Some years ago I found the following scripture that convicted me. "A curse on anyone who is lax in doing the LORD's work! A curse on anyone who keeps their sword from bloodshed!” (Jeremiah 48:10, NIV) I have spent some time studying this verse and working through its implications. I have come to the following conclusions:
1. All Christians are called to minister.
Ministry is a form of service to the church. All ministries require individuals, either paid or volunteers, to execute ministry. I could develop the point that all Christians should serve; however, this is not the purpose of this piece. If you dispute this point, I suggest you move on now.
2. The Lord gifts all Christians differently.
This is what Paul affirmed in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. The good news is that God will equip believers in Christ with the spiritual gifts He wants them to have. We do not choose our gifts; God selects for us. God gives these gifts to believers in the church so that the gifts work together to increase the effectiveness of the Lord’s ministry.
3. The church is as strong as its weakest link.
We have all heard this phrase and used it to describe problems in an organization. The statement can also be true with the church. If a Sunday morning greeter or usher is a sourpuss, his or her attitude could prevent visitors from returning. If Sunday school teachers are poorly equipped or don’t show up on time to minister to children, the church fails in these areas
I believe that if we are not involved in the ministry of our church; then, we’re not fully committed. Years ago I provided counsel to a business person and broached the subject of tithing. “Adam’’ said, “Well I make $400-$500,000 a year and if I tithed that would be $40,-50,000 a year in donations. I would want to serve on the finance committee or the church board. I agreed but it was clear he had neither position. The issue wasn’t about money; it was about his unwillingness to involve himself in God’s church and His work.
When I work with somebody who needs to become involved in ministry, I take them back to the scripture from Jeremiah (48:10). They are not my words or the words of a pastor; they come directly from the Lord. When I quote the words, I’ve seen conviction come over many individuals. Anytime I’m tempted to ease off my conviction about ministry involvement, these words come to my mind and convict me to move forward.
I would make one clarification. This scripture is not a license to overcommit and or overwork, but to seek the ministry the Lord would have you do in a competent and thorough way.
Long ago Paul wrote the words, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14, NIV)
If you are currently involved in ministry, I encourage you to do the best possible job you can and follow through diligently. If you’re not currently involved in ministry, pray and seek God’s direction. Identify your spiritual gifts and employ them in ministry. I take the words of Jeremiah seriously. I believe that there will be a curse on anyone who is negligent in carrying out the Lord’s work. Find your place to serve, and you will find God’s blessing.
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