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SIX CHARACTERISTICS OF MINISTRY THAT GOD BLESSES


Probably nothing pictures hard honest work more than that of a farmer plowing his field, but the Bible says in Proverbs 21:4 “that the plowing of the wicked is sin” (Prov. 21:4). Not that there’s anything “wicked” in the nature of the work being done. What is “wicked” is the nature of the person doing the work.

 

A bad, dishonorable man’s approach to, participation in and expectations from, what is otherwise good and honorable work can cause that work to become “sin” in the eyes of God. This is as true of those who stand behind pulpits as it is of those who stand behind plows. “The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?” (Prov. 21:27).

 

There are men, lacking in terms of calling and/or character (Jer. 23) who taint and corrupt the good work of the ministry; who compromise both its acceptability to God and its profitability to men; who bring even the work of the gospel ministry into the category of sin.

 

Pastors and congregations need to be aware and reminded that to be acceptable to God and a blessing to others, pastoral ministry must be carried out within and with the following context and consciousness:

 

I.          LOVE FOR GOD

 

All who minister must be motivated first and foremost by both a love for God and selfless love for those whom God Loves; a love that becomes more and more obvious and unquestionably genuine. (1 Cor. 13:1-1; 1 John 4:20).  Without this element of love, whatever is done counts as nothing (1 Cor. 13:3)..

 

 

II.        DEPENDENCE ON GOD

 

Pastors must ,relative to every aspect of their work, maintain a deep consciousness of their utter dependence upon God. Such dependence will produce both a level of humility and of consecrated confidence that God can mightily bless (Matt. 5:3; John 6:63; 15:5; Phil. 2:3a, 13; Zech. 4:6).

 

 

III.       FEAR OF GOD

 

Those who minister the Word of God must avoid the very appearance of flippancy, foolish jesting and anything else that suggests or would encourage irreverence in the worship of God. Men who are careless about how they speak, conduct themselves and even clothe themselves for the preaching of the Word of God and conducting of worship services demonstrate  a lack of reverence and wisdom that unfits them for this work. They minimize  their office and trivialize the God who put them into office (Ecc.12;13; Eph. 5:4; Rom. 11:13).

 

 

IV.       FAITH IN GOD

 

Faith in God in, for, and about the work of ministry is absolutely essential to its being blessed of God. Faith produces the dependency already mentioned and makes possible everything else pleasing and productive in Gospel ministry (Rom. 14:23b; 2 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 11:1, 2). Ministry permeated by faith is a blessing to churches,; ministry performed in the flesh blights them (2 Cor. 3:6)..

 

 

V.         DESIRE FOR THE GLORY OF GOD

 

Really God-blessed ministry is driven by a keenly conscious desire that, every sermon preached and every service observed will redound to the glory of God. This involes (1) a heartfelt manifestation of praise and glory to Him on the lips and  in the lives of His people, and (2) the glory given to Him when lost sinners are converted and “the redeemed of the Lord say so” (Ps. 107:2-8).

 

 

VI.       FOCUS ON GOD

 

The only ministry God can or will bless is that which keeps its focus on Him. This includes every area involved in a pastor s oversight of the flock of God (1 Pet. 5:2). Pastors must never give the pleasing of men or the getting of men's praises preeminence over their pleasing of God (Gal. 1:10; 1 Cor. 10:33; Ps. 10:4, 5; Matt. 6:2; 23:5-8). Pastors can’t focus on God and on their own popularity and what's popular at the same time. They must view all things through the lens of what is “pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22).

 

We need, as Christians, to go into this New Year more discriminant, diligent and prepared than ever before. A careful weighing of pastoral ministry according to each of the above qualities might be helpful.

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