Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.Matthew 16:24
The past few days, I’ve been meditating on the call God has placed on my life to preach, teach, and demonstrate His kingdom. I’m even wrestling with the urge to consider being ordained, “officially” recognized by the Church as called to lead and build up God’s house. But, what does that really mean? What does it mean to be called to ministry, biblically speaking? Well, I want to share with you what Jesus is teaching me on that very subject!
First of all, I really want to clear up something that bugs me right off the bat: a minister is not a professional, official ministry person with authority and all the answers. That is such a false, and unfortunately modern, perception of what it means to be a minister, and that becomes clear when you look at Scripture! As Paul is rebuking the Corinthian church for getting behind certain leaders in the church as if it were a popularity contest, he says, “This, then, is how you should regard us (leaders in the church): as servants of Christ and as stewards of the mysteries of God.” (1 Cor. 4:1) The Greek word for minister is diakonoi, and it simply means “servant.” That means Paul, who was called to be one of Jesus’ official representatives (apostles), saw himself and all other people called to ministry as just servants, entrusted with the job of preaching and teaching His truth!
With that out of the way, let’s look at the first key point of being a minister (servant) of the Gospel: looking to Jesus Christ as our example! When the Son of God entered our world, He came with a God-given ministry that He carried out perfectly by the power of the Holy Spirit. In other words, everything it means to be a good and faithful servant of God is modeled in Christ! He did ministry to the utmost: open to the Spirit, a student of Scripture, bold in His obedience, and willing to suffer for righteousness.
- As helpful and inspiring as people we look up to like John Wesley, Mike Todd, Billy Graham, Steven Furtick, and St. Francis are, our ultimate template and model for being ministers should be Jesus, the ultimate Servant! He went before us, showing us what a life filled with and empowered by the Spirit looks like. So we must deny ourselves, die to our own will and way of doing things, and follow the example of Jesus!