Minsters of the Gospel
Written by Fred Schlichter   
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When we think of pastors and ministers, we tend to visualize of the ones leading and presiding over a congregation of believers. That is, those who have been expressly ordained and given a special spiritual charge over a group of people. Their efforts are most definitely important and crucial, especially in these last days. However, the labor of pastors and ministers is not a work solely unto themselves. In a much broader sense, those of us who profess Christ as our Savior have been called to be ministers ourselves.

 

jesus_disciplesWhen Jesus asked the very pointed question to Peter in John 21, “Do you love me?”, not just once, but three times, upon Peter’s affirmative response Jesus said to feed and tend His sheep. This of course was not a message to Peter alone, but Jesus meant it for every one of us who claim to follow Him. In the same way, we are to feed and tend to His flock in whatever ways we can, but not overlooking the many lost sheep that have gone astray.

 

When we contemplate what it means to be a minister, perhaps we most often reflect on the Great Commission given by Jesus to His disciples found in Matthew 28:18, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” This is without a doubt the ultimate goal and high calling for each one of us as Christians, to lead people to salvation. We all have been given a very special task, and more to the point, we each have a very special function and purpose as ministers of the Gospel. Not only that, but it is an enormous responsibility, and quite frankly, not one to be taken lightly. Hopefully though, it is one which we are all eager to carry out.

 

It is important to note that while there are abundant blessings in doing the vital work as ministers of the Gospel, there are also dire consequences in neglecting the duties of every Christian. As it is written, “ Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:17. This idea is reflected by Ellen White, who wrote,

 

To neglect this work is surely to invite spiritual feebleness and decay. Where there is no active labor for others, love wanes, and faith grows dim.” – The Desire of Ages, pg. 824.

 

What’s more, we will be held accountable for that which we could have done, yet did not do.

 

saddest wordsTo those who claim fellowship with Christ, yet have been indifferent to the needs of their fellow men, He will declare in the great Judgement day, ‘I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity.’ ”  Luke 13:27 – The Desire of Ages, pg. 825

 

That stated, what does it mean to be a minister? The origin of the word “minister” itself refers to a person of ‘lower’ status or more appropriately, a ‘servant’. This implies that, in a Christian context of course, we are to humble ourselves in order to compassionately meet the needs of others. Jesus is our greatest model of this. His entire life was a life of service. Everywhere He went, He ministered to the needs of people. As His followers, we are to do as He did.jesus_washfeet

 

Consider the example of the Good Samaritan, when he took compassion on the man who was robbed. Jesus asked who proved to be a neighbor to the man. “He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You go, and do likewise.’ ” – Luke 10:37

 

Of course, being a minister involves so much more than teaching and baptizing, but it does not have to be complicated. It can be as simple as lending a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. We do not have to preach lengthy, eloquent sermons, but merely to reveal God’s love for others through our own actions to them. A life of service, like Jesus’ life, is a living sermon. It is through our kind and caring actions, and our continual attribution of these actions to God’s goodness that will provoke the hearts of others to yearn to know more about God’s love and character. One considerate, compassionate act could be all someone needs for them to see the love of God and move their hearts to Jesus, and in turn become ministers themselves by their testimony of what God has done for them through us.

 

Jesus_demoniacsWhen Jesus drove the unclean spirits from the demoniacs, the men naturally wanted to stay with Him, having been so profoundly impacted by His actions. But Jesus, who was compelled to leave the country of Gergesene by the locals, in His wisdom told them to stay and tell what great things the Lord had done for them. This quite possibly advanced the good news of the Messiah more than anything else could in that region, all because of a single merciful act of service.

 

Not one sermon from His lips had ever fallen upon their ears. They could not instruct the people as the disciples who had been daily with Christ were able to do. But they bore in their own persons that Jesus was the Messiah. They could tell what they knew; what they themselves had seen, and heard, and felt the power of Christ. This is what everyone can do whose heart has been touched by the grace of God.” – The Desire of Ages, pg. 340

 

There is no shortage of need and suffering in this world. The afflictions and perils of life are too numerous to count. Thus there are plenty of opportunities to serve. Whatever it may be, we have the means to help ease these woes. Ministering can take many forms; touching people in real, tangible, and deeply personal ways.

 

Ours may not be gifts of manifesting miracles or driving out demons like Jesus did. But we have been endowed with various God-given talents, abilities, experiences, time, resources, and other gifts. By using these things as well as doing simple thoughtful and compassionate acts of love are we able to help those around us. No one is incapable of this. All of us can pray, and render assistance, support, comfort, counsel, encouragement, and the like to those in need. It’s really not that difficult. When we reach out and attend to others in such Godly ways, we are essentially opening a door for them to the kingdom of Heaven. We need only to be aware, attentive, and willing to serve.

 

Let us ask God how He will use us as we consider these thoughts. Be prayerful for Him to guide you to the person or persons to whom you can minister.

 

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