By Trina Bresser Matous
Very often when we think of Christian ministry and ministering to people, we think of priests and pastors. In our minds they most definitely are chosen for ministry as they preach during service, perform weddings and funerals, call on the sick, counsel the suffering and provide assistance to the needy. Is that what is meant by Christian ministry?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “minister” means to give aid or service. Notice that this definition says nothing about who and is all about what is done.
Two passages will help to clarify what it means to minister.
Minister Means to Meet People’s Needs
Matthew 25.31-46 is the parable of a king who separates his people into two groups. The people in the first group are invited to enjoy the magnificent inheritance prepared for them. Why? Because this group provided food
for the hungry, clothing for the naked, care for the sick and visited the prisoners.
The second group, on the other hand, is condemned to the same despicable judgment reserved for the devil and his angels. Why were they so condemned? Because they had failed to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, care for the sick or visit the prisoners.
It is interesting to note that in Jesus’ parable the king wasn’t looking for how the people served the king himself, but how they served any of the king’s subjects, right down to the very least of them. Additionally, the king didn’t limit his judgment to just a certain group of people. He had gathered all the people of all the nations. No one was exempt from caring for the needs of others.
Spiritual Gifts Are God’s Invitation to Minister to Others
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul encouraged his readers to view themselves as a body of believers. For Paul the body was an appropriate analogy because it is made up of many parts – feet, legs, hands, arms, eyes, ears, and mouth, among many others. A missing or malfunctioning part affects the rest of the body’s ability to function fully.
Likewise, the body of believers is made up of many people, each with a unique set of spiritual gifts, talents and skills. Each person has a role to play in order that the body as a whole functions to the potential God created it for. As Paul stated, some people are called to be apostles, prophets, teachers, workers of miracles, healers, and to help others, etc. No one person is called to all the roles, but every person is called to some role. Every person has a part to play in ministering to the body as a whole to ensure it functions to its highest potential.
Everyone is Called to Minister.
The answer to today’s question is that everyone is called to ministry. Some people are called to minister on a full-time, paid basis, others on a volunteer basis, while still others are called to minister as a part of other roles and responsibilities.
The single mom who works hard to ensure her children are raised with godly values and good character is ministering no less than the preacher who prepares a sermon every week. The army sergeant who provides a listening ear and godly advice to soldiers returning from deployment is ministering no less than the pastor who leads his congregation. And the grade school, high school, or college-age student who stands for Christ and serves as a role model for other students is also ministering no less than the youth pastor. And the adult child who cares for an aging parent is ministering no less than the priest who calls on patients in the hospital.Ministry is not confined to those who hold the formal title of pastor, priest, or preacher. Click To Tweet
God has the incredible ability to use each of us in the circumstances we find ourselves in to share His truth with the world. Ministry is not confined to those who hold the formal title of pastor, priest, or preacher. Ministry is done by every person who shares the truth of Christ, gives food to the hungry, and cares for the needs of those who cannot meet their own needs.
Has God used you to meet the needs of others?
Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear how God is using you.
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