“Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart.”
~2 Corinthians 4:1 (NRSV)
What is ministry? What is it apart from love? What is it apart from service for God, for and before others? What part has ministry got apart from these things?
Ministry has a fellowship component about it.
It implicates us as a group, for ministry is never for self-appointed means. Being that ministry involves, at its heart and core, the imperative of communal gain we could add the word “together” after ministry...
Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry together, we do not lose heart.
Together we can achieve the fulfilment of God’s will. Apart, in the context of mutual things, we cannot. Separated in objective and aim we miss the Divine mark. It is only together, working in unison, that, as a church, we please God.
What Are We When We Are Divided?
The spirit of competitiveness can, and does, destroy the agenda of God for the church.
Even in covert ways, we can quench the spirit of creativity and the majesty of Divine Presence when we prove indifferent or ambivalent to the offerings of ministry that fellow ministers share in love. And who is a minister? Is there a more appropriate answer than, every servant of God?
We are appointed, together, to encourage, to strengthen, and to urge (1 Thessalonians 2:12) each other on. We are probably aware of the numerous “each other” words of wisdom within the New Testament. When we minister with each other, with and for and to each other, we obey God.
And even though we must speak the truth in love, and be brave enough to give and receive feedback, we are most of all to protect the unity from within. We could argue that the unity of the Church is, somehow, represented in the unity of humanity—the common quest.
Whenever we run divided there should always be the question, where is the stubbornness? Is it on both sides of the argument or simply one? Is there any in me? May we be deluding ourselves? Is it really that we are not being pigheaded also?
A clear conscience in the sight of God is necessary. By that is meant, have we exhausted every angle for reconciliation? (Including every reasonable approach, and some unreasonable ones.)
If our consciences are clear we will not lose heart. Our readiness for mercy will be piqued, as will ever be our love. And if we are supposedly in the wrong, we too have a heart tuned to clemency, ready for a loving compromise.
It seems the strength of the church is its togetherness; the fact that we are in ministry together. We share more similarities than differences, and we should support each other all the more. For the love of God we should love each other, and, in practical terms, support each other’s ministries.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.