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“But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry”.
Ministry… for such an overused word in Christian nomenclature, it is also often the most misunderstood concept. To many people, the word ministry automatically translates to pastoral responsibility, public preaching, and this overwhelming feeling of religious responsibility. Maybe this is why most people would rather not be associated with the title. The mere mention of the word has a larger than life feeling. However, the truth is that every Christian is a minister. In 2 Corinthians 5:18, Paul affirms us in the fact that the ministry of reconciliations is inherently given unto all believers. In fact, the Greek word for ministry, diakona, denotes attendance, attentiveness, and service. So maybe the best way to phrase the question is not “what is your ministry?”, but rather “how do you serve God?” What tools and resources do I use to show my attentiveness to God? What is my functionality in the Kingdom?
When it comes to our functionality in the Kingdom, our tools are different and our expressions of devotion are unique, however these are all considered acts of ministry in God’s eyes. Paul provides a four part charge to his young apprentice (1) keep your head in all situations; (2) endure hardship; (3) do the work of an evangelist; and (4) discharge all the duties of your ministry. The first two charges encourage Timothy to focus on his inward disposition; the latter two are calls to action. The work of an evangelist was the focus of my last devotional. This post focuses on fulfilling our individual ministry responsibilities. Evangelism focuses on our reach and influence with other people. We present Christ to others through our love, character, actions, and professionalism. However, when we speak of fulfilling our ministry, this is a more personal sacrifice that is directed towards God. Make no mistake, our ministry positively impacts people for the Lord, but this is the area where we work to fulfill our distinct purpose on this earth.
I find this charge to be the most powerful and relevant statement that Paul makes to Timothy. Paul’s encouragement was not merely verbal, but this was actually his testimony. This Apostle knew that achieving God’s purpose in life was the unmistakable and ultimate goal of our inward pursuits. All of the actions taken would be for naught, if it never led to the fulfillment of one’s ministry responsibilities. In essence, Paul wanted to ensure that Timothy would never stray away from what truly mattered amidst the busyness of life. I can almost hear Paul’s voice in Timothy’s head reminding him “have you fulfilled your ministry?”, “How close are you to attaining your purpose?”
I want you to consider your purpose; the reason God planted you on this earth. What is your service that you render to God, to let him know that he matters the most? How do you express your attentiveness to God? What are you doing to fulfill your ministry? This next generation of leaders must not only be encouraged to reach toward salvation, but to also strive toward the fulfillment of their God-given destiny. We must teach them to make full use of their ministry, and to walk out their purpose without shame. It’s time to fulfill your ministry!
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
How do you express your attentiveness to God?
What is your specific ministry?
How are you progressing in pursuit of your purpose?
What are you doing to help affirm the next generation to be purpose-drive leaders?
God, life is filled with many actions and challenges. Sometimes it is hard to hear you, and even harder to embrace your purpose for our lives. Give us courageous hearts to follow after you. Give us eyes of faith to see a clear path forward in the midst of busy times. Teach us how to fulfill our ministries that we may please you in all things. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online Bible commentary: The Time of Difficulty Is Now (2 Timothy 3:1–9)
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