Called to faithful ministry: Meditation for the eleventh Sunday after trinity
God calls us to different offices and assignments for His purpose and pleasure. It is he who calls that determines the role and sets the rule. The called is only to play the script or do it just as caller wants it, not minding whether it suits him (the called) or not. Unfortunately, it is not often so, as many are quite unfaithful to the Divine calling and mission by their selfishness, desperation for success by all means and yielding to societal/other influences. Our preoccupation in ministry portends our understanding of the call: whether it is just to make it or to stand out or to impress or make a show or actually to obey God Who has called us. We are called to be faithful. Those called by God stand as His ambassadors to a lost world. God’s call or delegation is an act expressive of great confidence in those who are called, hence He commits to them great and important interests. It, therefore, follows that:
• No one ought to regard himself as called to the ministry who will not be “faithful” to his Master (1Cor. 4:2); and,
• The work of the ministry is most honourable and responsible. Nowhere else are there so great interests entrusted to man.
Reflections on the Bible Readings for Day (Mattins)
In the OT (Ezek. 33:1-9, 30-end), Ezekiel was called to be a watchman for Israel. God used the picture of the call to be a watchman to delineate the point of faithfulness to the demands of the calling. It is true that the purpose of every calling is to achieve a particular result. But God’s primary interest in the instrument or person He chooses is His commitment in doing exactly what He asked Him to do. If he is faithful in performing his role and yet, the expected result is not achieved, God will not hold him responsible.
It is when the watchman sees the sword coming against the people and fails to blow the trumpet to warn them that God will hold him accountable for the blood of any of them, whose life is taken by the sword. But if he fulfils his duty by issuing warning, he will have no case to answer, even if the result of saving the people is not achieved. The picture is clear: we are called to a faithful ministry, which will not necessarily lead to the expected result or what is generally regarded as successful ministry. The success of a ministry is to be measured by the faithfulness to it to the end. What matters, as in the case of Ezekiel, is not really whether people believe and take one serious, but that one remains faithful and undistracted that in the end, “they will know that a prophet has been among them.”
The account of Paul’s 2nd missionary journey in the NT passage (Acts 16:1-15) is a typical example of faithfulness to the call/ministry. Paul was not after his own personal interest or other obvious attractions. He was rather only after the interest and edification of the church. He partnered with the Lord, worked with Him, obeyed His commands, and delivered His words through the apostles, keeping out of where he was prevented from, no matter the attractions, going over to where he was needed and doing what he was asked to do. Consequently, the Lord blessed his ministry and it became successful.
The Venerable Dr. Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba, FIMC, CMC is the Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
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