Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Big Shout Out To All You Who Minister Among Us

I am giving a big shout out to all you people in full time ministry out there. We are all ministers in this world, sharers of God's light, carriers of God's Word and Holy Spirit. We all have the responsibility of introducing Jesus to those who remain in darkness. We all have been commanded to know God's Word and to obey Jesus Christ, but there is a special group of people who have been set aside for the purpose of doing nothing but ministry. People automatically think "Pastor" but there are many different ministries headed up by full time ministers who are not pastors.

It is important that the Body of Christ recognize these individuals and honours them. It is not that they are some kind of superstar but it is simply due to what they do that they are worthy of honour; it is the way things are done in the Kingdom of God. The psalmist of Psalm 134 wrote a blessing for those who ministered in the temple:

Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD
   who minister by night in the house of the LORD.
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
   and praise the LORD.
May the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth,
   bless you from Zion.
(Psalm 134:1-3)

Sometimes this is a difficult subject for us because we do not understand honouring authority or showing them respect. This is a problem because the Kingdom is not a "free and easy" place but has a structure of authority. I hate to tell you but it's not even democratic. Jesus Christ is the head of the Body, the authority over it, and he has anointed some to be leaders in this Body, and we are told to submit to these leaders. But we have had problems with authority since the Garden. Most people glaze over what Jesus taught. One simple example out of his teaching:

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. (Matthew 23:2-3)

Even though the authority was wrong Jesus told the people they must remain in obedience, just don't follow their example. A few decades later this authority was destroyed by the Romans. God has his way with dealing with authority gone wrong. But we have been told to honour, respect and obey:

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:17-18)

In fact, we are told there is a natural blessing when we choose to lift up those who minister among us instead of tearing them down and criticizing:

Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Hebrews 13:17)

We are blessed simply by not making it a harder task to minister.

The task of ministry is hard enough without being loaded down with the criticism of those who are being served. Have you ever experienced it? Perhaps you were volunteering to serve a dinner to the homeless and you heard some complaining and criticism from those who were receiving the free meal. How did it make you feel? Did it tarnish the experience, maybe rob you of some of the joy? Those who minister among us, in whatever ministry it may be, have made great sacrifices to be obedient to God. They have set aside their own interests and desires for the sake of other people. What they have done deserves honour, respect and support from the rest of the Body of Christ. Their task can sometimes be heavy but the cheering crowd can often lighten that load.

So, for all you in ministry out there, we give you this great big shout out of appreciation. Thank you for all you do to represent Jesus and the Church. Thank you for doing such a great job. Thank you for all your faithfulness. Don't give up now because much is being produced through you. May you be blessed in your labour. May the Lord provide for your every need. May his joy be overwhelming today. May his presence prove to be your strength. May your family remain strong and close and may no division come near your door. May your spouse and children rise up and call you blessed. Thank you. 

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