Why It’s Time for You to Enter the Ministry

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Colossians 4:17

Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”

CONSIDER THIS

I wonder if Archippus was there when they read the letter. Was he on the proverbial fence as to whether he would fulfill his calling? Was he waiting on a word from the Lord? A lot of people are.

Here are the deets on Archippus. We have it on good evidence he was a preacher in Colossae. There’s pretty good evidence he went on to be the bishop of Laodicea. He is also referenced as a “fellow soldier” in Paul’s letter to Philemon (v. 2 NRSV).

So beyond that, what do we do with a verse like, “Tell Archippus: ‘See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord'” (Col. 4:17)?

I’ve got an idea. Try this.

Tell [insert your name here]: “see to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”

You have one, you know—a ministry. In the original Greek language, the word for ministry means, “to wait tables.” Think about the last time you were at a restaurant where a waiter or waitress served you. In the biblical sense of the term, they were ministering to you. Where in your life do you find yourself waiting tables as it relates to serving other people?

We are coming to the close of a period of church history where the general understanding has been that one had to be a minister (read, clergy) in order to have a ministry. Clergy did the “ministry” and the laity helped out around the edges where needed. This model still prevails in a lot of places, but it does not resemble the church envisioned by the New Testament.

You have a ministry. Maybe you’ve not understood it as such. Maybe you’ve thought of it as just doing good or doing the right thing or as a civic duty. What if it could be raised to the level of Jesus? What if that ordinary act of service, of waiting tables, could be charged with the energy of the Holy Spirit? The task would still be ordinary, but your touch would carry transformational power through doing it.

Maybe you have a ministry at the local assisted living center? Maybe your ministry is in your work as a lawyer or a doctor or a checker at Wal-Mart. Maybe your ministry is as a crossing guard at an elementary school. Maybe you have a ministry of being Santa Claus during the Christmas season. Perhaps your ministry is driving elderly people to the doctor who can’t drive themselves.

Whatever it might be, what would it mean to raise it to the level of Jesus? It would mean at least two things. First, it would mean lowering your stature in the sense of your willingness to take on lower and lower tasks. Second, it would mean raising the level of spiritual power in your service. You are responsible for the first step. Jesus will take care of the second. We see this marvelously at play when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet.

“See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord” (v. 17). It’s probably a good word we want to start speaking to each other too.

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who came not to be served but to serve. Give me fresh eyes to see the possibilities to minister to others “in the Lord.” We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. Have you ever thought of yourself as a minister? Why or why not?
  2. What is your ministry? How do you wait on tables?
  3. What might it look like for your ministry to be raised to the level of Jesus—to go lower in stature and higher in power?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

3 COMMENTS

  1. #1) Yes, I have come to realize that not only I , but every other believer in Christ Jesus who was baptized into his name, has been called into Christian ministry. This epiphany took place during my research into the purpose and authenticity of present day gifts of the Spirit. I was raised in a tradition that basically ignored most of the doctrine of Spiritual gifts. Once married, we spent time in some diverse denominations. The teachings on spiritual gifts were “all over the map”. They varied from the cessation of certain gifts to the absolute necessity of having a certain gift to achieve full salvation. Of course this left me totally confused, and led me to research this topic to arrive at the understanding I now have.
    #2) I prayed for God to grant me wisdom and understanding. As a result the Lord enabled me to discover my calling to help other believers better understand the Bible. I “serve tables” at a local nursing home on Tuesday mornings, at an adult SS class at a local UMC congregation on Sunday mornings , assist the teaching ministry at a Wednesday night adult Bible study at a local Church of Christ congregation, and facilitate a home based gathering of believers
    from various local churches at our ranch on Sunday afternoons.
    #3) My ultimate desire is to used by God to serve in some capacity to facilitate the bringing together of the currently fractured body of Christ to better facilitate the next Great Awakening. I don’t believe that a dismembered body can accomplish this. There must be true unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace, with each member doing its part, to grow into the full stature of Christ. (Ephesians 4:1-16)

  2. 1) I once did a New Testament word study on the word “called.” The books of 1 Corinthians and Romans are written to people who are “called to be holy people” (NIV–1 Corinthians 1:2 & Romans 1:7.) That means all the members of the body of Christ are called to be holy people. We are all called to serve, follow, and obey the risen Jesus–to be led by the Spirit. (Romans 8:14.) The book of Revelation calls the body of Christ “a kingdom of priests” and Peter calls Christians “a chosen people, a royal priesthood.” From this and “sola Scripture” Martin Luther saw the doctrine of “the priesthood of the believer,” that all Christians are priests. Biblically Christians are not divided into clergy and laity. All are called to be holy people!

    2) Jesus’ mother describes my ministry. She told the servants at the wedding in Cana, “Whatever He (Jesus) says to you, do it.” I seek to stay sensitive to Jesus’ presence and then to say, write, and/or do whatever He prompts me to, whether I want to or not.

    3) Often Jesus tells me to say, write, or do something that lowers me in statue. One of my best friends says that I want people to like me, but I say, write, and do things that make a lot of people uncomfortable, and they distance themselves from me. That’s because that although I want to be liked by people, I’d rather please God than man. For us to minister at the level of Jesus we must deny ourselves and follow Him as we let Him continually lead and direct us from the inside out. “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

  3. Colossians 3:3&4 – “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in Glory.” (NIV) We tend to concentrate on verse 4 and let go of verse 3. Evil does not like the Server for God. It has been amazing to see how so many prominent “people of faith” concern themselves with their posture in the caste system we’ve developed. How, here in the “Bible Belt” and especially in the area of prosperity where I am, is there the highest suicide rate in the state in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. I have seen similar stats for counties where there are seemingly strong “Christian” populations. The UMC’s problem with sin driven management is a perfect example of evil taking over and doing what Paul described in 1 Thessalonians being the goal of evil: replacing God. Then there is the issue of Acts 19:1-8 in the USCCB reading this morning reminding us that the Baptism of John for Repentance is only the first step without the Character of Jesus’ Spirit, Holy Spirit, indwelling (John 15). How many have had “hands laid on them and the Holy Spirit came upon them?” All twelve men, per Scripture, in Corinth experienced this kind of additional Baptism. I’ve asked without receiving and have taken to the notion that “having then gifts differing” must apply. Now, I’m not so sure as I have read “Why I’m Still Surprised by the Spirit” and the Circuit Riders of Asbury’s time. I’ve also worked with a Charismatic preacher and witnessed others being “slain in the Spirit.” It has brought into question a social order where none is supposed to exist per “Christ is all, and is in all.” It would seem that the Body is disjointed, dismembered, incomplete, corrupted, problematic. I am envious of those who ask for Wisdom and receive it. When I share insight I receive (like now), it is generally rejected out of hand or worse. It seems those who are true servants (aren’t on someone’s payroll) are not available to serve their wife and children as the profane are able to the administration of ministries to their family’s temples of the “Holy Spirit.” Certainly, the reaction of most of those in the “Evangelical” congregations I’ve known is “not go get involved” beyond a kind word of sympathy or dismissive prayers that “God’s got it.”

    Yes, to commenter number 2, an Awakening would tend to mean One Bride/Body, like-minded and members one of another is needed if it (An Awakening) is going to happen, short of the Spirit’s decent upon the “Chosen”. The “God’s got this” attitude of insulation living is not getting/giving God His Glory, People edified or making Saints. Mark 3:35.

    We celebrate today: death for life’s opportunities not to be wasted on things other than the same Purpose George Washington lived – seeking God’s Wisdom and Will for others to have the opportunity/Light to become Citizens like himself.

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