Ephesians 4:11-14 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some,
evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints,
for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we
all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about
with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness,
whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
My ministry is listed in verse 11. For some time I have been pondering the length of service and I discovered here that it does not end until we are all perfected. I do not look at this awareness as a hindrance to retirement. We only get to retire from earthly work. In that sense I have been retired for ten years.
As long as there is a new believer, my work
continues. Much of what I do is repetitive. It is the same old thing, over and
over again, year after year. It falls on young ears now. The older and more
mature members have moved on into their own ministries. We stay in touch and
rather than taking my ministry to heart, they adapt my part into a thing which
can be used in their own personal ministry.
I know that God performs the work, even more so
in my ministry than some of the others. What is common in all those ministries
is the point of entry into all ministries listed no matter the ministry.
There are two elements which remain unchanged in
all of the ministries listed in verse 11.
Truth and love.
Romans 14:1-4 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful
disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is
weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and
let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth
or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
I had a dear friend that struggled with his
salvation for years. He came to church regularly, asked really good questions
and admitted he was not yet ready to believe. We loved him for his honestly,
commitment to discovering the truth, and his sincerity about his standing
before God. We tried every angle of evangelical approach we could muster to no
His heath declined and he underwent heart bypass
surgery. During that time away from his normal church routine we visited him in
the hospital but did not press him as hard as we had while he was healthy. Then
one day he woke up and believed. He came to a believing conclusion without us.
He found within himself the ability to believe.
His testimony was so heartwarming. I came away
with this sense of bewilderment as to why we didn’t think of that one thing
which turned his heart towards God. I learned something about evangelizing that
I did not have in my portfolio. Sadly he never came home and went on to be with
lived as a believing Christian for a short time. Did he grow in Christ? Did he
receive gifts and develop talents? What good works did God ordain for his life?
answer to that question was in the relationship we had with him while he
struggled. We learned more about talking to and opening up dialogue with an
unbeliever with him than anyone we have ever met. He was a proving ground of
good works for us without him even being aware of that good work.