What is Ministry? How are we to serve God. A good summary of the qualities God wants in us. Lord what would you have me to do? A servant is always ready and available. A servant has let go of his ego and is humble. A servant is wholehearted in serving his master, dependable, and faithful. Will we obey our Heavenly Master with a consistency and sensitivity to His will? We have a real responsibility in our stewardship before God. May we serve our Lord with joy.
A topic I’d like to explore with you today is Ministry 101. In other words, what is Ministry?
What would God have me to do?
This was the question that came from Paul’s lips on the Damascus Road:
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?
Paul’s cry was:
Lord, what do you want me to do?
Do we ever stop and truly personally consider this soul-gripping question?
What is it?
What is it that God wants for us?
He wants for us to serve Him.
We are talking about serving God.
This is at the core – it’s what ministry is all about. If you want to serve God you must be a servant.
It’s been said that ‘There are many who wish to serve God…but only in an ADVISORY position.’
But God wants us to be real servants.
There ARE full time job openings available.
You have something YOU can do for God.
In a world which has a ‘me-first’ mentality… These job openings call for people who have a mind to serve.
- To serve God.
- And to serve others.
What will you do for Him?
We’re going to take a look at…
- WHAT makes a minister? A servant?
- HOW we are to serve God.
The Lord Jesus is our role model.
He sets the example for us.
So, what is it that God looks for in servants…? Really this is for all of us, men and women… The Bible repeatedly speaks of servants and of handmaidens, and speaks of God as being Lord – in other words our Master…
So, what makes a minister?
We’re going to look at some of THE QUALITIES… that make for a good servant. For us as God’s own people it’s about being our best for God…
Firstly, a good servant is…
A servant is available. Always available.
A real servant doesn’t just serve when it’s convenient to.
A real servant does WHAT the Master needs him to do. THEN, and THERE.
Even when it is NOT CONVENIENT.
The servant of old times would listen for the call, the bell, listening out for his master, to summon him to a task…
SAMUEL made himself available.
He made himself AVAILABLE – to LISTEN for GOD’S DIRECTION.
Samuel was sleeping and kept hearing a voice, calling him. Samuel, Samuel.
1 Samuel 3:10
And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.
Will you be like Samuel, and say Lord I am your servant, speak to me, and show me your way.
Will you be available to be used by God in the service of His kingdom?
Will you be available for God to use you?
Will you be like the boy with the five barley loaves and two fish?
Will you offer who you are, and what you have?
Even though maybe you feel like you can’t offer much? Give of yourself.
There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?
It seemed so inadequate. So many had to be fed.
We can feel like that oft times.
Our Lord just asks us to make ourselves available.
The boy who made his lunch available to Jesus saw God bless his availability, as the multitude was fed.
Will YOU be available to serve?
To let go of other things?
If you are not available, maybe re-evaluate what is making you unavailable and give up some things.
A good servant will make sure they’re ready to bend their schedule and their agenda. They will change their plans and make things fit to accept whatever God wants to bring into their life, as God calls them to?
What about you? Are you available for God to use you? Will you make room for the God given opportunities that you have, to serve…
And make that your top priority?
God has entrusted you with your resources, your time and energy, and your intellect… He has given you a listening ear, an encouraging word to give.
As God’s servants, we can determine to make ourselves available.
And, when we have THIS HEART, even what seem like interruptions we will come to see are actually divine appointments for ministry.
Let’s make ourselves available and take on the opportunity to serve, wherever we can.
Another quality we need, if we are to fulfill this opening… for this role of a servant…
God wants for us to have a “humbleness of mind” (Colossians 3:12).
To be humble…
HUMILITY shows in how we think of ourselves, and how we think of others.
A humble man thinks of God and of others first, and himself last.
The humble servant will desire to fulfill God’s will for his life, above anything else.
Do we stop and think what the Master’s will is?
To be a good servant we must surrender our EGO.
Our Lord set the example for us, in…
(4) He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
(5) After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
Here, our Lord stooped down and took on the common task of the lowest of servants. He did what the servants of that time did, as a hospitality to guests. He took a towel and he washed their feet. Twelve pairs of feet.
Real servants will put on the apron of humility, to serve one another. God resists the proud but He gives His grace and blessing to those who will wear this attitude of being a servant.
1 Peter 5:5
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
REAL servants are not out to big-note themselves, or brag on about themselves. They will be REAL.
Paul talked of a kind of service that was really just a show.
It was just a put on act to get attention… He called it ‘EYESERVICE’ – it was a serving just to be noticed, just to impress people.
This was a sin of the Pharisees. They turned helping others, giving, and even prayer into a performance – a show.
