What Is Ministry?

“Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” (Acts 6:4 NLT)

Did you know the word “ministry” isn’t used in any of the four Gospel accounts in the King James Version of the Bible? It seems ironic on some levels that the first use of the word in the KJV is in Acts 1:17 in reference to Judas when Peter is recalling his part in their ministry with Jesus, and their need to replace him.

What comes first to your mind when you hear that word – “Ministry?” We commonly connect the members of the Clergy, those who have chosen to serve the Lord vocationally, as Ministers, and we’re right to do so. But we also use the term in reference to those who serve in other ways within the context of the Church – i.e., Elders, Deacons, Missionaries, even volunteers.

“Servant of All” “Used by permission, © Ray Majoran, GlimpseOfInfinity.com

Ministry basically means to serve or, as Strong’s Concordance says: “those who execute the commands of others.” When seen in its purely Biblical sense it can have reference to anyone who serves by Christ’s directive and to His honor and glory. Unfortunately, there have been and are those who use their “ministry” credentials to force their will on others irrespective of what the Lord clearly teaches in His Word.

Acts 6:4 in the KJV says: “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Ministry, in its best usage, is serving the Lord by giving visibility to His Holy Word through correct teaching and holy living. Ministry is that to which every believer is called, because we’re all called to serve and to illuminate the life of Christ through not only what we say, but how we give credence to our words through the way we live.

H. B. Charles, Jr. said: “Ministry is about fulfilling a calling, not practicing a vocation.” Across the years, as a pastor and since, I’ve met professional clergypersons who were a disgrace to their title. They cared very little about those they were called to “serve,” but milked their sacred position for its every advantage for themselves. I’m grateful, at least in my experience, they were few and far between.

Most men and women who serve the Lord vocationally are rock-solid and I sense the presence and power of the Lord when in their presence. They’re overworked and underpaid, but the joy of Jesus radiates from their countenance.

The Pastors and lay leaders of the church of which I’m privileged to be a part of in this season of my life, are among the absolute best I’ve ever met. They exude character, work tirelessly and love deeply. They’re an honor to their Lord and an immense blessing to those under their spiritual care.

We minister in Christ’s name to give, not to receive. Of course, serving pays rich dividends, but that’s not the goal of our ministry, it’s a very appreciated byproduct. We serve through whatever means possible to exalt our risen Savior and to point others to Him. He is the goal and prize of everything we do, say, or think as a child of God.

Paul wrote in Acts 20:35: “And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Regardless of how many hours we labor to the Lord’s honor, the blessing of serving always outshines whatever our service costs us, even to the giving of our life.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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