Self-giving in Everyday Ministry

footprints_2_2.jpgSometimes when the word "ministry" is used, we often place the conversation in a narrow category.  We may think in terms of a person with a particular role within a congregation of people.  Some think of a person designated as the pastor, the minister, the preacher, etc.

Yet, I am thinking about everyday people and everyday ministry.  This ministry or service is for the whole church, called to different tasks, using different gifts, but empowered by the same Spirit.

The very heart of what it means to be used by God in ministry is "self-giving."  Our model for this is God’s self-giving love expressed to all of us in sending Jesus to this earth.  The ultimate expression of this self-giving love is the cross (Romans 5:8; I John 4:10).  What goes against this ministry is a spirit of self-assertion and self-will that characterizes far too many of us.  This spirit is bound and determined to make things happen through sheer will and determination.  Yet, people who model their ministries after Jesus follow him down a path of self-giving and self-surrender.

Bottom line?

1.  When Jesus is our model for ministry, we must address our sin.  Our pride and our self-centeredness are contradictions to real ministry.  Real ministry begins not with a task but with taking these attitudes to the Cross of Christ.  Then we are ready to minister.

2.  Some of us are more than ready to give up things for Christ but we will not surrender ourselves.  In particular, we will not surrender our willfulness and determination to have our way.

3.  When men and women are involved in everyday ministry, their humility and self-giving love should be evident.  After all, the very model for our ministry displayed these characteristics. So what do you think?  Why is it that these characteristics are so often absent from some who are "doing ministry" in the name of Jesus? 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “Self-giving in Everyday Ministry

  1. I needed to read this today. This morning is the first week of a women’s bible study, meeting in my home. Everything is ready — snacks for the kids, chairs set out, coffe pot ready to go — but I’m still unsettled. I’ve prayed, I’ve prepared, but it’s hard to trust the results to God. I’m such a control freak, and I have a particular “plan” for this study and how I want it to go. I need to surrender to God’s plan and how He wants it to go.

    Your final question, why is this so hard? People who are serving in ministry, myself included, tend to be “do-ers.” We define ourselves by what we do and the percieved success or failure of what we do.

    Am I motivated by self-giving love and humility? Oh, what a straight to the heart question. Really giving of ourselves is hard to do. It requires vulnerability and a willingness to risk. It’s much easier to make our plans and stick with them — much harder to submit ourselves continually to Jesus and His way.

  2. Why?  Because the old wine skin generates minimally low expectations, emphasizes externals, marginalizes Jesus and makes "church" central, considers one faithful who has the right answer to religious questions even if those questions do nothing to develop greater justice, mercy, or love . . . shall I go on? 
    Stick a fork in me . . .

  3. Well, I have to agree with Robyn. Also related to bottom line #2, certainly doing God’s will is a good thing. But what if, after thinking, praying, and planning people still have wildly different opinions on how to proceed? Of course this happens all the time everywhere! Where is God’s will? I know it is there someplace. Sorry for the undergrad seminary question.