The human body is amazing! Every part of your body serves an important purpose and function. No matter if it is seen or unseen, it does the work it was made to do.
Your ministry in the Body of Christ is no different. Whatever you’ve been equipped to do has a purpose and a function. No matter how seemingly insignificant, small or unseen, you were made to do this work for the Kingdom!
Continuing our study of Ephesians 4 (check out Sacred or Secular if you missed it), Paul describes how God gives out gifts to each member of the Body of Christ
However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. Ephesians 4:1
Just like the human body, each member has its own purpose and function. God is not going to extend this grand invitation into the Body and then not give you a uniquely formed purpose and role in that Body!
If we’re not careful though, we might be tempted to think that some members or functions are more important than others. Or, some might be more special than others. We might get caught in the trap of thinking, “Oh, that’s the pastor’s job, he’s the one called into church ministry, so I’ll step back and let him do the work.”
True, some people are given specialized ministry and vocations inside the church. Paul even said so in Ephesians 4:11
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.
Remember our Reformation friend? Martin Luther said all sincere work either, secular or ecclesiastical, is for God, but they weren’t given those gifts so they could exclusively do all the work of ministry and have all authority of The Church. Keep reading about what Paul said in the next verse-
Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Ephesians 4:12-13
So, the main purpose of the clergy and those pursuing church ministry is to equip the rest of the Body (those given all kinds of other unique gifts) to go out into the world to reach them for Christ! That doesn’t make ordained ministry any more special than any other ministry; it just makes it very specific to meeting the specific needs of the rest of the Body. It makes each part of the Body important as each part fulfills its own purpose and function. All ministry is equal in importance yet very different in function.
That’s why all ministry is equal from God’s perspective. It doesn’t matter if you lead a large group at church or have a large following on social media. It doesn’t matter if you care for a few special loved ones or serve behind the scenes. From God’s perspective, it’s all equal in importance to Him because He measures your effectiveness by a holy standard.
God’s standard of effectiveness is how much your ministry brings Him Glory.
I have been tempted to believe that ministry is measured by how much people respond, how much they like it, etc. Deep down, if I were honest, if they think what I do is great, then, they’ll think I’m great, and maybe God will think I’m great too. This line of thinking makes me (at least in my own heart and mind) the focus of serving and ministering. It makes the outcome about me and how I feel about myself. Of course, I want people to benefit from how I serve the Church, but ultimately, I can’t allow that to be the standard measure of my worth or effectiveness.
However, if the standard of measurement for my ministry is how much God is glorified, then the focus for effectiveness is on God and not me. The outcome, more likely, is that people will get connected to God rather than by being impressed with me.
Way better, right?
He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. Ephesians 4:16
Any ministry is of equal importance to God when that ministry brings glory to God. It’s the glorification of God that gives a ministry impact. It’s the glorification of God that determines its effectiveness. When God is glorified, then a ministry has fulfilled its purpose. If you minister to one person and God is glorified, then your priestly ministry is equal, qualitatively, to a person who leads a world wide ministry which also brings glory to God.
God’s ultimate goal is to be glorified, and he wants us to share in that glory with Him. It’s so beautiful to discover how He invites us to know Him, then equips each of us in a special way to live this calling out for Him.
Next time, we’ll talk about the reason and purpose for it all_ One God and Father of All!
How is God helping you to understand your gifts and calling?