Have you ever asked yourself, “Why do I do what I do?” To be more specific, add the phrase “IN MINISTRY.”
“Why do I do what I do in ministry?”
Some of you might answer this way:
I do it for the Lord.
I do it because I love people.
I do it for the paycheck.
I do it because I don’t know how to do anything else.
I do it because I don’t want to do anything else.
All the above.
None of the above.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the best answer), how would you rate these responses, as being something you would admit to? Let me take a wild guess; some (maybe most) of you would have given answer number one a “10” on the scale of 1 to 10. Probably response number three would have been your least favorite answer, number six would fit those who are sure of their calling, and number seven would fit those who haven’t heeded their God-given calling.
Even though I have been in ministry fulltime for 26years, I have been ministering at the local church level for the past 38 out of the 39 years of knowing the Savior. You would think that, after all these years of ministry, I would have settled once and for all the question, “Why do I do what I do in ministry?” Such evaluation grapples with our most basic motives for why we minister. After going through such self-evaluation, some words like doubt, fear, trust, sincerity, and faithfulness come to mind. However, the fact of the matter is, why we do what we do is found in one word—CALLING. Simply put, we are called by God to minister in the location we are now in, using the gifts and talents He has given us, for His glory and honor. And what I have found out through the years is that this one word “CALL” and its many variations, is more than a thought, a creed, and a doctrine. It is what gets us through all the challenges, trials, victories and defeats that we will experience in local church ministry.
I like the way the Apostle Paul opens up his letter to the church at Rome. “Paul a slave of Christ Jesus called as an apostle and singled out for God’s good news.” (HCSB) The trouble is most of us don’t look at this verse as having something to do with us personally. After all, Paul was an apostle. Like the pastor and teacher, the apostles comprised the key group that ministers in the local church. Have you heard the phrase, “Let the pastor do it. He’s the professional.”? Nothing could be further from the truth. And that is exactly what is wrong with the church in America today. Very few people who fill the pews on Sunday morning see themselves as being called by God to do a work within the local church they belong to.
For those of you who know your calling, you know why you exist, know what your purpose is, and what He has called you to. You know what your spiritual gifts and talents are and, you know who has empowered you for the ministry you are now in. You know what it means to be a slave of Jesus Christ, and to proclaim Him to a world that is in great need of His salvation. The fact of the matter is: you do what you do for Christ. Not just because of Him (which is all important), not because you love people, certainly not because of a paycheck, and not because you don’t know how to do anything else. You do what you do for Him because you CAN’T DO ANYTHING ELSE—BECAUSE YOU ARE CALLED! You could not anymore resist His calling in your life than to resist the gravity that holds your feet to the ground. Ministry is not just something you do; it is a way of life for you. The truth of the matter is, it’s His calling that brought you to ministry and it should be His calling that keeps you in ministry.
Perhaps the real question should be asked of those that have no ministry within the local church: Why are you not in ministry? Why are you not using your spiritual gifts? If you are a Christian attending or a member of a local church, why are you not heeding the call of God in ministry? I would like to hear from all of you on this subject of calling, and not just from those who attend New Beginnings Community Church.
This is Pat Whalen wishing you joy in Jesus!