“Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given to me by the working of His power.” -Ephesians 3:7
Becoming a minister of God is far more and at the same time far less than we think. “Ministers” (or pastors) are perceived by the world as those who wear the suit and tie, polished shoes and stand on expensive stages for a few hours a week. The sad part is that this perception isn’t all that far from what’s really happening. Yet ultimately, our perception of what a minister is doesn’t really matter. What matters is the real definition according to God in His Word and we are given that here in our Ephesian verse.
Here are a few thoughts to take away:
- Ministers are ministers. The very definition of “minister” from its original meaning is “servant.” Ministers are leaders by servanthood, not heirarchy. They aren’t supposed to be the richest people in the church, or the most well off. They aren’t to have the best places to live or the best places to sit down. They are called to serve in leadership and lead in servitude.
- Ministers are defined by their work in the gospel. It’s not the size of the church, or the expanse of their reach, or the popularity of their podcasts. Too often we measure a minister according to the most shallow things, and if those are the only things we have to measure their work with then shame on them. A minister who is a mile wide but an inch deep is more useful in the hands of the enemy than in the hands of God. Paul clearly says, “Of this gospel I was made a minister.” The focal point of every minister must be Jesus and His redemptive work for the salvation of mankind. If a minister is not focused on this work, he cannot be a minister but only a self serving man.
“Oh what abundance of good might ministers do, if they would but live in contempt of the world and the riches and glory thereof, and expend all they have in their Master’s service, and pinch their flesh, that they may have wherewith to do good!”
3. Ministers are created, not positioned. No one in their right mind naturally wants to become a minister. True ministry is mud and trenches, blood and sweat, tears and anguish. Yes, ministry is the most incredible experience and privilege, but it’s not an occupation you apply for. Paul says, “Of this gospel I was made a minister.” He was made one. God changed Paul’s life and made him who he was called to be in Christ. God must call every minister and make ever minister -only then can he be effective. No man can position him. He must be molded by the calling and anointing of God.
4. Ministers of grace. Paul says this calling of a minister is according to the gift of God’s grace. This tells us two things. 1) As it is with salvation, so it is in the ministry: it is not by works, but by grace. No man is ever called according to his skillset or good deeds. The calling of God is according to the gift of His grace and 2) The ministry of grace must be prevalent in all of ministry. How can one not minister the very grace that he became a minister by?
5. Ministers powered by God. Ministers must be powered by God, not by selfish ambition. Paul says he was not only called a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, but also by the working of His power. We are powerless without the power of God. Just as in our time and age there are so many things we use which must be powered accordingly, and without that power source they are useless, so too with the ministry. Unless the minister and his ministry be powered by the throne room of heaven where God Himself rules and reigns, he will only discover himself striving for success. A minister of God is one who daily draws his power from the Most High.