Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Its NOT Ministry When...

Every church has them, the folks that volunteer for a job, a task, or a ministry, and then spend an equal amount of time complaining about how hard it is, making sure everyone knows what they are doing, and expecting to be lauded for their accomplishment, however minor. When I read the gospel I am becoming more and more convinced that these three traits are signs that what they are doing is NOT ministry. It is just causing everyone around them misery. Ministry is when we do work for God and God gets the glory.

Its NOT ministry if you complain about it. Jesus made it clear that the path to following him was a cross not a cruise when he said,“take up your cross.” Throughout the ministry of Jesus he was surrounded by people who were demanding something from him, faced immeasurable opposition, and ended his earthy days by carrying a cross to the place of his own crucifixion. Even in the Garden of Gethsemene he didn’t complain, he took his cares to God and then accepted the call that was placed upon him. The moment we complain about how hard the ministry is, is the moment it ceases to be ministry and becomes misery. 

Its NOT ministry if you are quick to take credit for it. Once you wave the flag of your accomplishment it becomes about you and not about God. Jesus was pretty clear that we are not to “let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” What we do, we do for God. We don’t put plagues on it, expect banners for it, or make sure we do it when everyone sees us. Real ministry doesn’t care who gets the credit as long as God gets the glory.

Its NOT ministry if you have to be begged to do it and expect to be praised for it. Jesus told the story about two men praying. One, a religious man stood and listed his accomplishments with great volume so everyone would know how “godly” he was, the other bowed low and whispered prayers of repentance. Who did Jesus honor? The one who went to God realizing that he needed God and not the one who thought God needed him. Some how in the church we have created a culture that there is the expectation that God needs us. To the contrary, God is going to do what God is going to do, we can be part of the miracle or part of the problem, its our choice. God’s hand is always open, issuing an invitation to join with Him in the great work of redemption, but it’s a divine calling to accept, not a resume builder to be praised for.

Ministry is about doing what we are called to do, regardless of accolades or adoration without complaint or complicity. Ministry is about accepting our divine calling which may include menial tasks so that God sized things can be accomplished. Sure, nobody will know if you vacuumed the carpet, cleaned the bathrooms, or folded the bulletins. Nobody will realize who cleaned the windows or organized the mission project, but we aren’t doing it for them, we are doing it for Him! Ministry is not about who gets the credit, its about God getting the glory, Its not about me, its about Jesus. So the next time I start to think, “nobody notices all the things I do,” I will try to remember that I must decrease so that He can increase!

Just a nobody trying to get everybody to meet Somebody who loves them!

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