“Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it” (Colossians 4:17)
What is your ministry? Wait! Before you deny it and check out, yes, you have one.
Ministry can mean many different things to different people. The word Paul used means to be a servant, minister, deacon, or attendant. It involves being of service to God, His people, His church, and the unbelieving world. In Paul’s instruction to Timothy, he said, “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 4:6).
If you object to minister or deacon as you don’t have those callings, then servant and attendant should suffice. Jesus was well acquainted with such terms. He said, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Jesus also said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Ministry is about loving and serving others—meeting specific needs in their lives. It can be as simple and spontaneous as giving a cup of water in Jesus’ name (Mark 9:41).
In Colossians 1:9-11, Paul confirms we can know God’s will through His wisdom and spiritual understanding. We can walk worthy of the Lord and fully please Him, we can be fruitful in every good work. More powerfully, we can be strengthened with His might and glorious power. The call is to know what our ministry is, fulfill it in a way that pleases God, and do it in His strength and power. In God’s eyes, this is bearing spiritual fruit.
What is your Spiritual Gift?
Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 outline various spiritual gifts that God gives to each person. We are to “pursue love and desire spiritual gifts” and to be “zealous for spiritual gifts” (1 Corinthians 14:1, 12). If you don’t know what your spiritual gift is, there are several tests you can take to reveal it. But rest assured, you have one (Ephesians 4:7).
Why is it important to identify your spiritual gift? To fulfill it, you need to know what it is. It also helps identify what capacity and capability you have for edifying or building up the body of believers and the overall kingdom of God. Sadly, I’ve seen many people who want to get involved somehow and accept the first need presented to them by their local church. However, they were not “gifted” for that role and were soon frustrated, discouraged, and eventually burned out. If teaching is your gift, you’ll love it and excel at it. Should serving in the nursery be your gift, you’ll be drawn to it. If you have a heart to sing, God will have gifted you with that talent.
When God gives the spiritual gift, it will be a natural fit. Preaching. Teaching. Writing. Administration. Hospitality. Evangelism. Intercession. Discernment with God’s Word. Singing. Whatever. Sure, there may be initial disbelief and resistance. We’re all still human after all. Moses didn’t want to go to Egypt because he stammered. Gideon thought he was too insignificant. Yet God rewards willingness and readiness. Samuel said, “Speak, LORD, for your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:9-10). Isaiah said, “Here am I. Send me” (Isaiah 6:8). God used both in mighty ways.
What are your Talents and Personality?
God usually doesn’t ask you to do something for which you have no capacity. An author will naturally gravitate toward reading and writing—and have some sense of grammar. A singer can carry a tune and is usually humming throughout the day. A teacher or preacher sees moral action analogies in everyday occurrences. Someone who is naturally hospitable or has excellent organizational skills welcomes the opportunities to host or organize events.
Sure, God stretches and moves us out of our comfort zones. But He won’t ask something for which He hasn’t given the spiritual gift, natural talent, and supportive personality. As a general rule, a shy introvert usually won’t be gifted as a public speaker. The quiet, unassuming, behind-the-scenes person simply wants to help support others. Again, God will stretch and continue transforming us into the best, most useful version of ourselves. But His gifts, talents, personalities, and callings are “irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).
Whether leading or supporting, do all to God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31), to the best of your ability (Ecclesiastes 9:10), and with a servant’s heart.
What is your Surrendered Heart’s Desire or Burden?
Several years ago, a searching question confronted me. “If time or money weren’t obstacles or considerations, what would you do for life?” Think about that for a moment. It may hold the key to your spiritual gifting, ministry, and where you fit in God’s overall kingdom. God plants a seed in each heart that needs discovery, cultivation, and surrender to Him. As that happens, the true heart’s desire becomes evident. When fully surrendered, as opposed to a selfish ambition, God blesses and anoints what He has given.
God wants you to succeed and gives insight as how to make that happen. “Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established” (Proverbs 16:3). “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:4-5). “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). What incredible promises to those who partner with God Almighty!
Scriptural Tips and Guidelines to Develop and Empower your Ministry:
- Everyone may want to share his or her story, but God grants gifts, talents, and anointing specifically and differently. Operate within your true gifting and calling (Romans 11:29).
- When writing, preaching, teaching, speaking, singing, or evangelizing, make every word count because we’re accountable for every word (Matthew 12:36).
- Counter every speculation with “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). Avoid making a doctrinal thesis from one line item, from one verse, that may be taken out of context. Know His Word thoroughly before attempting to share it.
- Rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15). Be careful to appropriately handle, intensely study, and accurately share God’s Word! God holds those who represent Him and His Word to a higher standard of scrutiny and judgment (James 3:1).
- Great Commission: first, wait until filled with and directed by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4); then “Go” and win the lost, disciple new converts, and equip the saints (Matthew 29:19-20; Ephesians 4:12). Until or unless anointed by the Holy Spirit, “ministry” will be in our own strength with little or no fruit.
- Primary purpose for believers: conformity to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29). This is Christlikeness, not Christianity. Christianity has a tendency to morph with cultural and societal tides; Christlikeness remains steadfastly like Christ. If Christ isn’t evident in my life, talking about Him or representing Him before others will be powerless and pointless.
- Each person has personal accountability to God. We see this portrayed in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) and confirmed by the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15).
March on in Your Ministry!
As you discover and fulfill your ministry, be encouraged and inspired by the Apostle Paul’s marching orders. “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4). March on!