“Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,” – Acts 26:19 NKJV
When God made the first man, He immediately gave him work to do in His vineyard at Eden(Genesis 2:15). It was that assignment for which he needed a helper that led to God finding one suitable for him. Ministry therefore preceded marriage and should be so prioritized that all other aspects of life are made to fall in line with it.
I was privileged to learn about the call of God from Rev. George Adegboye very early in life. I am sharing a little of that today. In our text, Archippus was instructed by Paul through his epistle to the Colossians to ‘Take heed’ to the ministry he had received ‘in the Lord’. Being a member of the body of Christ is a guarantee that we all have received various ministries. Ministry is service and as every member or part of the human body has a function it performs, so also is it with the body of Christ (Romans 12:4-5). By being in the Lord, we all have our ministries to which we have been called. The neglect of our duties affects the body negatively just as our faithfulness affects the body positively. As every human part is equipped to play one role or the other, so all of us are gifted and anointed to fulfill various roles in the Church of Jesus Christ.
A better understanding of our CALLING will allow us to appreciate the need for absolute surrender to it and inform us of the right attitude with which we are to embrace it. The Word ‘Calling’ from the Greek word Klesis has the following means:
1. Invitation – It is God’s invitation to you and I to participate in His grand plan of redemption for humanity. This invitation to mortal man is a huge privilege to participate in what God is doing in the earth. Such a privilege cannot be taken lightly.
2. Summon – When a summon is issued by the police or court of competent jurisdiction, it must be obeyed. The Chief judge of the universe has summoned you to perform certain tasks in the world and you must obey. One day, you will be summoned to appear before Him in heaven to give an account of how you spent your lifetime and the gifts he gave you.
3. Destination – No one sets out on a journey without an end point in mind. You came into this world for a particular purpose. Living your life outside of the intended destination is therefore an abuse of the privilege of life.
4. Vocation – To your calling you should devote your life. Your ministry should be given first place in your life and if possible engage most of your time each day.
5. Business proposal – God has invited us into a rewarding journey that is full of responsibilities but also rewards at the same time. Every proper business proposal includes considerations. There are rewards for obedience that cannot be found elsewhere.
In light of the above meanings, you will agree with Paul that like Archippus, we all need to ‘Take heed’ to our ministries. To take heed means to pay attention to, gaze at, focus upon, respond to, discern, and understand. Looking at these definitions, I will admonish every man to handle their ministries no matter how visible or invisible, prominent or not with serious-mindedness. A few important keys to note here are:
Ministry must prioritize and therefore all other decisions made in the light of it. Who to marry, where to live, what job to take, where to do business and several other crucial decisions would be made because they make ministry possible.
Success happens when opportunity meets preparation. Jothan became mighty as a king because of adequate preparation. We are to show ourselves approved unto God by diligent preparation in the Word and prayer.
Ministry is service and not a position. All ministry starts by serving in whatever capacity we can. Philip the evangelist started out as a deacon. God can increase and expand the scope of ministry with time but no one starts at the apex. People called to prominence start in obscurity.
No ministry can be fulfilled without faith. We must believe the Word of the Lord to us and be persuaded of them before we see any form of manifestation at all. We must by faith birth the heavenly vision into earthly materiality.
It is through faith and patience that we inherit the promise. Faith alone will not convey us to our destinies. It takes persisting against all odds. Ministry is in phases and visions are not accomplished overnight. It takes time and that requires patience.
All ministry is by people to people with people. We must be clear about to whom God has sent us and with whom we are sent. All ministry is done in community and never in isolation. We have a role to play in the lives of others as they have on our lives. It is pertinent that we identify the divine relationships God has positioned around us for the fulfillment of our ministry. They range from Pastors, mentors and spiritual parents to covenant friends and colleagues to mentors and spiritual children. Once identified, we are to position ourselves appropriately in cooperation with them and endeavour also to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace as there are bound to be conflicts and offences. Our positioning should be determined by divine direction and not emotions.