The first rule of good writing is "show, don't tell." Don't just explain; illustrate your points. The same applies to good living. We can talk all we want about doing the right thing but our words are meaningless unless we're actually doing it.
The Church has two main purposes: to bring people to Christ and to care for the covenant community (Eph. 4:11-13). Both of these are designed to bring glory to God. By spreading the good news of Christ our King and by living together in love and peace, Christians point the world toward God. If we keep mostly to ourselves, however, and bicker and fight, no one will believe us when we say the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. If we want people to pay attention, we need to demonstrate (James 1:22-25).
Ministry isn't elaborate. It's simple. You don't have to be a pastor to minister. Ministry is simply caring for people's needs. Parents dedicated to raising godly children are ministering to their children; someone who gives extra food to people who don't have enough is ministering to the hungry. When we preach the Gospel to unbelievers we minister to them. As members of the Body of Christ we have an obligation first to our brothers and sisters (James 2:15-17), to make sure they have what they need physically and spiritually. But this doesn't mean our duty to unbelievers is lessened—the Church can't afford to serve itself and neglect the world, or vice versa. To be healthy it must look to itself and the world simultaneously.
The Church finds its strength and impetus for ministry in the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-8). This makes our ministry supernatural; we aren't just humans trying to make a difference; we're humans working through God's power. It's easy to think nothing we can do will be worthwhile. It's easy to go to rallies and seminars and get excited about ministry and then do nothing. It's easy to feel bad about not doing anything and then feel good about feeling bad. But true ministry isn't just about doing. True ministry begins when we rest in the knowledge that anything we do for Christ is the direct result of His love and care for us (Eph. 2:10). We don't minister out of a grim sense of duty or to collect points, we minister out of love for Christ.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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