“This Aint No One Man Show!”

Recently we have been talking about how everyone who is a disciple of Jesus is called to do the work of ministry. We have been trying to learn what we can about ministry from the story of feeding the 5,000 found in John 6. We have discussed how Jesus had brought the disciples into what appeared to be an impossible situation, but in reality He already knew what He was going to do. The disciples saw the great need and figured the best thing to do was send everybody away to fend for themselves, but;  Jesus being the ultimate shepherd (pastor), saw this as an opportunity to equip, teach, and meet the needs of those who had come to hear Him speak.

Someone once said, “You’d be surprised what can be accomplished when you don’t care who gets the credit.” I think another thing to be learned  from the  story in John 6 is that sometimes in ministry Jesus may use you to be a coordinator. You may not be the one who directly meets the need, but you may be one who the Spirit of God uses to coordinate. Like the disciples you may think you have nothing to give; but, God has a plan. That day on the hillside the disciples figured that perhaps the best thing to do would be to send the folks away. They saw the multitude and didn’t see any way they could meet the need. How many of us have avoided ministry because we didn’t think we could be used of God? We saw our own lack and thought, “What can I do?”  Perhaps, we need to understand that true  ministry is not a “one man show.” Real ministry involves the whole “Body.” We can see this in the story of the feeding of the 5,000.

Andrew (one of the disciples) becomes aware of a boy that has brought a packed a lunch; but doubts that it could accomplish anything. “Lord the need is so great, what will this little bit accomplish?” How many times have you felt like sharing or giving or saying something, but felt like it wouldn’t amount to anything? But what did Jesus say? He said, “Bring the lunch to me.”

Once, as I was reading this story, I began to wonder about the little boy with the lunch. Was he really the only one who had sense enough to bring food that day or was he the only one who was willing to surrender his? Sometimes we are so concerened with our growth, our relationship with the Lord, etc… that  we forget that its not all about us. In the Old Testament , when the land was being alloted and the 2½ tribes opted to stay on the east side of the Jordan, they still had to send their warriors to help their brothers  who had yet to obtain their inheritance. Are you so focused on you and yours that you have forgotten that there are brothers and sisters in Christ (not to mention unbelievers) who need you to minister to them?

To this day the little boy with the lunch remains nameless and faceless. We don’t know who he was, his name, or anything. He’s the kid with the food. How many of us would have been like,  “Ah, this little bit wont do any good” or “I’m keeping my stuff they should’ve known better” or “I can’t believe Jesus didn’t even mention my name; they should’ve at least named the grassy slope after me.” Can you see how cool it is that Andrew became aware of the boy, the boy was willing to give up his lunch, and Jesus was the one who performed the miracle and brought glory to God. That’s how true ministry is supposed to work. We all just come to Jesus and say, “Here Lord, use me how ever you’d like to.”

Jesus used a little boy to give the disciples something to distribute among the people. It all came from Jesus’ hand; that’s how true ministry works. Maybe you’re the little boy, nameless & faceless, or; maybe you’re like the disciples, seen and used to distribute the food- it doesn’t matter. It’s all from Jesus and for His glory. Will you come and give yourself and what you have to Him. Will accept your role whether it be known or unknown? Will you come and surrender yourselves and your gifts that He may bless? Will you allow Him to break it up and distribute it as He sees fit?

Service is not something that a lesser person does to someone greater; no, it is the lifestyle of a disciple. You are called to minister, you are called to serve. That pride and selfishness which is resident in so many of us must be broken so that what God has given us may be used to bring others to Christ. Our American “I’m supposed to be a celebrity” mentality has to be broken. You are called to ministry beloved by the one who though He was God, emptied Himself and took the form of a servant.

Who,me? (Equipped for Ministry)

When you think of ministry what comes to mind? For so many of us, when we think of ministry we think of Billy Graham, pastors we have seen on TV, or perhaps our local pastor, but; did you know that if you are a Christian, you are called to ministry? “Who, me?” Yeah, you! Those who occupy the pews more often than not have the idea that it’s the “professional” minister who is called to do ministry, the big named evangelist who is called to reach the masses; it’s the anointed worship leader who will do the work of ministry.   So many sit comfortably in their pews under the misconception that all they are called to is to love the Lord, come to church regularly and “be fed.”

You hear people say, “I’m just not getting fed.” Why not? You have the same Holy Spirit, the same Jesus. Yes, the “five-fold office gifts” (please, let’s not argue over semantics) are to feed and teach to some degree, but; you the believer are to abide in Christ, sit at His feet and hear His voice. John tells his hearers in his first epistle that the “anointing” you have received teaches you. You know, when all we do is continually eat we can become obese and doctors tell us that obesity is a primary cause of all kinds of diseases. Maybe that’s why we have so much sickness in the church, because all we’re doing is gorging ourselves and not doing ministry- I’d better stop.

We find that in Ephesians 4 the bible tells us that Jesus gave gifts to the church: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers for the equipping of the saints (that’s you if you are in Christ) for the work of the ministry (your Bible may say work of service or something similar). So really, the job of the “vocational minister” is to equip the saints do ministry. We need to move away from this “clergy/laity mentality” and understand that all who are in Christ are called to do the work of ministry. Ministry, is something all believers are to do.

Okay, so what does it mean to be equipped ?  Well if you study the word translated equip you find that the word refers to that which has been restored to its original condition, is being made fit or being made complete. The root word was used as a medical term used for setting bones! Secular Greek also used it to refer to the furnishing a house. Paul’s use in the context of the Body, the Church, pictures the complete furnishing of the believer so that he/she might be made ready to fulfill their purpose in the body of Christ where they have been placed by God’s Spirit. This equipping denotes the “net-mending” process the fishermen would utilize, equipping the net to catch the fish. The Greek word denotes not so much an adding something that is lacking, but rather a straightening out. We have handed all ministry over to the “professionals” when in reality it is the job of the “professional” to equip the saints to do ministry themselves!

My friend there are people who will listen to you that will never listen to Billy Graham. There are people who need to hear what God has done in your life. There are people who may never, ever be touched by the love of Jesus if they don’t hear about it from you. Let me leave you with this: “…you are a chosen people. You are royal priests,a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”