Bible Reading: Colossians 4:2-6
“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should” (Colossians 4:3-4)
Paul teaches us not only to pray for ourselves but to also pray for church leaders and the advancement of the gospel. As our lives are fully dependent on God, our mission to advance God’s kingdom is also fully reliant on Him. Do not buy into the lie of our self adequacy. Again let me stress, we are nothing. To learn this is a life-long lesson.
Too often, we place our confidence for successful ministry on the shoulders of our pastors, church leaders, and ministry leaders. We think that it is within such a theologically grounded church whose foundations stand unshakable that the cornerstone for mission and successful ministry lies. “There is zeal, fire and spirit in my church. It is reformed. It is evangelical. God must be working amongst us. Our ministry will surely succeed”.
If that is our mindset, we are in grave danger. We take God’s work too lightly. We toy with it as if it were part of our daily tasks. If we take ministry lightly, in our pride, we assume ourselves to be capable. We assume that we are able to serve God and advance His Kingdom. As the future generation of the church, we must grow to understand that God’s work is solely His work. To be given a role in it is a miracle from God every single time.
Many of us grew up in the church. The culture of ministry is something we were raised with. If someone offers us an opportunity to serve, we will not reject it. Yet, do you know that if you wanted God to open a door for His gospel through your ministry, you are asking for a miracle?
Ministry is not about giving yourself ‘holy’ work that gratifies your otherwise sense of guilt. Its main point is not in doing but in the process. God uses our ministry to serve others. That is true. However, God gives us ministry so that we may learn to serve Him. The important part is that relationship with Him. Like a carpenter father who takes his son to his workshop to show him his tools and craft, the end goal is not a finished product. Rather, it is that the father in love may show his son his craft so that they may grow to enjoy it together. God wants to teach us in love what He knows to be the greatest thing for us - that we may walk with Him, serving alongside Him in His plan of salvation for the world. If we think serving is about doing this and that, we completely miss the point. It’s about walking with God. To those who have never experienced it, terms like ‘walking with God’ and ‘knowing God’ are abstract concepts. And there is no way to define it like you would in maths or physics. You have to ask God that you may personally experience it.
What is the remedy to our ministry? How do we focus not on doing but on the relationship with God?
Pray for your church leaders and ministry leaders because they can’t serve unless God opens the doors. Pray for your church as a whole and for the ministries you take part in because nothing, let me repeat, nothing you do will ever succeed for the sake of the gospel in God’s eyes unless He is pleased to work. Pray to know the living God who is faithful and trustworthy in all things. After that, dive into God’s Word. Read it, cherish it, remember it. Study it, come back to it.
Pray that you may walk with God and get to know Him.
Lord, teach me what it means to serve You. Teach me that ministry is dependent on You and that You want a relationship with me through it, not just a list of tasks for me to do. Please open up doors for Your gospel to be spread through Your church. I pray that You may give my pastor and church leaders boldness that they may proclaim the gospel clearly. Show that You are faithful by working amongst us. Thank You, God, in Jesus’ name, amen.