Sunday, December 18, 2016

For the Work of the Ministry



And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
-Ephesians 4:11-12 (KJV)

Every time I read or hear this passage of scripture, I think about when I worked at Ryan’s Steakhouse.  I was in my early twenties, and in college.  Waiting tables was fun for me because I got to do something I enjoy the most, talking.  I talked to people all day!
After I had been there a while, they made me a lead or head waitress.  That meant I trained new wait staff when they came in.  There was a format for how they did things in that restaurant, as I am sure there is in every restaurant.  Our main function was service.  We were there to serve and wait on the people, meeting their needs as they partook of a meal.
The same is true with the Kingdom of God.  Service is what we do.
Jesus said,
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others, and to give His life as a ransom for many.
-Matthew 20:28 NLT 
As Believers, we are called to serve as well.
It seems to me that the office of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher is much like my position was as the lead waitress.  When new people become part of the staff, I train them to serve.  When new Believers become part of the Kingdom, those ministry gifts also train people and develop them in some way to serve.  Those ministry gifts have different responsibilities. But, no matter how you look at it, we are all serving.
The beginning of the verse says that those five ministry gifts are for the perfecting of the saints.  When I trained my staff, I had to make sure they did things the proper way.  I had been there longer.  I knew my way around, so I knew what to teach them and how.  
The verse goes on to say, “for the work of the ministry.” Ministry is service.  If you look up the word in the Greek, it is the word “diakonia.” One of the definition of that word literally means, “waiting at a table.”
Notice also that Jesus is the one who gives the gifts.  We don’t get to decide which one we are.  A few verses above this passage, it says “grace was given to each one us.” (Ephesians 4:7 HCSB) So, everybody in the Body of Christ has a gift to serve. Everyone has a place to fit.
Toward the end of this passage, it says that the work of the ministry is for the edifying of the Body of Christ.  The word edify means to “build up.” So, when we are all ministering, we are building the rest of the body up.  We are making it better than it was before.  That means we are not tearing it down.
One final thought.  When I was training wait staff, I was still waiting on tables too.  I was still meeting the needs of the people.  I didn’t just train people and then leave them to wait the tables. We all worked together to make sure the restaurant was functioning smoothly and that the people were served.  

Many blessings to you as you take your place,
Beth

To read more about serving in the Kingdom, check out my friend Heather's post, The Kingdom of God is Like an Applebees.



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