Loving the Ministry :: Gospel Fellowship Association Missions

Loving the Ministry

Andrea Crocker
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I remember sitting in a large room filled with teenagers. We had all heard a stirring call to surrender our lives for service to God. I stared at the concrete floor thinking hard. I knew I ought to be willing to do whatever God wanted me to do with my life, even if that was foreign missions. I wanted to be willing, but I wasn’t sure. I didn’t think I would really like being a missionary. I don’t think God actually spoke to me during that invitation, but He used what I had learned throughout my life about God’s character and disposition toward His people. I drew on that knowledge in that moment as the realization dawned on me: “God isn’t going to make me do something I hate.” That was the truth I needed to remember. I stood up in response to the preacher’s urging. I wasn’t imagining a life without trials and hardships; I was recalling God’s nature as a Father. In that moment of surrender, I was entrusting my future to the One I knew loved me and who knew better than I did what kind of life I would love.

Why do God’s servants love the ministry? I believe that those who most love their ministries are those who best understand what ministry is. Ministry is service, and ministers are servants. The foremost of God’s ministers in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul, exuberantly expounds on the intricacies of his own service in Ephesians 3:7–12. After meditating on this passage, a more appropriate question than “Why love the ministry?” is “How could I not love ministry?”

“Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (ESV).

What do we serve up?

The Gospel

Paul was made a minister of the Gospel, the good news that is any sinner’s only hope. The sinless Lamb of God, the only begotten of the Father, became a human. He lived a perfect life and died as a substitute for helpless sinners. We, who could justly spend an eternity paying a limitless price for infinite sin against a Holy Creator, have been granted the most unspeakably precious gift conceivable. Because of a propitiatory Sacrifice, God can righteously grant repentant rebels eternal life. Of this Gospel we were made ministers.

Why?

According to the gift of God’s grace

As unsatisfying an answer as that perhaps might be to some, it is precisely the right answer. Why was I made a servant of the Gospel? Because God’s favor was directed toward an unprofitable servant such as I. 

How?

By “the working of His power”

The power that spoke the planets into orbit and designed the human brain, the power that raised the Messiah to life, and the power that works in hearts and transforms dead sinners into quickened saints worked to grant the gift of God’s grace to make us His servants.

Who serves?

“The least of all the saints”

The saints are not a gathered bunch of particularly stainless personalities. Saints are set apart from among the despised and unlovely rebellious population because the Holy One set His love on them. God’s servants of the Gospel need not be, indeed cannot possibly be, those who boast great power and wisdom. Were I to do every single thing my Lord ever commanded me as His servant, the most flattering descriptor I could attain is “unworthy” (Luke 17:10, ESV).

What is the service?

1) “To preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ”

God’s ministers are deployed to proclaim to everyone that the Owner of every mineral, gemstone, and precious metal on earth offers riches infinitely more valuable than anything a human eye has seen. Life in Christ is a treasure trove that we publicize freely, knowing that the immense store of wealth can never be diminished, no matter how many draw from its supply.

2) “To bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things”

Created ones cannot fully know infinity. If our understanding of God will never in this life reach the boundary of what has been revealed, we cannot possibly hope to grasp what lies beyond what God has chosen to make known. But the Creator has revealed a plan, a gloriously beautiful plan of salvation which must be brought to light. He, who Himself is the Light of Life, has entrusted light-bringing to, of all things, servants.

What is the ultimate purpose?

“So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.”

Created beings so splendid and magnificent that they terrify humans were singing for joy when the universe was spoken into existence. An expanse so vast that mankind has all but given up trying to measure it, the Almighty filled with billions of enormous burning orbs that no one outside heaven will ever see. Yet, in order to display to greatest advantage, the many facets of His limitless wisdom, God exhibits the Church.

Every seven days, servants arrive to buildings large and tiny, to meadows or huts or storefronts. They turn on lights in air-conditioned halls or they set up plastic chairs or dust wooden benches. Perhaps they surreptitiously slip into a basement apartment after verifying they are not being followed. They come armed with music for an offertory, craft supplies, and poster board emblazoned with words to songs in a language they have not completely learned, with sermon notes, or food to share. They carry with them the Master’s Word. They greet one another; they sing; they pray; they teach their children to participate; they listen; they rejoice; they bear one another’s burdens. These weekly gatherings display to the warriors of heaven’s army an aspect of their Commander’s wisdom that they would not otherwise know.

Far from seeing my willingness to serve God as a favor I offer, I ought to bow in gratitude for the grace that allows me to be His servant. How can I not love the ministry?         

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