Marks of Commendable Christian Ministry, part 2
One of our missionaries, Steve Myers, wrote this in his recent prayer letter update: “On January 17, I celebrated 32 years in South Africa. This past year was probably my most difficult year in ministry and life and also the most blessed.”
It’s not unusual for those serving in Christian ministry to experience both “most difficult” things as well as “most blessed” things. Often, the two go together—great blessings along with great hardships.
Last week, we began looking at this passage, in which Paul tells us that if you want to enjoy all the blessings of serving God, you have to also be ready to experience all the hardships that may be involved. Service for God is filled with benefits but also fraught with difficulties. Those who serve God have to be willing to take the bad with the good. The cost of serving Christ can be very high, but of course the blessings are also considerable.
The main idea in today’s passage is that those who serve God must persevere under pressure. It’s easy to serve God when everything is going well. But those who serve God often experience great hardships as well as blessings. So we have to be able to endure and continue on serving God no matter what it costs us.
.3-4 Paul uses the word “ministry” and “ministers” here, but he’s just talking about serving God. The word refers to just about any kind of work or service for the Lord.
Each of us should be involved in serving God and serving God’s people; we should be ministers. We should not be bystanders, not mere spectators sitting on the sidelines. We should be directly engaged in serving God in some way.
If we are participating in Christian ministry, how should we do it?
This passage tells us how to serve God and others. We should be seeking to serve God commendably. How do we do that? What are the marks of commendable Christian service?
Last week we looked at two of these marks:
- Commendable ministers serve without creating difficulty for others—don’t be difficult. We should avoid causing obstacles and offenses for those we work with.
- Commendable ministers serve blamelessly. We don’t want to discredit the ministry, the Gospel, or the church by our bad behavior.