Sunday, July 11, 2010

THE HIGH STANDARD OF MINISTRY IN CHRIST

A. Brother
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing

“So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have
and expend myself as well.”
2 Cor. 12:15

This text should be our primer on true ministry to the Body of Christ.  It is the beginning point—this total and complete commitment—for building God’s people into maturity in the Lord. 

It is not some point which those who teach, preach and serve the ekklesia—the “called out to be together” people of God—reach when they’ve finally gotten old and gray.  This should be the narrow gate through which all of us pass when we answer God’s call to minister to His people.

Paul was literally spending all he was as a person, and all he had—in money, time, bodily energy, possessions, down to his very life—to bring the Corinthian believers, plus all the other groups of God’s people scattered around him, to maturity in Christ.

Paul was not concentrating on himself, and on building his own reputation.  He was only interested in bringing these people into complete dependence on Jesus Christ by example.  He was willing to be seen as weak, as afflicted, as foolish, if only Christ was seen as everything. 

How different this is than our own concept of what a person who ministers today should be like!

If only our exalted, proud, and self-sufficient leaders within the churches would take the time on their knees to seek the humility of the Lord Jesus Christ—and to live His Way among His people.  If only those who teach and preach and write books were as Paul.  If only they would love the people of God so much that they would be willing to expend themselves—open their lives, share their weaknesses, share their struggles, their possessions, their homes, and all they have—to be the true leaders that God expects them to be. 

Being a minister among God’s people is not a secure career.  It is not a fully-guaranteed, paid profession.  It is not a job.  It is a Holy Spirit-given calling to bring the Body of Christ to maturity.

Read this entire four chapter essay (2 Cor. Chapters 10-13), dear leaders, on true leadership in the Kingdom of God.

And for all of us, those who desire only to bring Christ to His people, we must take heart, brothers and sisters, at the picture Paul paints for us.  We do not have to be eloquent, or highly educated, or good looking, or athletic in order to minister in the Body of Christ.  We do not have to have money.  We do not have to live well and dress well, according to the world’s standards.  We do not have to be recognized by those who have set themselves up as leaders.

But we must have the Spirit of God in us, and be abiding in Christ, and have Him abiding in us.  We must represent the Christ-life, not in perfection, but in process.  We are flawed, but we are walking in Christ, and learning daily what that means.  And because of God’s power in us, in our weak and common jars of clay, we must shine with the light of Christ in spite of ourselves!  And we must speak and teach only the Word of God in its simplicity. 

Paul is an example to us, as was our Lord Jesus.

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,  so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,
in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Cor. 12:9,10

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