The ministry. This phrase means many different things to people, depending on their church or spiritual upbringing. I blogged a bit about what “in the ministry” truly means, HERE, a few weeks back. But there’s many who feel called to part-time or even full-time ministerial work – paid leadership positions in church or the biggie in our day, itinerate ministry. It seems that every young and zealous church person I meet lately, has plans to travel in the ministry someday… the sooner the better.
I get all that. I’ve been there. And, it can be incredibly frustrating to feel that you have a call and know that God wants to use you and not be where you want to be in that timeline of fulfillment of the destiny.
Matthew 23 brings us some warning and some clarity for this very situation. This chapter addresses some of the wrong attitudes of the “religious scholars and the ‘separated ones'”. As Jesus-loving believers, we don’t ever want to recognize ourselves in the attitudes of the Pharisees but, unfortunately, it happens. I was reading it out of The Passion Translation recently and love how it hit home for me. Let’s take a look.
First, a couple of DON’T’S on How to Be in the Ministry…
“Everything they do is done for show and to be noticed by others.” (Matthew 23:5)
When you are looking for opportunities to join the ranks of full-time (or even part-time) ministry, it’s easy to fall into this trap. You need opportunity so you make sure you are noticed by those who could give you one. But don’t. Just don’t. Schmoozing up to those in leadership for the purpose of being noticed is not the way God is going to launch you. Promise.
“And how they love to be admired by men with their titles of respect, aspiring to be recognized in public and have others call them ‘Reverend’.” (Matthew 23:7)
This isn’t using your gift of encouragement or revelation to bless someone, this is a ugly heart motivation of throwing around words and perceived “calling”. This looks like, looking for -no, actually digging for- validation among believers. You want that stamp of approval so you throw around your gift (or your perceived gift), hoping to find validation that you are what you want to be. Though validation from people is nice, it isn’t the way to get launched into ministry. When it comes down to it, you only need the Lord’s validation – of your gifting and anointing- and for the timing of when you go.
Alright, now the DO’S of How to Be in the Ministry…
“The greatest among you will be the one who always serves others from the heart.” (Matthew 23:11)
You feel called to a public place of ministry? This is where is starts and ends. Serving others. Your gifting and anointing will never be greater than serving others. On the contrary, gifting and anointing is TO serve others. If you get to do that full-time with financial provision attached, it is up to Him.
“…These matters are fine, yet you ignore the most important duty of all: to walk in the love of God, to display mercy to others, and to live with integrity. Readjust your values and place first things first.” (Matthew 23:23b)
There’s no problem with wanting to be in the ministry. For many, that is a desire the Lord will fulfill in His timing. But, in our pursuit and desire, we cannot ignore the most important duty of a minister (or any believer):
- Walk in the Love of God.
- Display Mercy to Others.
- Live with Integrity.
So, you want to be in the ministry? Talk to Jesus about it more than you talk to others about it. Let him highlight you and launch you when it’s time. Serve others. Always. Walk in love, consider others with mercy and live an honest and pure life.
“Remember this: If you have a lofty opinion of yourself and seek to be honored, you will be humbled. But if you have a modest opinion of yourself and choose to humble yourself, you will be honored.” (Matthew 23:12)
So lastly, be patient and let God take care of the rest!
(Dani’s Note: The featured image is my husband… A man who is in full-time itinerate ministry. A man who is humble, who serves others, walks in love, is considerate and merciful and is a man of integrity. He is my hero!)