Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. Eph 4:11-12
- An unfit mother
- Unfit for the job
- An unfit body
We recognize when people are unfit for lots of things in life. But what about ministry? It seems like we applaud and encourage people no matter what. It must be a good thing if they sign up for a job like this. But what if some people are unfit?
Paul tells us that different people are given different roles.
Jesus acknowledges the possibility of being unfit for the kingdom.
“Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
So what makes us unfit for ministry?
Seeking a career not a calling
Our culture has equated ministry work with position and prestige. We put kingdom work in a job box. We see a career not a calling. We give titles and salaries instead of opportunities for service and sacrifice.
What if, instead of pursing a position, we resisted the call until it consumed us? What if we didn’t move until our passion for the Lord could not be contained? What if we didn’t give in to ministry until we couldn’t out run it any more?
But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. Jer. 20:9
One of Isaiah’s prophesies about Jesus said that he was going to be a homely guy. He was born in a barn. He was a blue collar worker. He walked every where he went. He was homeless the last 3 years of his life.
Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Mt. 8:19-20
If we sign up to follow Jesus, we can only expect and accept the same.
Driven by self preservation
I have been there. I read the words to disciple and teach as a command I had to obey. I wanted to do it. But I wanted to do it so I wouldn’t go to hell. There was a time that I worked to cover my own behind instead of working with a heart of reclamation like the one that propelled Paul. He was willing to give up his own salvation to save his people. WOW!
For my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed–cut off from Christ!–if that would save them. Rom. 9:3
Looking out for #1
Getting your way, your pay or your say has no place in the work of a ministering servant. If you struggle with putting yourself beneath others you aren’t fit. If you can’t seem to put the needs and feelings of others above your own, you are not fit. If you are looking for what suits you and your family above what suits the weaker members, you aren’t fit. If the spiritual welfare of others doesn’t keep you up at night, you aren’t fit.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Phil. 2:3
I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. 2 Cor. 11:27
I remember when love finally consumed me. I was sitting outside a grocery store on an overcast day in St. Catherines, Ontario. There were so many people going in and out of the store, filling their trunks, making little eye contact. Sadness overcame me. Sadness for their lost condition consumed me. I couldn’t shake it. I didn’t exactly know what to do with it that day, but the Lord grew relentless love in my heart. I had to throw a life line. I had to try to save them.
I may have the gift of prophecy, I may understand all secrets and know everything there is to know, and I may have faith so great that I can move mountains. But even with all this, if I don’t have love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I have to help others, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned. But I gain nothing by doing all this if I don’t have love. 1 Cor. 13:2-3
As you serve you can’t make your end game getting them to church or scheduling a bible study. Your end game is love every single time.
The work of ministering, redeeming and serving the lost is costly. It carries an eternal value that will require everything. The most precious things always do. If you aren’t ready for that, you aren’t ready.
Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. 2 Cor. 11:23
I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death. Phil. 3:10