Friday, July 08, 2011

"Our" Ministry

 2 Corinthians 4:1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.

1 Διὰ τοῦτο, ἔχοντες τὴν διακονίαν ταύτην καθὼς ἠλεήθημεν, οὐκ ἐγκακοῦμεν

This verse picks up where we left off in the previous post. The verb in the first clause is  ἠλεήθημεν, which is in the aorist passive. This means that Paul is telling them that God gave them ministry at some point in the past. It doesn't tell us how it happened, but it does tell us that it was given to them. Also, the verse does not expressly state that it comes from the mercy of God, but it does say that it came by mercy. It's pretty safe to infer that God is the one who granted them mercy.

As someone who is in the middle of planting a church, I find this to be an encouragement. I think it is safe to extrapolate this verse to describe ministry in general. Really the word is τὴν διακονίαν, which is the word from which we get "deacon." It refers to ministry or service. What I get out of this is that any ministry or service we get to do for God's people comes from the mercy of God. This verse starts with the phrase Διὰ τοῦτο, which literally means "therefore this." This explains the phrase at the end. Why don't we give up hope? We don't give up hope because we received ministry from the mercy of God.

This gives me hope because that I trust God to do His will. I enjoy the blessing of being an instrument in His hands, but really it is His ministry. If we assemble a fellowship it will be because God in His mercy brought a fellowship to us. My concern is my personal holiness. Although God can use anyone at anytime to do His will,  I also know that it will be a lot easier for me if I am walking closely with Him. I've often heard it said that if you want to know God's will you need to think the way He thinks. How do you do that? You walk in close fellowship with Him through prayer, time in the Word, fellowship, worship, etc.

The point of all this is that I find great encouragement knowing that this is God's ministry and that it is enabled by His mercy. That takes the pressure off of me to make it succeed. I certainly must do my part as well as God has gifted me to do it, but I don't need to think that it is all about me. As with all of life, it is all about Him.

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