What is ministry?
I mean, how would you define it, personally?—
Not like what you think it means, but what does the true definition of ministry mean to you?
While we’re considering that, I should also throw in these other points….
What does ministry entail?
And to who are we answerable when we’re doing ministry?
Can we just pick and choose what we want to do and how we think it’s best to do what we’ve chosen?
I’m thinking of this real life experience my daddy shares with us whenever these questions come up. This happened years ago….
A Christian sister was happy and diligent with her job as a nurse. She would share the love of Jesus with her patients, and many of them believed the Gospel, and received Jesus as their Lord and personal Saviour.
She was so well known that if you stood at the gate of the hospital where she was employed and asked for a Christian nurse, it was very likely that you would be directed to her.
But then this talk about full time ministry came up and somehow, she yielded to pressure from fellow Christians to quit her job and become a Pastor at her church. To them, that was the definition of doing ministry full time.
So she became a Pastor and everybody celebrated what they deemed a promotion in ministry — from a nurse to a full time minister.
But she lost her joy. She could no longer pray. And things were just not quite right.
Eventually, she came to my daddy, an Evangelist by calling, who at that time was already fully engaged in ministry.
She told him about the unrest she was feeling.
After talking with her, they both agreed in prayer and asked that God would make His will plain.
They believed that God would do it, so they agreed to meet on another day.
Before the agreed date, she came to see my daddy again.
“But the day we agreed to meet is not here yet”, he told her, “Let’s be patient”.
God had spoken plainly (although it wasn’t what she had wanted to hear).
She’d had the same two dreams, on two consecutive days….
In the first dream, she’d been in a field with other workers. Portions had been marked out for them to work on. As she started to work on her portion, someone came to beg for her help with their own portion. She had left her own portion and gone to help this person who had even abandoned the work and was nowhere to be found. Eventually, there was a shout that the master was coming. This person had resurfaced from wherever, and had asked her to return to her own portion of the field that was now untended, and overgrown with weeds.
In the second dream, she was a nurse, and wards had been assigned to them to take care of. Again, someone came and begged her to help them take care of their ward. She had abandoned her ward and had gone to help this person who also was nowhere to be found until there was a shout that the director was coming. This person had come back and had asked her to return to her own ward that was now disordered, with patients that had been left unattended.
God had spoken clearly, but because it wasn’t what she had wanted to hear, she had come to my daddy to ask his opinion.
He told her he’s not Joseph, and then he asked her what she thought God was saying — because these were no ordinary dreams.
She knew, but then she was concerned about the shame she thought would come from leaving her new position and returning to her work as a nurse.
This story ended well because she found the courage to return to the work that had been assigned to her….
But does this not add to the question we began with?—
What is full time ministry?
Who apportions the work?
Should you be a Pastor because you want to continue the work and preserve the legacy of your daddy?
Should your vocation become your ministry before you’ve heard from the one who apportions the work?
If you feel out of sorts doing what you’ve somehow come to consider your ministry, what should you do?
We really need to look at the Church today, and properly answer this question—
What is ministry? (Even if it’s just for the sake of the ones coming behind, let’s do it. Please!)