As this year runs to an end, I have been doing a lot of reflection. The memories of events of the last two decades or more have been flooding my mind. Let me share one of such with you. In the mid 90’s, I had friends who were passionate about serving Jesus. We all loved the Word. We read books and listened to teachings that stirred up our passion in this same direction. In fact, one of us had a library that lent out hundreds of cassette tapes containing teachings of both national and international bible teachers. Above all, we were members of the same local church. We knew invariably that at different points later in the future, we were going to be involved actively in ministry especially in leadership i.e. pastoring, mission outreaches to villages and cities. All we talked about was preaching/ teaching the gospel of Christ which we also did then with utter commitment and passion.
Two of us much later chose to serve our pastor in what was called “full-time ministry” (though there is no such terminology in the bible) That meant we ran errands for our pastor, transcribed his audio teachings into articles and books, attended endless hours of bible classes, prayed for many hours (most times without food in our stomachs) and we travelled with him for his preaching engagements in and around the city we were based then (I often tell our leaders in the local church where I now serve as a pastor that if I put them through the rigors of training for ministry that some of us went through, they might call me a wicked man and/or leave the church).
Now, here is where I’m driving at, one of my earlier mentioned friends gained admission to study in a higher school of learning. After she had gone for two semesters or so, I noticed her passion for the preaching of the gospel had waned, what used to be our common ground of discussion was no longer exciting to her. Then I asked her during one of those vacations, “Why the sudden change? Why are you not excited about ministry like you used to?” I was taken aback by her response. She said, the reason we were always talking about ministry was because that was the only thing we heard. Reverend (referring to our pastor) made it look like all of us would be pastors/preachers. Then she said she had discovered (on campus) that she wasn’t called into the ministry. She said she had felt initially that she was called, because of the influence of her pastor and friends.
What happened to her was that her circle of friends had changed. She had started listening to folks who belittled the work of ministry, those who said not every believer was called to preach. Your own calling could be secular or professional in nature. Some even became apostles to/in the marketplace. When you mingle with the wrong crowd, your zeal for God and ministry would wane. It doesn’t mean you will stop going to church, it does not mean you will not be involved in some “religious activities” but if you really check your heart, it will be clear to you that you core values have melted away like snow in the sun.
My dear friends, running a business or raising children is not ministry. Secular career is not synonymous with spiritual calling. Don’t allow motivational speakers with the title of ”Pastor” fool you! There is ONLY one ministry and that is the preaching and the teaching of the gospel.
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. We all have this ministry. ”Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not”.
It does not matter what your carrier is in the secular world, we have all been called to preach the Gospel of Christ. And he said unto them,
“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mk. 16:15-18).
We won’t be rewarded based on the number of children we raised or the strings of businesses we owned, God’s desire is that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4). We all have been called to do this. Salvation is an automatic calling into ministry! This is how we serve the Lord. What will your excuse be for not preaching the gospel and helping others grow spiritually? One of the indicators for spiritual apathy is that a believer counts insignificant what is sacred, he or she begins to see as common what God calls holy, such a person stands at the sideline criticizing those who are busy serving the Lord. There is no reward for criticism or analysis.
Every day, I wake up with this consciousness; “What would I tell Jesus when I stand before Him? What would I give as an excuse for not obeying Him? What would I say my problem was for my lack of enthusiasm about spiritual things? ”
Think about this. See your life in the light of eternity. Rehearse the scenes of the white throne judgement (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor 5:10). What are you doing on a daily basis to impact the eternal destiny of men? Your prayer, your giving, your commitment to your local church, personal evangelism? What sacrifices are you making to make the gospel count?
I learnt a song from my dear secondary school friends many years ago, I really can’t remember the verses again, but the chorus has been the mainstay of my life and ministry over the years. I’ve sang it with tears rolling down my cheeks and joy welling up in my heart. I sing it often with these verses of the scriptures on my mind:
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead. And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:14-16).
Here are the words of the song:
Because you love Him
Not because of what some folks might say
Because you love Him
All because He took your sins away
And this one:
It is a great thing
To serve the Lord /3ce
Walking in the light of God
Oh I walk
I walk, I walk
I walk in the light
Walking in the light of God.
Proclaim these words after me:
I’m not slothful in business
I’m fervent in the Spirit
Serving the Lord
I give myself much more to the ministry of the gospel
I yield total control of my will, thoughts and actions
To things spiritual
I’m not tired nor weary
Joy overflows my heart when more demands are placed on me to do much more for God
The love of God is my motivation
Eternity is my consolation
(Written December, 2017)