The Source of Our Ministry

If I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.

–1 Corinthians 9:16

As Christians, our highest calling in life is to be ministers of the gospel. In Colossians 1, Paul talked about the source of our ministry. Look at verse 23: “The gospel that you have heard . . . was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.”

Notice the phrase “was made a minister.” Paul did not wake up one day and decide ministry would be a good vocation. No, God chose him for ministry. In 1 Corinthians 9:16–17, Paul said, “If I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.” Paul was saying, “If I had volunteered for ministry, then I deserve a pat on the back. But I didn’t choose this ministry business; God chose me for it.”

Here’s what we need to understand: it’s not just pastors and evangelists who have been called to be ministers. The word “minister” in Colossians 1:23 is a non-technical term that simply refers to a servant of God. Every Christian is called to be a minister. You don’t have to get your paycheck from a church or a mission agency to be a minister. Remember, Paul was a tentmaker. But he never forgot that his primary job was to be a representative for the gospel.

It’s true that God has set aside pastors and evangelists for a unique purpose. Ephesians 4:12 says He has called them “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” The role of pastors is to equip you to go out and be a minister of Jesus Christ in the world.

You may have heard the phrase “saved to serve.” The idea is that God saved you so that you could serve Him. But that’s not why God saved you. He saved you because He loved you and wanted a relationship with you. The question is not, “Why did God save you?” but “Why did God leave you here on earth rather than taking you to heaven the moment He saved you?”

He left you and me here for one reason: to be His representatives. God is the source of our ministry.

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Today’s devotion is adapted from “Called to Minister” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

 

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