What exactly is the basis of a Christian Ministry? Is it our ability, education, talents and tactics? There are some who consider that possession of such things make them competent to minister. The general public too values such external things and promotes people to the service of the Lord!
But as the days go by, a true Servant of the Lord comes to discover that it is not by his strength and effort but by the gracious working of God alone the Lord’s work is possible. Before God begins to use a person effectively, He teaches this fact to him.
The best example is Moses. Stephen says, “Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.” Act.7:22. With all this intelligence and expertise he set out to serve the people of God in Egypt. By the show of might Moses supposed that the Israelites would consider him as the divinely appointed deliverer. Act.7:25. But we know the result: fight, murder, and withdrawal.
Always show of our strength is a failure in spiritual service. It is of flesh - the old sin nature. God can never bless or associate with the work of the flesh. God in His mercy teaches us this truth gradually as He did for Moses.
In the backside of the desert in Median the Lord trained Moses for the next forty years. Exodus 3:1ff. On the ‘passing-out day’ Moses confessed his inability and inadequacy. That is the moment when God steps in and true service begins. It is true in all the ages. When man comes to his end, God intervenes, equipping and empowering his servant. Yes as often we say, man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.
By the Spirit:
Christian ministry is His work in and through God’s people. Then alone the ministry becomes effective and fruitful. Remember the Lord’s words to Zerubbabel, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit says the Lord of Hosts.” Zech.4:6. Notice the promise of the Lord in Acts.1:8 “When you receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be witnesses …” It is not that you must ‘be witnesses’ but you will be witnesses.
It is the natural result of being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. More than our efforts to be a witness it’s our unconditional surrender to God that causes His power to rest on us and make us His witnesses. As we allow the Lord to work in and through us God begins to use us as instruments in His hands. Nothing to claim, boast or even grumble. For Christian ministry is His working in and through us, for His own glory. Yes, it is the Lord’s Work.
The work of Japanese painter Hokusai spanned many years before his death in 1849 at age 89. But toward the end of his life, the artist dismissed as nothing all the work he had done before age 50. It was only after he reached 70 that he felt he was turning out anything worthy of note.
On his deathbed Hokusai lamented, "If heaven had granted me five more years, I could have become a real painter."
Today in the Word
“Human fellowship can go to great lengths, but not all the way. Fellowship with God can go to all lengths.”
_____________________ Oswald Chambers
“Fellowship means among other things that we are ready to receive of Christ from others. Other believers minister Christ to me, and I am ready to receive.”