Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Heart for Godly Ministry

“You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.”

~Acts 8:21 (NIV).

In this account of Acts, Peter and John had just laid hands on some believers and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17). A man given to power, Simon the Sorcerer, who had only recently become baptised himself, saw this take place—the receipt of power from heaven—and instinctively offered money for this same apostolic power, that of laying-on-of-hands.

Besides the fact that the gifts of God are only bequeathed by him and him alone, usually through an apostolic agent, Simon was deluded. He couldn’t recognise that God’s power needs an appropriate place to rest; that it cannot rest in a vessel foreign to the spirit and intent of God.

Peter—as we’ve come to expect of apostles—saw right through Simon: “I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin” (Acts 8:23). And this is the vital clue to the motive of Simon’s to be blessed with this gift of God—he wouldn’t have had the desire nor the capacity to use it appropriately i.e. in the selfless way of love according to the perfect will of God.

And this is what separates effective ministers of God from the less effective, particularly those ineffective, even those worse still destroying the work of God in their supposed ‘ministry for God,’ rendering such work an utter blasphemy.

These are still strangled somewhat by their own unreconciled bitterness’s and are still therefore captive to sin—not that we all aren’t. Effective ministers for Christ, however, are always cognisant of the depth of their sinfulness, such that the otherwise rampant power of sin is replaced somewhat with a power that comes from God—the power of confession. This is power that agrees with God as far as our human limitations are concerned, unto needing his sanctifying and continual Presence in our lives. [1]

What is it that qualifies us to minister in the name of God? What is it in our hearts that causes us to be qualified where others aren’t? What fruit of repentance do we enter into, initially and continually? What colours and shapes our ministry efforts; God’s Spirit or ourselves?—i.e. our confession or our bitterness’s and captivity (still) to sin.

What ministry do we peddle—a truth ministry besides any personal cost or a false-teaching ministry conformed to the wiles of the situation and day?

A never-ending condition of our ministry is the heart of, or for, God. This is a Spiritual heart, the seat of right and just intentions, and of trust and obedience, no matter the level of personal discomfort, pain or even death.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.


[1] Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend, Boundaries – When to Say YES, When to Say NO, to Take Control of Your Life (Sydney, Australia: Strand Publishing, 1992), p. 87.

No comments: