Ministry really is a puzzle on a magnificent scale. Putting the pieces in order AND keeping each of those pieces together can be challenging at times, especially if you have a multifaceted ministry. Pieces of that puzzle include daily time with God in prayer and study, preparing messages, various administrative duties, finances, staff meetings, soulwinning, visitation, counseling, and the list goes on and on. I can also say that having a Christian school multiplies that list threefold.
One of the biggest parts of succeeding in ministry is learning how to bring all of the pieces of the ministry puzzle together in oneness and unity to accomplish the greater purpose of reaching the lost.
The Apostle Paul reveals, what I consider to be one of the most powerful principles found in Scripture as he is writing to the church at Ephesus.
Eph 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Eph 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Eph 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
Eph 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Eph 4:6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Eph 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
While many times we focus on words in this passage like “endeavoring” and “unity”, may I bring two other words to mind. They are “Spirit” and “grace”. I have learned a few things over the years. Some of these principles have been gleaned from the pages of God’s Word, while others have been learned from the “school of hard knocks” (because I was hardheaded).
- THE FLESH CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH– I have learned that I can put some of the pieces together in my own power or strength, but KEEPING it together is impossible without the Holy Spirit and the grace of God. Whether it is a desire to “succeed” (by that I mean fulfilling God’s perfect will for your life, not worldly success) in ministry or the Christian life, our efforts will always fall short of the glory of God. This will produce frustration, weariness, fear, and discouragement. Can I get a witness?!
- WE MUST RELY ON GOD’S SPIRIT AND GRACE– You see, God’s grace and the presence of His Spirit in your life is truly the “glue” that holds it all together. I remember years ago, I got caught up into puzzles. It helped me to get my mind off of things. I was so proud of those puzzles that I bought adhesive spray and created a piece of art out of them. The adhesive spray held the puzzle together and created one portrait. Sometimes putting the puzzle together could be quite frustrating, but once it was complete it would create a beautiful portrait to behold. Nothing will be more frustrating than trying to carry out ministry apart from the grace of God. Whether it is mentoring staff or pushing through the tough times, we MUST desperately cling to the Holy Spirit and rely on His power and grace to enable us and overcome our inadequacies.
- GOD’S RESULTS ARE ALWAYS BETTER THAN MINE– I have always believed in goals and hard work, probably to a fault. We ought to work hard, for there is no place in the ministry for laziness! I want to arrive in Heaven with a pant! That being said, I have also learned that hard work will NEVER be able to supplement God’s grace and presence in my life. Trying to do that would be like trying to pick up a 1000 piece puzzle without it coming apart. Get the picture? IT’S IMPOSSIBLE! Yet when I am fully depending on the Holy Spirit in my life and in every area, He fills me with His grace and all of the confusion, frustration, and fear of trying to put the puzzle of ministry together blends into a marvelous portrait of God’s grace.
Whether you are in ministry or a Christian trying to achieve victory in the Christian life, determine today to be filled with the Spirit of God each and every day of your life. Get into God’s Word every morning and pray often. If you will do that, you will begin to see the big picture of your life become a beautiful portrait as God puts each piece in place.