Do you want to be in ministry?
During a precious year at ministry school, many esteemed leaders and visiting speakers spoke into my life. It was such a privilege. Many of them had achieved admirable exploits for Jesus. Their fruit was inspiring and they frequently challenged us to pursue our own callings. But, although I highly respect these leaders there was sometimes a temptation to think that what we do for Jesus is a measure of our intimacy with Him.
I would listen to ministers who had seen revival break out or who had led many to the Lord. I would see people operating at a high level in the gifts of healing or prophecy and I would think, “I’d like to do that.” Implicit in this longing was the feeling that God would surely be pleased with me if I served Him in a more spectacular way. Yet Jesus makes it clear that many people doing great works in His name will be shocked to discover that He never truly knew them (Matthew 7:23). This is sobering.
Ministry itself doesn’t take us closer to God
There was the assumption that ministry school was preparing us for something in the future and it was not uncommon for people to ask whether we thought we would ‘go into ministry’ one day. Perhaps you’re in a similar situation. Maybe you’ve got a desire for ministry or have a call over your life you’re waiting to unfold. Perhaps you’re wishing you could do great and noble things for God.
Our highest ministry call is to love God and that starts right now. Today, not in some distant future we’re preparing for.
Whilst this is not wrong in itself, it would be a mistake to believe that when you are in ministry you will somehow be closer to God. That you will somehow love or know Him more, or that He will suddenly be more pleased with you. The intimacy we have with Jesus in this very moment is what really counts. If our pursuit of Him is not as devoted as it should be, why would ministry improve it? If we truly want to please Jesus then we must surrender everything to Him, even all our best ministry plans.
Many people spend a great deal of time fretting over their calling and giftings. Some wonder whether God will really use them in the ways He has promised. But it is not about our gifts, our ministry, or our mission. God has plainly said that He will build His church (Matthew 16:18). Our highest ministry call is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). That starts right now, today, not in some distant future that we are preparing for.
Fellowship with God is our foremost ministry
Many have accomplished great things for God and these things should be commended. However our heart should never be to replicate such fruit alone, but to focus first and foremost on our fellowship with God. I like what Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City said when asked how he would feel if his ministry failed. “IHOP-KC is not my dream, it is my assignment,” he said. “The dream of my heart is what happens between my heart and Jesus.”
In conclusion, God’s Word doesn’t tell us to fix our eyes on our ministry plans. The Scriptures instruct us to simply fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). Moreover, when our lives are over, the depths to which we desired to know God will please Him far more than the heights that we scaled in ministry. Do you want to be in ministry? You already are! Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And love others as yourself.