Four wrong reasons for doing ministry
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:13-15)
The Lord God assigns various ministry roles to the people of the Church. Central to any ministry is the mandate of preaching the Gospel. There is no real ministry without the Gospel. You can speak a lot of kind words, solve marriage problems, even do healing etc but that will only bless a person to a limit. However, if you preach the Gospel to a person and he accepts it and believes on the Lord Jesus, then you have been a blessing to him spiritually as well. Preaching of the Gospel is never to be the niche of a select few and only to be done in the Church. In fact, anyone who believes in Jesus Christ and holds on to the Gospel can actually spread it potentially anywhere in the world.
With that being said, one must beware of wrong reasons for doing ministry. Whatever the ministry that Christ has given you by the Holy Spirit you must do without any bad motive.
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 4:1-18)
Here a few wrong reasons (4 of them) to get into ministry:
Desire to be famous: The need to be famous through ministry can give a nice feeling initially. What it brings in course of time is a lot of jealousy and malice towards others doing the same ministry elsewhere. To be sure that you are not to be focused on fame let’s recall what Jesus said which goes like this, “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved”(Matthew 10:22).
Greed for money: Be sure that any lusting after money won’t go unpunished in ministry. If not in this life but in the next life, one won’t go to heaven. Doing ministry out of greed puts you in the same league as the vile betrayer Judas Iscariot. The Bible mentions the true nature of Judas in the following verses from John 12:1-6 which you can read below:
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
Escape from sin: Some people think that by joining an overseas preaching contingent, they can escape from temptation back in their region. They are dead wrong. If you couldn’t control yourself in your own country how will you control yourself in a nation which you never set foot in earlier. It would be wise that you first tackle your sinful nature instead. Always remember the following; One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. (Luke 16:10)
Running away from spouse and family: It’s very stupid of some people to make doing ministry their legal and convenient excuse to run away from their spouse (in case they’re married to a spouse they dislike) and from family. Not everyone has spouses or families where quarrels and violence don’t take place. So if you’re getting into ministry to avoid your own people, what will you do if in ministry you get people whose behavior matches with that of the very people you left behind? Will now jump from ministry to ministry then? What if your spouse turns up at the doors of your ministry leaders and starts crying and accuses them of stealing you for their ministry and your leaders gets embarrassed and asks you for an explanation? What if your family turns up with a court order saying that you are to maintain your family whom you are deliberately neglecting? Better give heed to the following verses:
- let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:33)
- But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)
One might ask; now if someone has any one or more of the above wrong motives what can one do? Some might further ask; I do have wrong motives which are not listed above and I’m soon getting into ministry, so how do I correct myself? Here’s my answer to such questions:
Pray for courage to face your emotional, relationship and financial issues, in the right way, without using the ways of deception in your life. Get your priorities right. Put God first. Keep the glory of God central to your thought, words and actions. Get out of any sins that you are committing. Stop any misuse of your God given talents. Repent genuinely of all wrong motives. Jesus Christ can set things right but are you going to follow him? Follow him because you love him and believe that he is the Son of God. Ask Jesus to cause the Holy Spirit to guide you so that you do your ministry however small in wisdom and holiness. And finally, do not neglect the wisdom of the Gospel.