Monday, July 16, 2012

The call to ministry

2 Corinthians 5:13-21:
If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God;
if we are in our right mind, it is for you.

For Christ’s love compels us,
because we are convinced that one died for all,
and therefore all died.  

And he died for all, that those who live
should no longer live for themselves
but for him who died for them and was raised again.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.
Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:
The old has gone, the new is here!  
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ
and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:

that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
not counting people’s sins against them.
And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors,
as though God were making his appeal through us.
We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God

The more I think about it, the more I think that ministry is a lot less complicated than we make it seem... I don't think it is meant to be this job that we do for a certain number of hours each day or week, and I don't think it is meant to be a special status for a select few saints in God's family. Like the "call to singleness," and "gift of sharing the gospel," I think the "call to ministry" is an extra Biblical-sounding catch phrase that has evolved in the Christian sub-culture over time to let some people feel special at being included and others feel relieved at being excused from it.

The truth though, as far as I can tell, is that all believers are called to ministry. Jesus told his disciples - the people who chose to trust him, listen to him, and follow him - to go, teach the good news to every part of the world, and baptize in his name. Notice that his command was specific and direct, and yet it works in every single generation and culture, so no matter where we are, how old we are, despite our strengths or weaknesses, we who are disciples of Jesus Christ are called to ministry! It is a ministry of good news of salvation and reconciliation - that we are lost in sin and need a Savior, and he is the One; that we are alone and distant from God, and he has made a way for us to draw near to him in fellowship; that God loves us and invites us to be in his family and makes us pure and gives us hope! This ministry is awesome - ambassadors of Christ have the ultimate responsibility and most exciting task in the world!

And it looks different for each of us... smuggling Bibles into closed countries, writing and singing songs, setting up medical clinics in rural villages, or making smoothies with fresh fruit in your air-conditioned home... as a doctor, teacher, accountant, counselor, custodian, retail employee, or stay-at-home mom... if we are loving others with the selfless, reckless love of Jesus and holding out the hope that only comes from him, then we are doing ministry. And a life of ministry is one that wakes up every morning in eager anticipation of what God is going to do that day and how we can be a part of it.

So my question to you is not: "Are you called to ministry?" because the answer is, if Jesus Christ has saved you and his grace is sustaining and growing you in faith and love, then YES! The question I want you to consider is this: "How can I be available and ready for God to use me today in his ministry of reconciliation?"

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