The Remnant: Restoring the Call to Personal Integrity by Larry Stockstill is an incredible book that is filled with valuable insights and time-tested strategies for maximizing individual potential and that of the local assembly. While reading this book, I felt as though I was turning the pages of two separate and distinct manuals. It is fitting that the narrative is separated into two parts. I want to briefly discuss these two parts and describe a couple of ways that I can personally improve my Christian journey from Stockstill’s 10 commandments of ministry.
Part one of The Remnant discusses the dysfunctional church. I was blown away by the revelation and the application of five-fold ministry when applied to a congregation. Many times, the individual offices are neglected or one man tries to wear all of the hats that are intended to be shared through obedience and submission to the Spirit. Simply allowing God’s government to operate as designed would free many to excel in their called vocation and have the greatest impact as a whole. The attitudes and opinions of the saints (and dare I say, some preachers) squelch the healing of dysfunction as God has intended for the church.
Part two begins with the 10 commandments of ministry. These learned attributes add value to the individual and make the body of Christ into a stronger, cohesive unit. Everyone would benefit from an attempt to improve in all of these areas. For this assignment, I took notes as I was reading through the book and chose the two areas that were most profound to me. The two chapters of Relationship and Faith came in a very close third and fourth place, but I am writing on Prayer and Wisdom.
Prayer is the essential communication with God that grows your relationship through acknowledgment, praise, petition, and listening. It is through prayer that we can ask for help in all areas of life and disciplines of Christianity. Your family and community will be impacted by your prayers. When coupled with fasting, prayer “is the foundation of all successful ministry and personal devotion.” (p. 57) I plan to continue to develop my prayer life by waking up early, setting alarms to keep myself on schedule, and praying for the needs of those around me as they arise throughout the day. I will also incorporate fasting every week. Usually, I fast once a month for one to three days, but adding a day a week may be the difference between a good ministry and a great ministry!
Wisdom is “a heart attitude, a humble dependence on God to give you the wisdom you don’t have in yourself.” (pp. 165-166) Many times, I have had instant regret at what slipped out of my mouth. There is no shortage of insensitive or inappropriate comments that made people uncomfortable and agitated. I have been humbled and try to “be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20, KJV) I will continue to make myself aware of my speech and attitudes as I strive to gain influence with those around me. “God promoted Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah, and a host of other leaders” (p. 175) despite the horrible circumstances that surrounded them. I’m not looking for a position or promotion, but when presented with a seemingly impossible task, I want God to be glorified!
Reading about all of these “commandments”, it is easy to see how they all work together to develop and improve your potential. Most of these topics cannot be accomplished without one or two other principles. People are watching and Jesus is coming back, that should be more than enough motivation to live our best lives for the Lord. We are all going to have bad days, but when we practice these disciplines daily, we are more apt to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and continue this journey with a smile on our faces. Our salvation and that of the world around us depend on it.