“How do you keep going when there are only 2 people in the pews?!” That was the question I asked of another minister many years ago when I was leading a Church plant. I didn’t have much more, there were 15 of us! I will never forget his reply, “I don’t minister to the people I minister to God.” He was saying my eyes are not only on the people they are on Him. Something that has stayed with me and which I still need to learn at times!
“I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. 15 Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15 v 14-16)
The Apostle Paul, a Jew, writing to mainly a Gentile Roman Church, tells them he does so because not only was Jesus’ focus on the Gentiles he is now following that lead. He is called to the Gentile world. But that calling is as a minister of Christ or “ministering as a priest” (NASB). This is unique here to Paul but a wonderful thought that when people convert and come to Christ in doing so it is an acceptable sacrifice to God. Therefore the presentation of the gospel in whatever way it is done to bring them to Jesus is a ministering priestly service to God. This is the priesthood of all believers; where there is no elite task force who have special knowledge or carry a special anointing or indeed have a special authority to understand the Bible than the rest. You are not a minister till you retire and then stop being a minister. You were a minister before you became a minister and even if you never became a minister you were always a minister (hope that’s not too confusing!).
Yesterday I visited the hospital where one of our retired ministers is battling cancer. He told me how the day before he was enjoying worshipping God with his hands in the air with the worship songs blasting from his ipad. Then he opened his eyes to see a nurse standing there watching with amazement at this minister bringing a service to God declaring His praise to those around.
Today whatever you do, wherever you find yourself, your ultimate task is to be a ministerial priest to a watching world. How you do that is by the leading of the Spirit within you and with His wisdom. But never underestimate what God is doing in your life. Never look down on the smallness of your world. Today is a ministering priestly day and it may be that you are instrumental in bringing someone to Jesus and in turn an acceptable sacrificial offering is given.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)