God is able to guard your ministry

Published 11:38 pm Friday, October 24, 2008

The simple truths in my four previous articles were these: God is able to save you, keep you, give you courage and to meet your material needs. The simple truth for today is that God is able to guard your ministry.

This article is not a word from the Bible to preachers, pastors and church staff members, although they are certainly included. But this is a word from God for every saved believer. A ministry is simply a means by which you serve God and serve others in His name. The Bible is very clear that God has given every believer the potential, the gift and the responsibility for a ministry (See 1 Corinthians 12:4-7). It is very clear also that one of the primary purposes of church leaders is “to prepare God’s people for works of ministry” (See Ephesians 4:12).

The key Bible passage for today is 2 Timothy 1:12 and I wish to present it from three different translations. (1) “And therefore I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure the He is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (RSV). (2) “Yet I am not in the least ashamed. For I know the One in whom I have placed my confidence, and I am perfectly certain that the work he has committed to me is safe in His hands until that Day” (Phillips). (3) “But I am not ashamed of it, for I know Who it is in Whom I have trusted, and am confident of his power to keep safe what he has put into my charge, until the great Day” (N.E.B.). Prior to verse 12 in this chapter, the Apostle Paul has emphasized the ministry God has given him of being a sent messenger and teacher of the Gospel. But he also reveals the painful sufferings related to his God given ministry which could tempt some persons to give it all up.

Although his journey of sufferings in service to Jesus Christ had climaxed in a Roman prison, he affirmed that God is able to guard his ministry to his last breath.

A ministry is something you do as a member of the body of Christ to serve meaningfully within the body or it may be something you do as a member of the body of Christ to be of service toward the unsaved world. A believer may grow to be more effective in ministry or a believer may have a lapse and become inactive in ministry. The New Testament tells of John Mark who left the Missionary Journey and went back home. The Apostle Paul said of one of his fellow workers, “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed to Thessalonica” (2 Timothy 4:10). We may all know of believers who once were serving but are no longer doing so. You may know by personal experience of having a personal ministry in the past but are no longer serving.

Each of us needs to do a self-examination as to whether we have had a lapse concerning ministry. How did you once serve in a way you were gifted to do but have gotten away from it? What did you once do that God called you to do but you have gotten away from it?

God is able to guard your ministry. I know from a lifetime of experience that a person can be tempted and tested in the direction of retreating from ministry. It might be the allurement of this present world. It might be some pain or suffering as a symptom of the way you approach ministry. It might be some unending infirmity in your body. It might be discouragement or a sense of failure. It might be the excuse of retirement. It might be personality conflicts. But the bottom line is that “God is able to guard your ministry”. And this is where faith comes in. Jesus does not ask, “Are you able?” He asks you, “Do you believe that I am able?” Faith is believing that God is able and acting upon this belief. God can give you a ministry or God can restore your ministry as he did for John Mark who left the Missionary Journey. God will not do this without you turning to him for help. The Bible says, “Guard your ministry with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (2 Timothy 1:14).

Let’s summarize. Ministry means serving. God wants every believer to have a ministry. Church leaders must help equip believers to serve. God is able to guard the ministry or ministries he gives you until you meet Him face to face. A believer can retreat from ministry. God is able to restore you to a ministry as he did for John Mark.