Whose Ministry Is It?

by Fred G. London

whose ministryWe hear so much about being called to serve; the emphasis, the honor, the glory of being called to serve. Why by age fifty, most "in ministry" are just heading into their prime. After all, the past thirty years have been spent investing in this pursuit, and now, "I am being rewarded with the fruits of my labor, my faithfulness to the call."

However, it would often appear that it is far easier to submit ones's life to the Cross than one's ministry. We can pray and sing, "Take My Life...," without so much as batting an eyelash, but "Take My Ministry?" Much like the rich, young man, who went away grieved, that's something we may not have bargained for.

The apostle Paul didn't risk all to help plant thirteen churches in order to build his own ministerial kingdom, nor to leave a monument, as King Saul did, to himself. The last thing he wanted to hear was, "I am of Paul!" He labored in order to leave his ministry, or rather, Christ, to others, that your faith might not rest in men. He labored in ordered to make himself ultimately expendable. "And I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls." (2 Cor. 12:15a)

John the Baptist actually labored to personally decrease in order that His Lord might increase. Jesus laid both His life and ministry down in order that His Father's purposes might be accomplished. "And at the end of the age, the Son Himself will hand over rule of The Kingdom to His Father." (1 Cor. 15:24)

If the "Lord's work" is truly the Lord's work, then it cannot be "my work." If we are truly entrusted with a stewardship, then it is not our own. It, by all rights, belongs to its owner. It is his, or His, to give, to utilize, and yes, even to take away as he pleases.

To take what is not yours is robbery. To use what is not yours, as if it were yours, is fraud. To refuse to give up that which does not belong to you is covetousness. "For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." (Phil. 2:13)