Observing our lives is the only sermon some people would ever hear.
Ministry is not solely about preaching the gospel, though preaching the gospel is a part of it. Jesus said, ‘let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.’ Good works, not good words. The plague of contradiction between words and works is all too common among Christians. I have seen Christians with the biggest Bibles and their conduct is just as bad as their Bible is big.
The cashier is just one example of many. Think of all the people you come in contact with daily. We all have a ministry to fulfill; some in business and some in the corporate world, some in police uniforms and some in board rooms, some in Nike studs and some in a white coat. Anywhere you find yourself, there is a ministry to fulfill. Therefore take heed (pay attention) to your ministry that you fulfill (accomplish) it.
Treat your ministry then with the respect and responsibility it deserves. Preachers, because they are conscious of the fact that they are ministers spend a lot of time preparing for their ministries. If all Christians took a similar approach to their ministries, there would be a revival. An invasion of good works which when combined with the presence of the Holy Spirit is a catalyst for revival.
Whether you are a CEO or a junior staff, a musician or a dancer, a parent or a sibling, a pastor or a church secretary, a celebrity or a commoner, a waiter or a restaurateur, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. As Paul told Timothy, be an example of a believer in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity. Serve God and serve humanity. Take heed to your ministry. Shalom.