HARD truths; there are myriads of them, especially in Christian ministry. Ministry, of course, is about others. Yet we often get into ministry for other reasons — the feeling we get when we serve, the love we have for the Lord, the fact we get to work in the area of our passions, status, kudos or approval, and even the feeling we get when we’re fully utilised in an area we’re gifted in — amongst so many others. We may need the odd goad, because we’re all susceptible, at least a little, to doing ministry, and being in ministry, for the wrong reasons.
“We do what is necessary, not always what we want.”
— Dr Brian Harris
I love this quote because it reminds me, when I’m feeling vulnerable about my place and position as the Lord’s minister, that it’s not about me. It’s not about me. It’s not centrally about the other person. It’s about bringing heaven to earth; the divine vision of “Kingdom come, God’s will be done.”
Ministry is about repentance. It’s a safe space where one’s truth is pliable for the confessing — where Kingdom comes into our hearts, afresh; where one’s vulnerability might welcome the warmth of God’s sunshine; the gentlest invitation. Ministry is repenting and being rightly oriented to God; the seeking of his will to be done. The servant-hearted come to desire to serve only upon the conviction of the Holy Spirit through, and because of, repentance; of turning back, or returning, in faith. They’re models for what we all need to do, in bringing the Kingdom earthward.
To repent is necessary, though it’s not always what we want to do.
Ministry is about reconciliation. It’s a mediatory space where the truth might grow in the hearts of many; where half-truths are challenged and gradually spurned. Letting go of our stories — those that favour us — for a bigger ‘truth’ (the truth), is part and parcel of growth. When reconciliation is underway or achieved, God’s Kingdom has come upon our story, for his glory.
To reconcile is necessary, though it’s not always what we want to do.
Ministry is about restoration. It’s a healing space where the Kingdom comes as God first intended it. When healing is brought to bear, where truth might be received in a hotbed of grace, God’s glorious Kingdom is resplendent for anyone with eyes for the truth to see. That’s the goal of ministry — for our humanity to get out of the way enough to allow the shedding of God’s light onto matters of reality such that they’d be seen, as they actually are.
To restore is necessary, though it’s not always what we want to do.
Many times of weakness have beset me over the years; times when I’ve felt ministry was more about my needs being served within the serving of others and the meeting of their needs. I know I’m weak in my walk with God when I feel these ways.
Serving is about doing what’s necessary.
Ministry is where serving opportunities meet the servant-hearted. It’s where leaders serve in the capacity of willing and able servants. Where true leadership resides.
The Kingdom coming to earth is necessary, though it’s not always what we want to do.
Ministry is where serving meets the servant-hearted. Here it is as a process:
Repentance — rightly aligned to know the truth.
Reconciliation — rightly motivated to apply the truth.
Restoration — rightly blessed to live in the truth.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.