Grace For The Journey
I want to take a moment in the middle of another week to reflect on our motivation for the ministry we engage in for our Lord and Master. First, let me once again dispel the notion that only those in “full-time,” “professional” positions in the church or para-church organizations are in ministry for the Master. Every child born of grace is in full-time ministry, regardless of the work they perform (excluding, of course, work that would be prohibited by the revealed truth of Scripture – (i.e, dealing drugs, prostitution, pornography, etc.). The butcher, baker, and candlestick maker are all in full time ministry and should be “rendering service with a good will as to the Lord” (Ephesians 6:7) for the glory of our risen King. With that understood, let’s take a look at our motivation for ministry.
Have you ever felt unqualified or inadequate for the ministry of service God has called you to? If not, reflect more deeply on who you really are and what He has called you to . . . and you will! Feeling unqualified and inadequate puts us in good company. The apostle Paul felt this way.
“Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:8)
Paul knew he did not live up to the truth he was teaching and preaching. Yet he understood a great truth that we all need to understand:
His ministry was a grace given to him by the Lord Jesus Christ
. . . And so is yours!
Paul never felt worthy or adequate in his calling. He knew who he was before Jesus showed up (a great sinner in need of a great Savior), and he knew what he was after Jesus showed up (a saved sinner in need of a great Savior). Yet he fulfilled his calling, because he knew it was because it was caused by God’s grace and not his own goodness or good works.
It is only when we see our calling as a result solely of the undeserved and unmerited favor of God that we can we get past the concern for our worthiness and adequacy. Every person who has ever ministered in the name of the Most High God has been unworthy and inadequate – except, of course, for Jesus Himself.
For the rest of us, it is all because of God’s grace
. . . it is only because of God’s grace . . . period!
Some readers might be thinking: “What about my clear gifting in my area of ministry?” That is a fair question. It is answered in 1 Corinthians 4:7 when Paul rhetorically asked the Corinthians, “What do you have that you did not receive?” Do you think your gift is something that you somehow generated yourself?
The Bible says in Romans 12:6, “We have different gifts according to the grace given us.”
The spiritual gifts Paul was speaking about, gifts which equip, enable, and empower us to perform our ministries to the glory of the Master, are only a result of God’s grace. John the Baptist stated, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven” (John 3:27). We did not earn these gifts. We did not merit these gifts. We did not deserve these gifts. They are nothing less than a gracious gift from our good God, to be used for His glory in the advancement of the cause of His kingdom. Both the gifts and the ministries in which we are to use them are gifts of God’s amazing grace.
So what is our motivation for ministry? We know we don’t deserve to minister in the name of Jesus, and yet He has determined to call us into service. The key is found in 2 Corinthians 4:1 – “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.”
We are unworthy. We are inadequate. We are undeserving. But we are His, and He has called us into service for His glory, and that is enough to know! Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, never lost sight of his unworthiness and inadequacy as an apostle and writer. But he balanced his understanding of his emptiness with the fullness of Christ. To be sure, Paul knew he was undeserving of his calling, but because Jesus called him, that was enough to know.
We claim nothing in and of ourselves. If we are gifted, it is because He has gifted us. If we are fruitful, it is because He has made us fruitful. If we are blessed, it is because He has blessed us. Everything we get that is good comes from Him (see James 1:17).
Knowing that it is all of God’s grace is the motivation for ministry.
Knowing it is not about us and it is all about Him is the motivation to keep on keeping on, regardless of the cost or circumstance.
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”