HEN DOES A PREACHER REALLY MINISTER?
Reverend Floyd Leverton
1. When he preaches well?
2. When everyone likes him?
3. When he doesn’t have to study as much as he used to?
4. When he has a large church?
5. When he gets many calls to preach?
6. When he fasts more than anyone else?
7. When everyone thinks his church is the one to attend?
8. When everyone he prays for is healed?
9. When many miracles happen in his church?
10. When he has a new home, automobile, and nice suits?
James and John were looking for a kingdom of principalities to be set up by our Lord. In this kingdom they wanted to be great and to be a minister (Person sent to represent his own government). This is proven by the fact that they wanted to sit one on his right hand and the other on the left in his kingdom.
They wanted to sit there for a carnal reason – to be seen. The reason they wanted to be seen in this position was the same carnal mistake which we ministers often make. They thought it would make them better known as ministers. We often have a desire to preach where we can be seen. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am speaking to all of us. We often get the wrong concept of when a preacher really ministers. Some seem to think for their ministry to become full and complete, they must become popular. If we have this type of attitude, we need to pray and ask God to create a right spirit in us. I remember a lesson my pastor taught me. When I would worry about a message, he would say, “I wish that was all I worried about.” What he was saying was this. There is
more to a man’s ministry than preaching a good sermon. Let me stress that it is very important to study and to desire to deliver a good message. If we don’t do this, we have not really ministered.
Let us be honest with ourselves. James and John had a wrong spirit and concept about what being a minister really was. They had to be set straight by their master and so do we. When does a preacher really minister is a very important question. We must
stop and re-evaluate our position as ministers. I know no better place to start than with the words of Jesus in Matthew and Mark.
If we really minister, we must become like Jesus himself. While we are in the world, we must be as he was when he was in the world. Our present state must be a state of humiliation. We must know that the crown and the glory are reserved for the future state.
Let us consider that the son of man came not to be ministered to but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many.
Our Lord sets himself before his disciples as a pattern of two things which he has recommended:
Humility is one of the factors which makes our Lord great. He could listen at a man telling him about all of his great works and miracles and say, “Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” He could brush popularity by with humility and be useful. He came to serve – not be served, He came to be useful – not be boasted about. Useful well explains how a preacher can really minister. Anyone who becomes great must be useful. It is the usefulness which makes them great.Jesus said “Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister.” In Mark 10-43, “Whosoever will be great among you shall be your minister.” Again, Jesus said, “And whosoever of you will be chiefest shall be servant of all.”
II. JESUS USES THESE THREE WORDS:
1. CHIEF: A person highest in rank or authority – head of a group, a leader.
The Lord has called us to be in the highest rank and authority on earth. Yet he has told us not to be Lords over God’s heritage but be ensamples to the flock. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God that he may exalt you in due time. (That he may make you really minister.To really minister, we must fulfill the duties and qualifications of a chief: (I Timothy 3-1)
2. Husband of one wife
3. Vigilant (watchful-alert-keenly attentive to danger)
4. Sober (Not drunk; temperant; moderate; quiet; serious; solemn; calm; free from exaggeration; quiet in color; self-controlled)
5. Good behavior
6. Given to hospitality
7. Able to teach
8. Not given to wine
9. No striker
10. Not greedy of filthy lucre
12. Not a brawler
13. Not covetous
14. Rules well his own house
15. Having his children in subjection with all gravity
16. Not a novice
17. Must have a good report of them which are without
When a preacher meets all the qualifications of a bishop, then he has begun to really minister. Lord help us! Really what many of these qualifications say is, “Deny thyself, take up they cross and follow Jesus.” To really minister, we must deny self and become
useful to others. Some of these qualifications point out to us to be useful, aid, assist, help serve, and contribute to others.
They are: Given to hospitality and able to teach. Can we really minister if we lack any of these? NO! NO! NO!
2. SERVANT: We must remember we are working for another. Since we are not our own boss, we must be devoted to this service.
A. Servant doesn’t give orders.
B. Servant obeys orders.
c. Servant doesn’t make the rules.
D. Servant abides by rules.
E. Servant does not set his pay.
F. Servant is paid according to his worth.
G. Servant is known by his master (Get acquainted by prayer)
This word in the Bible usually means bond servant or slave as there was rarely any other who acted a servant.Servants are put for the subject of a prince. They are their subjects in general and their domestics in particular. Proverbs 14-35: The king’s favor is
toward a wise servant. Proverbs 17-2: A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame.
To really minister, we must be wise and have the rule over our children. In Luke 17-7 Jesus taught a very wise lesson on The Servant’s Duty. “But which of you, have a servant plowing or feeding cattle will say unto him by and by when he is come from the field, go sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not, so likewise ye, when he shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say: We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do.”
Too many times we try to make the Lord our servant instead of us being his servant. We say, Lord give me souls, give me a good church, give me comfort. The Lord tells us to serve him and all these other things will be added unto us. We become discouraged when we serve other people, and they don’t even say, “I thank you.”
We really minister when we serve others and are happy to do so and then feel we are unprofitable servants. The servant had worked all day long, then he must come in and serve his master before he could eat. Many times we must leave the table and go serve others. We can do this with love, or we can complain. If we complain, we are not really ministering. He came not to be served but to serve. So must we. Should Jesus walk into our midst, we would all be glad to leave all and to minister unto him. But he said, “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord when saw we thee hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.We can clearly see that to really minister unto Jesus, we must do it unto others.
3. MINISTER – The last of the three words which Jesus used is minister. Minister has this meaning:
1. To be of service
2. Acts as a servant
3. Be helpful
4. Give aid
I. To be of service:
A. How may I serve him?
B. In what way may I best serve him?
C. Am I willing to serve him in the manner in which he chooses?
D. How may I please him?
II. Acts as a servant:
A. Be wise
B. Plan how to serve
C. Make use of time
D. Reverence your master
E. Be proud that you are his servant
F. Give honor unto him before his guest.
III. Be Helpful:
A. What may I do for you Lord?
B. Here am I, send me.
C. I am willing to do my best on the hardest project.
D. I will not stand idle.
IV. Give aid:
A. Realize that if you don’t do it, it may not be done.
B. Go willing.
C. Have a burning desire to accomplish the task.
3. Transportation Freely receive, freely give
B. Contribute to:
1. Help bring about
A. The Lord
We must realize that we are assisting the Lord. When we have done our best and it seems it failed, we must look up knowing we have been assisting him, and he has never failed. He has never lost a case. He is the winner, therefore, we have won along with him.