by David Brown
I’ve been told often since early in my life as a believer that “there’s a call on my life” and “that I’m called to ministry.” This produced some pretty grand visions in my mind.
Early on, it made me think of well-known and respected preachers and evangelists. I have to admit, that wasn’t really exciting to me…it wasn’t particularly “cool.” Later, I was introduced to the sphere of “prophetic ministry”. Now this was cool! I would think again of my “calling to ministry,” and pictured myself on a stage with people lined up to get a “word” from me, or to have me lay hands on them and be healed of whatever ailed them.
When I began playing percussion and singing on occasion with worship teams in “Spirit led” church settings, I imagined myself one day as the enigmatic leader of such a team or band. Surely, this was to be my ministry! It was so cool and it was all about Jesus and what He’s doing now!
I even went to meetings and listened to well-known and respected prophetic people speak this kind of stuff over me. I was like,”Yes Lord!! Yes!” Weeks and months and years would pass and then I’d be like, “When Lord? When?”
Recently, I got this revelation…I had the wrong attitude. I had a selfish attitude. I had a really bad attitude when I would get jealous and judgmental of guys were on the “prophetic cutting edge.” I was really screwed up when I’d get all twisted up inside because I wasn’t the one hearing someone tell me how cool my latest CD was, or how much that spontaneous Spirit song touched them.
And then its like I heard someone (mmm…probably God) say to me, “You already have a ministry and it’s not about being cool, and it’s not about you getting glory.”
This wasn’t what I wanted to hear, which is usually a really good indicator of truth. So, I decided to look into what ministry really is. I’m not a biblical scholar, nor am I exceptionally intelligent, but I wanted to share my findings.
Okay, so what is a minister? I find the etymology to be quite interesting…Middle English: ministre; from Anglo-French, from Latin: minister>servant; akin to Latin: minor> smaller. 14th century. Def….to minister is to give aid or service.
What is service? Once again, the etymology is fascinating…from Latin: servitum> condition of a slave or body of slaves; from servus> slave. One definition of service which struck a chord was: useful labor that does not produce a tangible commodity.
How about what the Bible has to say about ministry? The Hebrew word is abodah, which is defined as labor or service. The root of this word is abad, which means to work or serve. One Greek word for ministry is diakonia, which is defined as the service of those who execute the commands of others. This is where our English word, deacon, comes from. Another one from the Greek is leitourgia, which means a public office which a citizen undertakes to administer at his own expense.
“You already have a ministry,” the voice said. I do. I needed to be reminded. The Bible is clear on it. Things like —
- Putting the needs of others above my own.
- Loving others as I have been loved.
- Exhorting my brothers and sisters to good deeds.
- Honoring and respecting my wife.
- Not provoking my children to wrath.
- Sharing food with the hungry, clothes with the naked, shelter with the one who has nowhere to lay their head.
The list goes on. My ministry — our ministry — is all about sacrificially serving God and each other. It’s about God’s glory — not mine.
I share all of this with the hope that all or part of it may encourage someone who may have found themselves in the same space I was.