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What’s Your View of Ministry

Sometimes you just need to get real with people.  I’ve found that in the ministry, that’s a hard thing to do.  Many people can’t handle the truth about it.

In his letter to the Corinthian church, Paul bares his soul to them.  He hopes that it will cause them to open their hearts to the Word of God that he’s preaching.

He starts by comparing how they see themselves with their perceptions of him.

We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ!  We are weak, but you are strong!  You are honored, we are dishonored!
1 Corinthians 4:10

Paul is exposing their thoughts.

“Paul only shows up here to tell us what to do.”

“Paul and his team are morons for what they’re doing in Christ’s name.  We are sensitive and thoughtful in Christ.  They’re weak, but we’re powerful.  Our opinion carries a lot of weight, theirs is valueless.”

I wish that this was an isolated case; only the opinions of an ancient church that died out long ago.  However, I’ve found these attitudes in the church of today.  There are Christians who won’t listen to godly counsel.

“Pastor, you don’t understand real life.  I can’t live for Christ on your level.  You don’t understand the pressures I face.”

I have to laugh when I hear arguments like that.  I lived a Christian life as an Electrical Engineer for many years.  Even now in my part-time job and hobbies, I’m constantly interacting with non-Christians.  I’ve experienced the same pressures as everyone else.

Then, to top it off, the ministry itself has pressures that are not apparent to most believers.  Paul tries to get this across to the church.

To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.  We work hard with our own hands.  When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly.  Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.
1 Corinthians 4:11-13

Based on his other writings and the book of Acts, I don’t believe that Paul was talking about physical, material things here.  He was talking about the weight of the ministry.  The fact is, the more of God you encounter, the hungrier and thirstier for His Spirit you become.

The phrase in rags actually means naked.  That’s one of the worse pressures for a minister.  No one else feels more naked than a pastor.

Every aspect of his or her life is scrutinized under a magnifying glass.  Everything is inspected – their spouse, children, free-time activities, and how they dress.  Doctors, lawyers, teachers and other professions not treated like that.

On top of that, no matter how badly we’re treated, we’re expected to portray the love of Christ to all people.  If we make one miss-step, we’re labeled as mean spirited.

No, I’m not griping about the ministry.  I wouldn’t choose any other calling.  The rewards far outweigh the challenges.  I’m simply pointing out the truth that Paul’s trying to get across to the church.

As believers, we need to understand the price that’s being paid for the Word that’s being preached to us.  Then we can receive that Word, knowing that it comes from a heart that seeks God’s best in those who are listening.

Question: What price has your pastor paid to bring God’s Word to you?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on February 15, 2019 in Leadership, Ministry, The Church

 

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Scripture Without the Word of God

Dry2In my last post I talked about those who minister without the Word of God.  We are experiencing an epidemic of this in our American Christian experience.  Jude wrote about this problem almost 2000 years ago.

These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm – shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted– twice dead.
Jude 1:12

This rebuke describes a growing segment of the church.  What an appropriate editorial on many of the “ministers” we see on Christian cable and radio.

Jude describes them as shepherds who feed only themselves.  They preach messages that excite people in order to keep their cash flow going strong.  They’re clouds and wind with no rain – autumn trees with no fruit.

If there’s no fruit, then there are no seed to plant.  But that doesn’t matter.  With no rain they couldn’t water them either.

It’s a sign of the times that we live in.  There’s an abundance of the Bible being preached in America these days.  How much of it is a Word from God?  How much of it speaks what God wants said to this generation for this time in history?  How much planting and watering is being accomplished?

For the amount of Scripture being sent through the airways and over the internet, there is very little fruit to harvest.

“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine through the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.  Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it.”
Amos 8:11-12

The prophet Amos predicted the days when there would be a famine of the Word of God.  What is a famine?  It’s usually a dry weather pattern.  As a result there’s no rain, no crops, and no new seed.  This must go on for years to qualify as a famine.

During the time of spiritual famine that Amos wrote about, Israel had many synagogues.  These were places where the Scripture was taught.  There were people teaching the Scripture all over Israel.  Scripture reading abounded – but not the Word of God.

It grieves me to look at the United States in light of this Scripture.  We are in that exact same place.  An abundance of the Bible is being preached and taught from every possible media outlet.  Yet for all of this, the church of Jesus Christ is, for the most part, marginalized.

We need to hunger and thirst for a revival of the Word of God in us.  Of course we need Scripture as our foundation – to keep us on track.  But we must seek God Himself so that we can receive the Living Word to burn within us.

Questions: What could America look like with an abundance of the Word of God going forth?  What could your life be like?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Revival, Word of God

 

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