When people think of the word ministry, images of church, money, and preaching behind a pulpit come to mind. But these don’t define true ministry. Ministry is serving other people. In the Bible you see many instances of Jesus serving people. There was the time that he fed 5,000 men, plus women and children, after healing the sick. And we can’t forget Lazarus and Jairus’ 12-year-old daughter, whom Jesus restored to life. At the last supper, Jesus astonished the disciples by washing their feet. And, we recall the wedding, where Jesus turned water into wine, when the host’s supply ran out.
Aside from a life earmarked by obedience and sacrifice, Jesus was always moved by compassion for others. His life was about helping other people. He was a minister. No, he didn’t hang out in church all the time. He didn’t pursue riches. And he didn’t preach behind a pulpit. Instead, he hung out with regular folks. He listened to their concerns and felt their pain. He ate with them. He taught them. He loved them and healed them.
As evidenced by Jesus, serving others isn’t always easy. It requires selflessness: giving of yourself. The Bible says that true service is laying down your life for another person. This is exactly what Jesus did. He gave his life for us so that we can be reconciled to Father God.
Today, the importance and power of true service seems lost in our society. In every sphere, whether in business, government, or the church, people are less concerned with serving others. Instead, they want to be served. “What’s in it for me?” is a common question. It’s no wonder so many people are suffering with depression, physical and mental illness, loneliness, and hopelessness. From the boardroom to the bingo hall, we’ve missed the mark. Without sincere love, service and compassion for others, how can a hurting world know the love of God?
If you aspire to be a minister, you’re real focus must on loving and helping people. Follow Jesus, the best example of how a minister should serve. Read through the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John for first-hand accounts of what true ministry looks like.
If you’re called to a life of service, you have an amazing ability to bring healing to others in innumerable ways. In whatever capacity God calls you to serve, be a person that others can rely on. Be compassionate, sensitive and real. Only then are you guaranteed to touch many lives with the powerful, life-saving gift of service. And you may do all of this without—possibly—ever entering a church, having lots money, or preaching behind a pulpit.