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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”.
Everything you do matters to God, and should be considered ministry. Yes, the relationships you cultivate matter to God and are extensions of your worship. Even the jobs you have should be considered part of that “true and proper worship” that Paul refers to in Romans 12. For far too long, we Christians have lived under the guise that there are sacred actions and secular actions. This has resulted in some believers overlooking the value that God finds in work and professional settings. For us, if we have truly given our lives to Christ, all of our actions should be Christ centered. All of our motives and decisions should emanate from our progressive union to God through Christ. Whether it is showing up to church faithfully, or working hard in your professional life, everything is to be done to the glory of God.
I have come to understand that in the context of leadership, we have a duality of identities: faith leaders and secular leaders who happen to be Christian. The average Christian professional would consider themselves a leader in their profession, but not a faith leader or minister. The truth is that when we live our Christian lives without borders, we are leaders of the faith even in our professional contexts because Christ is expressed in all facets of our existence. This is ministry, and this type of evangelism is fitting and proper for today.
As we have discussed before, Paul is giving Timothy a charge. He is providing his young apprentice with important nuggets of leadership that he can use to carry on Christ’s legacy. Paul’s first two charges focused on encouraging Timothy to be internally stable and sound. These nuggets could be described as passive internal actions. This next charge though represents a shift in tone and expectation. Paul declares that Timothy should “do the work of an evangelist”, or in essence give life to the Christian ideology by expressing them in public and demonstrable ways. Here, Paul is pushing Timothy to move from “thinking good ministry” to actually “doing good ministry”. As leaders we must mentor others to engage in this work of active ministry, and do it from their natural context. Remember, everything that we do as believers should be viewed as ministry moments. Therefore, we must broaden our understanding of ministry, and affirm those who do not carry out traditional pulpit ministry.
When I do my professional work with excellence as an extension of my worship, then people see Christ’s character in my work, and ministry occurs. When you invest time in cultivating meaningful relationships because of your love for Christ, then people feel Christ’s love and your conversation (lifestyle) serves as a witness of Jesus Christ. Active ministry is aggressive and proactive in nature. It is the sense of actively finding ways to reflect Christ on the earth in every space of your existence. It is time for you to take ownership of your leadership in the body of Christ from your own God-given context, and from that, find ways to spread the message of Christ throughout your sphere of influence. Like Paul, I charge you to step up to the plate and do the work of the evangelist.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
How do you define ministry?
What is your unique context of ministry?
Are you mentoring others to embrace ministry from their own context?
Gracious God, thank you for the gifts of life and partnership. You partner with us to spread the message of your Son, Jesus Christ, and we desire to be good stewards of this opportunity. Grant us wisdom and insight to discern personal places where we can shine for your glory. We pray that our lights would shine so bright that men would be drawn from the marketplace to your Kingdom. Equip us with the wisdom of Daniel, the counsel of Joseph, and the favor that Esther walked in. We give you all honor and reverence. In Jesus name, Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online Bible commentary: Sacrificing for the Sake of the Community (Romans 12:1–3)
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