Our Lord Jesus hated this attitude and warned, ‘When you do good deeds, don’t try to show off. If you do, you won’t get a reward from your Father in Heaven.’
The real servant will take on the humble tasks, even when no one is watching.
Real servants don’t serve to get the praise of others.
Paul said, “If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” As God’s servants we prioritise pleasing Him.
For us to honour our Lord and Master, let us BE HUMBLE.
Another quality God wants in our serving, is for us to be…
Our Lord wants us, as His servants, to serve, NOT HALF-HEARTEDLY, BUT with ALL OF OUR HEART.
Our Lord calls us to a ZEAL, a FERVENCY…
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
Let us give of our heart. May we not be slothful – or lazy. But be fervent! This word has the sense of being boiling hot. In other words, God doesn’t want us to be cold or lukewarm. God wants us to serve him fully, from our heart, with a deep devotion and zeal.
A servant is completely dedicated to serving his master. This is what God wants for us, in our service.
A servant is one who has given up all of his rights. There is a real dedication.
Our aim as God’s servants is to glorify God. Wholeheartedly.
As God’s servants we gladly want to please our Master. This is our joy.
Paul writes about servants in the context of daily life and employment…
(23) And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
(24) Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
Paul’s saying here… Whatever we do, as God’s servants, even as we go about working a job, let us do it heartily. Let’s give THIS SAME COMMITMENT, to every task.
No matter how great or small the task. No matter how ordinary or seemingly minor. Do it heartily. Put your heart into it.
This is the heart attitude of a servant. This is what our Lord wants us to have, even as we go about our everyday life.
The size of the task doesn’t matter.
The only issue is: Does it need to be done?
The commentator, Wuest, describes the word, SERVANT, as follows:
“It refers to (get this) ONE WHOSE WILL IS SWALLOWED UP IN THE WILL OF ANOTHER.
“Paul’s will was at one time swallowed up in the will of Satan. Now his will is swallowed up in the sweet will of God.
“It refers to one who serves another EVEN TO THE DISREGARD OF HIS OWN INTERESTS.
“Paul served Satan to the detriment of his own interests.
“Now he serves the Lord Jesus with a reckless abandon, not regarding his own interests.” (Wuest’s Word Studies From the Greek New Testament, Vol. II, pp. 26-27).
What the task is, is irrelevant.
What MATTERS is – that it needs to be done.
Our Lord set the example for us. He took on the tasks that everyone else tried to avoid: washing feet, helping children, fixing breakfast, and serving lepers.
Nothing was beneath Him, because He came to serve. It wasn’t in spite of His greatness that He did these things, but because of His greatness that He did them.
And our Lord expects us to follow His example:
For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Another quality of a good servant is this… He is…
Real servants are FAITHFUL in their SERVING.
This was one of the character traits of Moses…
God said of him, in…
My servant Moses… is faithful…
FAITHFULNESS is defined as “adhering firmly and devotedly, as to a person, cause or idea; steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant.”
To be a servant calls for LOYAL OBEDIENCE.
Faithful servants will finish their tasks.
They will fulfill their commitments.
They will do their job, FULLY.
They will be TRUSTWORTHY and DEPENDABLE.
This is a rare quality.
It always has been.
Proverbs 20:6 asks it this way:
Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
Many people are not faithful.
They lack commitment.
It’s been said that ten percent of the congregation does about 100 percent of the work; the other ninety percent of the congregation is content to sit and watch them do it.
But we are all called to faithfully serve our Lord in some capacity.
Find at least one thing and do it faithfully.
Maybe you could welcome people and encourage others?
Maybe you could teach a Sunday School Class or sing in a choir?
Maybe you could visit folk in hospital?
Every one of us can give regularly to ministries.
Every one of us can pray on a consistent basis.
Some of you could work with youth.
God could really use you to bless others.
Faithfulness. It’s a quality God looks for in His servants.
Can you be counted on by people?
Are there commitments you need to honour? Be faithful.
A servant’s heart is revealed in those little acts that others don’t think of doing. That’s faithfulness.
Paul gathered some sticks for a fire to warm everyone after a shipwreck (Acts 28:3).
He was just as exhausted as everyone else, but he did what everyone needed. No task is beneath you when you have a servant’s heart.
Great opportunities can disguise themselves in small tasks.
In the little things of life…
Don’t wait for great tasks to do for God.
Just faithfully do the everyday things.
God will assign you what He wants you to do. And He will open more doors of service.
Ask the Lord to develop in you A SERVANT’S HEART – to be willing to do for your heavenly Lord and Master anything that is needed.
So may we be…
Another quality God wants in us…
God calls each of us to different tasks.
