Ministry has many faces, and it shows up and expresses itself in ways as diverse as there are people. One thing all ministry has in common is that it is always about service. Whether you are teaching, helping, sharing, or encouraging, ministry is always other-focused. Ministry, true ministry, is never about you, and always about the one you are serving, and the reason we do it is because Jesus left us His example.
The main text for this post is found both on Matthew 20:20-28 and Mark 10:35-45. On these texts, we have two accounts of the same event, two of Jesus’ disciples wanting to have authority or power over the others. They came to Jesus hoping to share in His power and through Him to have power over others. Many have a similar approach to religion. This problem is seen everywhere, humans over to have power over others. Jesus, however, turns the idea of power and greatness on its head, at least from the perspective of our fallen world. Jesus talks about greatness and service, and not about power and being served. This concept is easier to talk about than to practice. I believe a big part of the challenge is the lack of examples we have here on earth. I believe the misuse and abuse of power have greatly hurt and continues to hurt the spreading of the gospel. Forceful coercion is the realm of Satan and his followers but never of Christ and His followers. God always gives us a choice, just like He did in the Garden of Eden by placing the tree of the knowledge of good and evil there (Genesis 3).
When we stop and analyze what Jesus said, it is very puzzling. If you’re anything like me you probably want to question His approach, but then you remember its Jesus, and it’s how He did ministry, so you know it works, but, you’re still not sure how it would work in your context. That is how I feel. I do not always know how to apply this. But at least I know what I am aiming for, and I can reflect and see how well I succeeded or failed, compared to what Jesus did and calls me to do.
Jesus gave us the example of what ministry ought to look like. Ministry is about saving others through service. The specific details of the ministry Jesus is calling you to is up to you.