Saturday, July 2, 2016

July 2 "I QUIT THE MINISTRY"

 The reality of Ministry is…the very people you are in ministry to reach and help are the very people that will want to make you quit the ministry, if you let them. We always have to remember that we are not in “the ministry” to help the people (that’s a by-product) we are in the ministry to serve God. If we are in the ministry out of some noble quest to “serve the people”, once the people start stepping all over you and spreading rumors about you, you will say, “well, if that’s how they are going to treat me, if they don’t appreciate what I’m doing for them; then forget this, I quit!” However if we are in the ministry to serve Christ, who is always grateful and appreciative of our efforts and service, then we will not quit even when the people we are trying to feed, bite us! As they saying goes, “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”, well people don’t seem to abide by that a whole lot”. The Elders in Jerusalem explain to Paul that the Jews are spreading lies and rumors about him. Paul has given his life for this cause only to come back to Jerusalem and find out there’s people, his own people, talking negatively about him. That would be enough to make me want to quit! Another reality of ministry is leadership, headship and orders to be taken. We could understand this at our secular places of employment but when we get saved and decide to get involved in ministry in the local congregation we have a naïve and unrealistic expectation of how it’s going to be. We falsely think, nobody is going to “boss”, it’s all just going to be fun, pleasant, everybody agreeing, laughing, singing Kumbaya in a circle, we’re all equals here now, ……, but in our story this is not the case and in all reality, it’s never the case. Paul, as mighty a disciple as he is has come into a circle of other disciples that have more authority than he.  And they are not shy to tell Paul, “this is what we WANT you to do”. Many in the ministry today would not have liked that. They would have said, “Peter, I don’t like your tone and you telling me what to do, we are all brothers in Christ here. I would have preferred if you had asked me “how I felt and if I would want, to go to the temple with these men, but I don’t like you thinking you are all in charge here and telling me what I need to do!”  We don’t hear any of that coming from Paul. Peter and the elders say, “this is what we want you to do” and Paul does it. And if you read the rest of the story, it turns out horrible! This for sure, would have been the end all of any other Christian’s involvement in any kind of ministry with these “Elders” and the Church in Jerusalem. Paul does what he is told to do, by their advice and nearly gets killed doing it. In spite of that, Paul remains in the ministry and remains in the ministry with these men, who told him what to do and caused him great physical harm. Paul, through out the rest of his life is never diverted from “the ministry”. Nothing is ever able to persuade Paul away or convince him from quitting the ministry and for all those out there, who have quit the ministry; no doubt because of a ministry leader, a person in that ministry, or even a Pastor….you have to ask yourself  “was I right in quitting and who was I serving in that ministry, the people or Jesus?” Ask yourself, “who called me into that ministry, the leader or was it Jesus?”  And last and most important, “who” did I really quit on, them or Jesus?”