Saturday, August 4, 2012

Who made you a minister?

Who made you a minister? 2 cor. 3:5-6
That was the question an Anglican priest asked me. It was during the burial of my elder brother. He had done something wrong and I tried to call him to order. But whether I was wrong or right I faced that question several times as I struggled as an independent minister. Some sat me down to prove to me why going into the minister without being sure that God called me is dangerous. Many who would have been faithful servants of God were discouraged from the Lord’s service because they felt God had not called them. A man who is currently roaming the streets of Port Harcourt as a drunk lost his ministry through this intimidation of the devil.  He was pasturing a congregation of about hundred members, when he suddenly surprised his members one Sunday morning. He called them together to let them know that he was not sure God had called him into the ministry. Even though the members tried to prevail on him, he was adamant. Today he walks around as a drunk. Let me ask a question; if God had not called him into the ministry, does it mean God created him to be a drunk?
In my first few years as a minister, a man who claimed to be a great servant of God sat me down to explain to me how people go into the ministry. He said some enter by ASSUMPTION, some by IMAGINATION, some by IMITATION, etc. there were many things he mentioned that day but all the grammars ended with –tion or –ism. How I admired him. I was later to discover that my “expositor” was living with another man’s wife and was using occult power. He tried to harm me spiritually one night but woke up a mad man. What do I mean? Satan was speaking through him, to confuse me and make me abandon my calling. I know some people who fell for the devil and walked out on their ministry.
I wish to say that it is necessary to be sure that what you are doing is God’s will. But you don’t need the devil, or public opinion to prove that. The bible can help you. That is what we are about to do. Not every servant of God in the bible had a dramatic calling like Moses and Paul. Not all births of servants of God were announced like that of Samson and John the Baptist. Peter’s birth was not announced by angels but his shadow expelled demons. Apollos did not see a blinding light from heaven, but he majored among the greats in his time. See the league he belonged; Peter, Paul and Apollos ( 1 cor. 3:21). Nehemiah never spoke with angels, but his ministry was not less important to that of Ezekiel. 
God rejects nobody
And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord
to serve him,
to love the name of the Lord,
and to worship him,
all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
and who hold fast to my covenant — 
these I will bring to my holy mountain
and give them joy in my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house will be called
a house of prayer for all nations." Isa 56:6-7 NIV

This is a trustworthy saying: "If someone aspires to be an elder, he desires an honorable position."  So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach.  He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money.  He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him.  For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God's church?      1 Tim 3:1-5 NLT
The above scriptures should convince you that God rejects nobody. The God of the bible will not meet a man striving with all his energy to please him and throw him out just because he was not specifically called to the ministry. Three things are obvious from these scriptures.
1.      Total strangers can give themselves to God’s service and he will welcome their service and reward them just like every other person. Foreigners or strangers to the commonwealth of Israel can still serve Jesus. In the contest of the above scripture, God was talking to gentiles, the people Jews call unclean; if the so-called unclean person will only separate himself from his unclean ways, God will accept his service. If that is the case with the unclean, how much more privileged are you, who have been made the righteousness of God through the blood of God’s only Son? (2 cor. 5:17, 21).  When men say you are not qualified tell them that God has qualified you.

Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.  He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. Col 2:18-19 NIV
2.      There is nothing wrong with you just desiring to do the work of the ministry. That means that you don’t necessarily need to wait for God to call you.  The New Living Translation used two words to express this; aspire and desire. That means that you can take the initiative in giving yourself to God’s service as a minister. So next time the devil begins to ask you through your mind or the voice of another man, “Are you sure God called you for this ministry?” remind him that you don’t need to be called especially before you can serve God. In fact he may taunt you that it was not God who called you but your pastor just appointed you. You need to read this-

 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.  Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless — not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.  He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. Titus 1:5-9 NIV
       The above scripture states that your senior pastor, just like Titus can prayerfully appoint you as a minister.      Thank God for those who had a dramatic invitation to the ministry, but that does not mean that yours is any less important to God.
3.      Ministry requires proper preparation and adjustment of perspective if you must succeed in it. If your ministry is not doing well, it is not because God did not call you. The man of God T.L Osborn said that he never heard any dream, vision or voice from heaven. He only read it said in the bible, “Go in to the world and preach…” and he went in obedience. Few ministers in the past five centuries can boast of the many signs that followed his ministry. I will leave the outlined qualifications in the above stated scriptures for your careful assessment. If you find that some of those points are not true in your life, then perhaps that could be the reason your ministry is not making head way.
To round up this chapter, I wish to state that everybody face challenges in life and endeavor; believers and unbelievers alike. But it is devil’s habit to point to your ministry as the reason you are not moving on in life. Take time to look at people around you, are they not facing challenges. In another way devil will accuse God in your heart for neglecting you. Before you agree with him, take time and consider your life. Is it true that God has abandoned you in the past?

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