The ministry is a calling, not a career. It can become a career but there’s a big difference between a calling that becomes a career and a career that was never initiated by a calling.
Those who answer the call are often well suited for many different types of secular work. In fact, several people move into ministry from secular positions taking their skills with them. Moses was trained in Egypt before leading Israel out of slavery. David’s fighting skills were honed while shepherding sheep. Elisha was a farmer before he became the prophet of God. The qualities he developed in farming – reliability, diligence, endurance, attention to detail, organization – were just as useful in ministry as they were in farming.
But the question is, why would anyone do that? Why would a person move from a successful career path in secular work, one they’ve worked hard to prepare for and succeed at, to take up a position in ministry?
Momma Called, Daddy Sent, Socially Ratified
Sad to say, some do this because others think they should. The response is induced by public opinion. Respected others become the basis for a call. And since the work itself is so desirable – ministry is thought of as doing only good things – it’s an easy shift.
The Bible does say ministry is good work.
If a man desires the office of Bishop, he desires a good thing (1 Timothy 3:1).
What it doesn’t say is that ministry is the only good work or that all other work is tainted, but that is the perception. Secular work is leprous. Ministry is heavenly. It’s all very pie in the sky.
The truth is, you don’t have to be in ministry to do good work.
Secular work isn’t partly dingy and ministry isn’t the purified version of vocation. In fact, sound theology teaches there is dignity in all work. Dignity being derived not from the nature of the work but from the way you perform it.
Another reason people opt for ministry is the call. They are called by God to the work of ministry and the calling is often attached to some specific location. A town or city.
But is that enough? Career oriented people tend to be decisive individuals. They’re focused. They visualize where they are going, they anticipate specific results and they make and own their choices. Allowing someone else to make those choices, even God, doesn’t sit well with these types.
So what is it that prompts them to leave a well defined career path and move into ministry apart from the call? What expectation captures their attention and keeps them focused on ministry?
In short, the answer is simple:
That two-word phrase is the shortest, deepest and most meaningful message in the Bible. It is the principle message of the Bible. It’s the first message we should share. It’s the only message that stands alone. Every other truth in the Bible is out of context if it doesn’t somehow connect with salvation.
And the exclamation point is necessary. There is nothing blasé about this message. It isn’t, I was drowning and someone fetched me out of the water, ho-hum. Just another day at the beach.
This is an all caps, bold type, emphasized text, I-can’t-wait-to-tell-you-what-happened, Jesus saves!!
Not Jesus Can Save
The message isn’t Jesus can save. Yes, He can save but saying Jesus can save is very different to Jesus saves.
There are some things I can do but would rather not. Gardening, for example. I guess anyone is able to grow things in the garden but I doubt seriously everyone looks forward to digging in the dirt. I know I don’t.
Jesus saves! He loves to save! He can’t wait to save!
Not Jesus Will Save
The message isn’t Jesus will save. There is no doubt Jesus is willing, but His inclination is much more than just willing.
The list of things I’m willing to do is quite long. Some of those things may never be done, not because I’m not willing, but because some of the items are more important than others and I’m limited. It’s a priority thing.
Make a list of the things you’re willing to do. How many items will be on the list? How many will you do? Which item is first?
Jesus isn’t just willing to save. He actively, consciously, aggressively and constantly works at saving the souls of sinners. It’s the first think on His list.
Not Jesus Wants To Save
To say Jesus is “Willing” to save suggests a limitation by priority. He is willing to save but at the moment, He’s involved elsewhere and can only get to you later.
Saying that Jesus “wants” to save suggests a limitation by ability.
Here again, make a list of all the things you want to do. How many have you done? How many items are nothing but dreams and wishes because you really don’t have the ability?
- I want to win the Tour de France.
- I want to hit a home run in the World Series.
- I want to perform open heart surgery.
Wanting is synonymous with wishing. Jesus doesn’t wish to save. He saves!
Jesus Saves Around The Clock
Jesus saves in the morning, in the evening, in the afternoon and at every moment in between.
If you open your heart to salvation at one in the morning, Jesus saves.
Jesus Saves At Any Time In Life
Some people get saved as young as five or six. As soon as they can understand.
Some get saved just before their last breath. It’s a mystery. Jesus saves at any period in a person’s life.
Jesus Saves Any Person
Every kind of person can come to Jesus. Every kind of person can understand Jesus.
The educated are no more savable than the ignorant. The same with the rich and poor, American and unAmerican, capitalist and communist, gay and straight, stupid and sensible.
Jesus just saves! THINK!AboutIt