A good servant obediently accepts the work that God gives him to do.
A servant needs to be WILLING and OBEDIENT to do what the Lord requires.
We can seek ways to serve Him and grow in our Christian walk.
May we be content with where He has placed us, as we continue to watch for His leading for the future.
As good servants let us be available to do anything He might require of us, and be alert to His guidance, ready to walk in obedience to His will.
We are UNDER AUTHORITY. The centurion spoke of this principle to our Lord:
For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
OBEDIENCE is important. It is about recognizing that we are under the Lordship of Christ. He is our Master and we come under His authority, as glad servants.
We want to listen for His voice. And we want to respond to His will for our lives and be obedient to his leading.
Another quality in a good servant is that he is…
As God’s servants we are called to be RELIABLE.
Real servants do their best with what they have.
Good servants don’t make excuses, or put things off, or wait for better circumstances to serve God. They serve no matter what.
Real servants just do what needs to be done. They can be counted on to be at the place of service, ready to serve.
God expects you to do – what you can, whatever you can, with whatever you have, wherever you are.
Daniel had such consistency. He served God even in the midst of a heathen nation.
He purposed in his heart…
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank…
Daniel served God and lived a godly life in the midst of a corrupt society. He was consistent.
Daniel was a man of Biblical convictions. He did not bow to the world of his day and join in the boozy ways of those around him. He was rock solid and true and faithful.
He had been taken as a teenager from his family and his people. Yet Daniel stood alone and remained firm and true to God and to His Word.
He believed God’s Word and he obeyed it!
He accepted it as the single authority for how to live.
May we have this same consistency.
Let us not be weary, but be consistent.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
It’s telling you here, maintain your consistency as a good servant.
Don’t weary, don’t weaken, don’t give up. Keep on keeping on. Be consistent. Be a servant who can be counted on, through thick and thin. This is what God wants for us, as His true servants.
Another quality is this, that a good srvant will be…
Real servants will have a sensitivity to look out for needs they can fill.
Servants will LOOK for ways to help others. The good servant will not wait to be asked to serve. They will see a need and meet the need.
As God’s servants may we listen for the Lord’s voice, and be sensitive to His will. May we follow His lead, when He calls us to meet a need or to enter into some service.
Seize every opportunity to serve…
Whenever you have the opportunity.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
When God puts someone in need before you, He is giving you an opportunity to serve.
May we develop such a sensitivity that we become soul-conscious… We will see the needs of others around about us. We will tune in to God’s heart and know His calling. We will sense the Holy Spirit prompting us. We will be close enough to the Master that we will automatically do what would please Him, and what He would have us to do, in a responsive way.
Another feature of being a good servant is that we will be conscious of… our…
God calls us His servants, and also His stewards. Being a steward has the added idea, of responsibility.
God has entrusted things to us and He will hold us responsible for what we do.
God has given to us our bodies to live, our minds to think, our hearts to love, and our wills to choose.
God has given each of us an influence in some way. We all have an influence on other people in our lives. That is a responsibility we have.
For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.
In other words, it’s saying here that each of us influence other people by the way we live, the way we talk and how we react in different circumstances.
How are we influencing others? Do we recognise that in our daily lives we are stewards before God? We have a responsibility to God and to others.
Everything that we have is God’s – we are only stewards of the many gifts God has given us.
We are managing these things for Him.
As parents – we have been entrusted with the gift of children – do we recognise our responsibility of stewardship in the home?
We have responsibility in so many ways.
One day the quality of our service will be evaluated.
One day God will say to you, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”
The words we want to hear from Christ, are:
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Will we have a servant’s heart, or will we have an attitude that demands from others that we be served?
May we – each of us – learn to be a servant – and this will lead to honour and blessing.
SERVICE comes before HONOUR…
This is a principle we see in the lives of many of God’s servants…
- Joseph served Potiphar
- Joshua served Moses
- Samuel served Eli
- David served Saul
- Elisha served Elijah
- Timothy served Paul
- John Mark served Simon Peter
One day our work as God’s servants will be evaluated.
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be.
God will reward your faithfulness.
What kind of a servant are you?
Will you be found faithful?
1 Corinthians 4:1-2
(1) Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
(2) Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
Let us make it personal now…
Let us have the same heart that Paul had as he was saved on that Damascus Road…
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?
Paul’s cry was:
Lord, what do you want me to do?
Of course this was the starting point for Paul, as he was gloriously saved at that moment. As he bowed his will, his heart, as he confessed Christ as his Lord and Master…
The next step was that he wanted to serve his new master.
What about us?
May we serve the Lord with JOY!
May we be… good servants…
And be conscious of our Responsibility.