Note to Ministers
In my devotions this morning I read 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 where Paul gives a solid description of his motivations and behaviour in ministry. It struck me that this is a perfect standard that all ministers should be driven by-- by that I mean all christians because we are all called to be ministering in the world.
These are the standards Paul lays out for himself and for all of us:
- courage to tell the Good News despite harsh treatment-- the message of God's Kingdom should burn in us so that nothing can stop us from speaking what we have heard.
- expect mistreatment and insults-- if the world speaks highly of you there may be a problem!
- no personal agenda or hidden motives-- my life should be about Jesus and not about me or what I can get
- no fooling or trickery to manipulate people into doing what I wantn
- ever speak to please people- not even the major donor or the chairman of the church board. The true minister of God must speak God's word in all it's fullness whether that upsets individuals or not.
- sincere motivation to please God only. Do you desire just to please your Father? Or is there something else that you are secretly trying to achieve?
- never use flattery-- flattery is lying to make people feel better about you. It's important to speak highly of others, and to compliment those around you but it has to be done from sincere motives and be truthful
- don't speak to please people. There are times when the Word of God demands that we confront vested interests, sinful actions and hypocrisy. You don't have to be obnoxious in this but we must never water down the truth. We must never call good what God calls bad
- Do not be greedy. The servant of God is worthy of a good wage, but that does not justify excessive salaries and high speaking fees.
- Do not seek glory or the praise of men- we are here to glorify Jesus only
- Do not demand help or support. Often people in full-time ministry come to expect certain things- ways in which people offer support for the ministry. These are good when freely given, but when we start to believe they are our right then we are heading for trouble,
- Sent by Christ. Every minister should have a strong sense of being commissioned by Jesus. It should never be a job or even a hobby. Ministry is serious stuff and satan will quickly kill off anybody who is not convinced of the call on their life.
- Gentle, like a mother.
- Nurture and feed the flock like a mother nurtures a child. This does not mean spoon-feeding milk to people who should be mature. It does mean providing the resources to grow into maturity, recognising the need of the people at any time.
- Caring- we need to invest our heart into the people we serve. This is not a job but a calling to model the love of Jesus in the church and in the world.
- Willing to lay down our lives for the people we serve. Do we love the people of God more than our own lives?
Paul lays down a very high standard for himself and for all in ministry. As we look towards Jesus and lay our lives at His feet we will find He gives us the grace to meet this high standard.