Jesus’ Baptism and Your Baptism イエスの洗礼とあなたの洗礼
Jesus’ Temptation and Your Temptation イエスの誘惑とあなたの誘惑
Jesus’ Suffering and Your Suffering イエスの苦しみとあなたの苦しみ
Jesus’ Death & Resurrection and Your Death & Resurrection イエスの死と復活とあなたの死と復活
Jesus’ Ministry and Your Ministry
What do you think of when you think of church ministry?
What do you think of when you think of your ministry?
Let me quickly address a few misconceptions about ministry.
i. God is not mean 神は意地悪ではありません – He is not trying to get you to minister in an area you have no interest in so that you can have a hard, joyless life.
If ministry feels hard and joyless then it’s either not God’s ministry or you’re not doing it God’s way.
ii. God is not harsh 神は苛酷なお方ではありません – He is not trying to take away all your free time and give you more work on top of the work you’re already doing to make your life harder.
If ministry feels harsh and wearying then it’s either not God’s ministry or you’re not doing it God’s way.
iii. God is not ‘playing you’ (for a fool) 神はあなたをばかにしているのではありません – He is not trying to make you look foolish by telling you to do things that you’re not capable of doing, or equipped to do. He is not setting you up for failure.
If ministry makes you feel foolish then either you’re not doing it God’s way, or God has great blessing for you for standing up and stepping out for Him even when you feel out of your depth.
When it comes to ministry, God is not a harsh taskmaster or a joyless drudge or a mean trickster. He is an artist. A brilliant, skillful, joyful artist. And God’s greatest work of art is us.
Key verse: Ephesians 2:10
We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God has already designated to make up our way of life.
So we minister not according to our personal desires although I believe God certainly takes them into account when He calls us into ministry, but rather according to the gifting we have received, the faith we have, the need at hand and the blessing to come.
Paul gives an analogy of the body [image] to describe church ministries and the relationships between those ministries. Some ministries are simple, others are more complex; some are more public, others are more private; some ministries require a greater time commitment, others less so. All ministries are valuable, just as every part of the body is valuable.
I like to use the analogy of the church as a hospital. [image] In a hospital you have doctors, nurses, administrative assistants, tech assistants, researchers, cleaners, food staff – oh, and patients, too (let’s not forget them). Each person in the hospital has a valuable role. It’s great to have skillful doctors but if the admin isn’t doing it’s job and the hospital is mismanaged and has to close its doors or limit its services, then the skillful doctors cannot be put to use. I don’t want one of the cafeteria staff handling my hospital bills – who knows what I might end up paying? I don’t want a research doctor giving me a needle. hat would probably be very painful and fruitless. I dont want the research for my illness being done by a cleaner. Everyone has a role to perform whatever it is, and it’s the same in the church.
Understanding that, I’d like to go a little deeper and share with you something that I have struggled with – and continue to – and it concerns the following promise that Jesus gave:
I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.
I look at the works of Jesus and I see Him turning water into wine, miraculously restoring limbs, multiplying food to feed thousands, walking on water, raising dead people back to life. I don’t see much of this in our church or any church. Why not?
A couple of thoughts:
i. Our faith is too small. 私たちの信仰が小さすぎる。 We’re relatively comfortable in the lifestyles and the worlds we have created or arranged around us. I believe the faith required to perform works like these comes from a completely surrendered life and few of us yet really understand what that means. I don’t say that as a criticism – I see a church full of people who are faithful and growing in Christ in a very beautiful way. I feel very blessed to minister in such a church. Yet to see the same miracles that Christ performed requires a level of faith and surrender and maturity that we have not yet attained. And so we have growth goals!
ii. My view – the view I just gave you – of the works of Jesus is way too narrow.イエスのはたらきに対する私の見方が狭すぎる。 Jesus did so much more than work sensational miracles. In fact, let’s look at how Jesus defined his ministry:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.
We can carry on this ministry.
a. Jesus came to preach good news to the poor.
There are people who live with material, moral or spiritual poverty.
Who do I know that needs the good news? _________________
b. Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted.
There are people who are weighed down with disappointment, discouragement, defeat, or despair.
Who do I know that is hurting? ___________________
c. Jesus came to proclaim freedom for those who are imprisoned.
These are people who are trapped by their circumstances, addictions, habits or fears.
Who do I know that feels trapped? ____________________
d. Jesus came to give sight to the blind.
These were physically blind people but also people who are blind to the truth about God and themselves.
Who do I know that is blind to the truth? ____________________
e. Jesus came to release the oppressed.
These are people who are picked on, put down, victimised, or taken for granted.
Who do I know that is oppressed? ___________________
Jesus wants you to carry on His ministry to the world around you. He wants it to be your way of life. You don’t need to be a big shot to do this. You don’t need to have a certificate or a certain type of personality or a certain amount of experience. God wants to use you. Prayerfully, openly, allow God to use you to reach into the lives of those around you.