ministry costs. we have all heard it preached at one time or another. there is a price for ministry. some people relate this to the financial aspect of buying materials or printing flyers. at the very least, your ministry should cost a dying out to self and chasing after God’s will. not long ago, i wrote on the ministry of reconciliation, and Jesus gave us all the ministry of reconciliation (https://www.eggsandjesus.com/2021/12/02/to-be-reconciled/). according to this passage, we are all ministers, and i have heard that throughout my Christian journey. the difference lies in personal consecration and efforts. that is what i would like to explore in this letter.
there is a level above reproach associated with ministry. you may have an outgoing, charismatic personality. you may speak well and sermonize your thoughts into masterpieces of verbal delicacies. what are the qualifications? when the Apostles were short one member, they chose from those with them from the beginning (Acts 1). those who could testify to what they had witnessed. i am not saying this is the only qualification, but i believe that a minister should show up and see what Jesus is doing in today’s church. in Acts 6, the Apostles chose seven men to help with the day-to-day operation of the church. the attributes of these followers were “of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom” (Acts 6:3, KJV, Tyndale 1987).
i do not want to discourage anyone from fulfilling their calling in Christ. Jesus said, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish” (Luke 14:28-30). when we begin any form of ministry for the Kingdom, it demands our best effort. it makes good sense to prepare for whatever you may face and use wisdom in making decisions that may influence lives for eternity.
i have already mentioned a financial cost. there are indeed study materials for preparation, ministry supplies, advertisements, training; the list is long. Perry Noble notes four other areas on his Church Leaders blog (https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-blogs/146265-the-five-prices-a-leader-must-be-willing-to-pay.html). he brings to light the emotional, physical, spiritual, and personal costs associated with leadership. as we minister to lost souls and lead them to the cross, we will interact with many personalities, and that in itself will drain you. i pray a blessing in each area over my Pastor and his wife every day.
in the same way they treated Jesus, there will always be those who will approach your witness with their unbelief. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1Peter 3:15). the meaning of meekness and fear is humility and reverence. the phrase, “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” comes to mind. Jesus knew when people were trying to trap Him into saying something that they could use against Him. approaching every conversation as having life or death implications sounds exhausting!
Peter continues, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:10-11). we have a God-given ability to nurture and put into practice. do not give the skeptic or agnostic fodder to tear down the Kingdom message. study and preparation are the keys to glorifying Jesus through your ministry. “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19).
i continue in 1 Peter for another passage. we have seen some qualifications, costs, persecutions, and commitments. is there any other thing that i lack in my preparation for ministry? “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. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Peter 5:5-9).
walking through life can be difficult. why would anyone want to place these types of restrictions upon themselves? if you are considering ministry, perhaps you already know the answer. i know i am not the first one to have said it, but i have been saying it for so long that i forget where i heard it, “When you live for God easily, it is hard. When you live for God hard, it is easy!” there is an awareness that comes from pursuing your calling. some people do not want to sit in the main service, while others have to do the work of the Lord and catch up with the message later in the Livestream. Peter wraps up his first epistle with, “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:10-11). all of these words are strong, foundationally fixed words. when you commit to God, with humility and submission, with your very best ability, He gets the glory, and, though you may suffer a bit, He will make you strong!