Watch out …it is worshipping with our spirits…I have put aside all else counting it worth less than nothing…to find out what it means to suffer and die with him. (Philippians 3:2-10)
Ministry in its essence is an unending pursuit of knowing Christ and His power of resurrection. When the ministry endeavor loses the very essence, then it remains just as mere human activities. It is not the great accomplishments and goals that determine the quality of ministry, but the relentless dedication to know God individually and collectively assures the quality of our ministry. Personally, I was encouraged by looking at the life and ministry of the great Apostle Paul, whose perspective on ministry is absolutely commendable. In his prison epistle to the church of Philippi, he summarizes his entire life and ministry into three key determinants. When a group of people claimed their salvation by putting their confidence in human efforts and elite family lineage, the Apostle Paul strictly admonishes the believers to stay aloof from such people. In response to their claims and teachings, Paul presents a brief lecture about how he is more qualified to secure his salvation, prove his righteousness, and authenticate his ministry. Counting his Jewish ancestry, expertise in Torah, sincerity to Jewish rules and regulation as worthless, he says in Philippians 3:9 that he no longer considers those factors as the basis of salvation, but by trusting Christ to save him. For God’s way of making us right depends on faith. Right after presenting the rationale for his ministry dedication, he puts forward three key aspirations that he holds on to throughout his life and ministry.
Firstly, the Apostle Paul had the deepest longing to know the crucified Christ. Doesn’t that sound like the most desirable goal for all of us? Paul never sought after any worldly accomplishments, but all his efforts reflected his commitment to know more about Christ. When he was convinced by the greatness of such purpose, no temptation could hold him back from diving into it. If we have failed to catch this crucial essence, then, there are ample possibilities to get caught in lucrative, yet anti-biblical elements within ministry. Friends, what motivates us in the ministry? After talking about motivation and purpose, Paul introduces the power required to accomplish the divine purpose. He eagerly wants the same power of resurrection to empower him towards the goal. Even though we capture the purpose of God but greatly lack the power of resurrection, then we will be utterly disappointed. This power fuels our purposes and makes it happen in the world of reality. With a divinely motivated purpose and power of resurrection, Paul draws our attention towards significant ways to actualize it. The world offers several ways to work it out. However, Paul is convinced of the fact that it is only through partnering with Christ’s suffering that we can accomplish His purposes. It is the suffering for Christ which makes our pursuit of knowing Him meaningful. A life that has not partnered with Christ’s suffering does not suffice the calling for ministry. As we continue in our ministry calling, let us treasure these essentials and reflect those in and through our lives.
Quote of the Day: “How can we turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God? The rule for doing this is simple but demanding. It is that we turn each Truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God.” (J.I. Packer)
Prayer of the Day: “Dear Lord, help us to pursue after you, forgetting what the world offers, and grant us courage to partner in your suffering through the power of resurrection.”