“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” II Timothy 4:1-2
“I solemnly charge you …” The words roll off your tongue with grandeur and nobility. Paul calls God and Christ as witness to his charge to young Timothy. He then delivers his commission: Preach! Be ready! Reprove, rebuke, exhort!
To Paul, church wasn’t about sipping coffee in the sanctuary on Sunday morning. Ministry wasn’t a volunteer list tacked up on the bulletin board. The church was the kingdom of God at work in the world, and ministry was a matter of commitment, rigor, suffering, and purpose.
Perhaps it’s time to re-think how we approach ministry. How we commission people to do ministry. What we expect out of ministry.
Ministry should be done with a purpose. People who are called into that ministry should be commissioned by the church body to fulfill their divinely-appointed charge. And the results of the ministry should be regularly examined, to make sure it is bringing forth good fruit.
When we do so, the kingdom of God will transform our world!
What is God’s calling to you right now? (Remember, God may call you to many different ministries over the course of your life.)
Are you struggling with feeling like your calling has turned into monotonous routine? Or a thankless, fruitless task? If so, why? Is it a problem inside you (for instance, in your attitude or spirit), or a problem outside you (for example, are you burdened down by unnecessary red tape that is impeding your success)?
What would it do for your approach and attitude if the apostle Paul were to give you a commissioning statement like he did for Timothy?
How can you and your church better commission and support others in their ministries?