The Ministry -Vocation or Commission?
By Ralph M. McGuire
“This is a true saying. If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. ” (I Timothy 3:1).
“A bishop must be blameless… ” (I Timothy 3:2). “…the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” (Exodus 32:6).
The ministry is one of sacrifice, dedication and giving of one’s self to the work of God and the cause of Christ. Yet this is a generation of playtime and relaxation in excess. Preoccupation of the flesh in self-indulgence is prevalent today.
Recreational worship is not only evident in worship but such preoccupation is also creeping into the ministry as well. This can become a blight to the effectiveness and fruitfulness of the high calling of the ministry.
“But with many of them god was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. ” (I Corinthians 10:5-7).
Such folly is found in the absence of burden and compassion of Christ which is so necessary in the heart of today’s pastor.
Sacrifice moved the hand and heart of God in the church of yesterday. That ministry was one of toil, sacrifice, and consecration. The Gospel was carried “footsore,” in poverty, and even dire lifestyle. But God responded with the outpouring of His Spirit in old fashioned revival. Today, the “laptop” of convenience takes the place of “knee-ology” and the burning of the midnight oil in travail for a word from God.Feeding the lambs and the sheep that languish is the work of the ministry, and it is more than oratory. The pastor must become a master intercessor for his people. Secondarily, he must become their counselor, encourager, and frequent visitor to the home as well as the hand shake in the pew. Every saint needs the pastor’s personal touch and care in their needs. Fasting and intercession should take high priority.
“And the word of the Lord came unto me saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds: Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feedthe flocks?” (Ezekiel 34:1-2).
Consistent retreat to the oasis of recreation and preoccupations of the flesh take their toll on the power and unction so necessary in the ministry of the word. “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly: not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (I Peter 5:2-4).
The feeding of the flock of God has become a greater challenge to the pastor in today’s world society and church as never before. The pressures and stress that are found in the ministry are taking a toll in weariness ad discouragement. There is a great need to hold up the hands of the ministry before God that they do not succumb and turn from the priorities of their calling to the alternatives in the present world in utter discouragement and despair.
Editor’s Note: Bro. Ralph McGuire, a former pastor and minister of the Gospel, now retired, lives in Clintonville, Wisconsin, where he and his wife attend the church pastored by Bro. John Soto.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE APOSTOLIC WRITERS DIGEST, OCTOBER 2002, PAGE 8. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.