You do not have a ministry! Only Jesus does!
It’s not uncommon to hear Christians use words like “my ministry” to refer their participation in God’s work. I appreciate the heart behind those words, but recently I’ve been reflecting on this, and here’s where I’m at …
When people speak of “my” ministry, they’re on slippery ground. Paul warned the leaders about people who would rise up …
“From among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:30, ESV).
The goal of ministry is to draw people after Jesus, not after us. Yes, we are to provide an example for others to follow. But the focus is Jesus, not our giftedness, our personality or our take. Ministry is about Jesus, not about you (or me, or anyone).
Earlier in the very same scene, Paul spoke this way about ministry …
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:24, ESV).
1. Paul spoke of “the” ministry, not “my” ministry. Yes, he did speak about “my course” of ministry. But Paul was painfully aware ministry was not about him, it was about Jesus. The ministry is about Jesus and comes from Jesus.
2. Paul understood ministry is received. Like a baton that was passed to him, Paul recognized he was to carry on Jesus’s ministry. Only Jesus has a ministry! We get to participate through our own unique personality and gifts. But the ministry is not ours, never will be ours and cannot bear our name.
So what’s the point?
Ministry is a privilege, and we need to speak about it that way.
- We do not (and cannot) have a ministry, only Jesus does!
- We have no right to turn Jesus’s ministry into “our” ministry.
- Jesus is the point, the focus and the Star of the show (not me, or you).
- Only ministry that is done with Jesus as the goal will last (read it here)!
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