What is Ministry? And have you been called to it? (Hint: The answer is yes!)
“Ministry” is one of those terms that has often been misinterpreted. For many people it refers to a title, a habit, a profession, or something that implies recognition. But in the Bible, the office of minister implies function, work, and gain. Following Jesus implies fulfilling a task, but not just any task—one which He has given, and that is clearly defined in Matthew 4:19: “fish for people.” This means reaching others for Christ.
“All believers have been called to reconcile people to God.”
All believers have been called to the ministry of reconciliation. In whatever circumstances believers find themselves, they should take on the role of one who reconciles to Christ.
But the church suffers a chronic and dangerous lack of evangelism. Chronic because we have tolerated this condition for too long, and dangerous because lives and eternal destinies are at stake.
What does this mean for those who follow Jesus? There are four biblical callings to participate in reconciliation.
1. The Call from Above
In Mark 16:15, we find the first: “Then he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’” We can name this the call from above, which comes from on high. It is not a divine suggestion or advice, it is a command. Why wait on a call when the command has already been given? Regarding the evangelistic task of reconciliation, there is nothing to wait for; it simply requires obedience.
Matthew cites an introductory declaration of Jesus when He gives the Great Commission, which serves as an operational framework for everyone who receives the mission to evangelize. The Lord states: “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Thus, anyone who takes on an evangelistic work has the support and presence of He that has all authority in heaven and on earth. With all His glory, Jesus Christ supports those that carry out the work of evangelism.
2. The Call from Within
We note another call, which we can refer to as the call from within. In Romans 1:14, Paul uses the term with deep revealing content: “obligated.” The apostle felt an enormous commitment towards the people. Besides the divine call, his conscience compelled him. Everyone reconciled to Christ has an obligation to those who have not yet come to know the Savior personally. This motivation is born out of gratitude for having been given the privilege of receiving this undeserved grace. We owe humanity the message of reconciliation with God.
In 1 Corinthians 9:16, Paul uses another revealing expression: “And woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” Again, this is a calling that is born from within. The very being of the apostle moved him and shouted out the need to communicate the good news of salvation. For Paul, the greatest reward for preaching the gospel was the privilege of being a carrier of the most wonderful of all messages: “Be reconciled to God” (2Corinthians 5:20).
3. The Call from Without
A third calling to take into consideration is the call from without. It is the voice of the lost that cries for help. In Matthew 9:36, we read that Christ “felt compassion” for the lost souls; the despair of a people without God moved Him. He did not look upon them as mere disobedient and rebellious sinners, but as helpless and dispersed. Jesus felt a call that sprung from the spiritual state of the people, “from without.” We should understand that rampant spiritual need is a call. Where there is necessity, there is ministry to be done. Jesus was able to interpret this calling and respond immediately. The contrast between the greatness of the harvest and the shortage of workers is a calling to prayer.
Only the “Lord of the harvest” can identify ideal workers for the task (Matthew 9:38). It is worth noting that Jesus gave the evangelistic work to the same men that He called to pray for workers (Matthew 9:37). The burden to pray for the salvation of souls seems to be the beginning of the evangelism training process. “Pray first and then preach” can often be a practical formula in this sense.
4. The Call from Below
Finally, the fourth calling is the call from below. In Luke 16:19- 31, the Lord Jesus Christ tells the story of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus. Without going into details, the rich man cried out from hell itself, not just for himself, but also for his family members that were still alive. He wanted to do something for them, but it was impossible. The question that rises from this story is: How many people are there in hell today remembering their living family members and wishing that some messenger would bring them the Word of God? Without being sensational or cruel, but using this story as a basis, we can say that there is a calling from below that makes us aware of the reality of hell and that thousands of souls will spend eternity without salvation. If the other callings do not move us to take immediate and urgent action, perhaps this one will. Thus, the ministry of reconciliation with God is urgent in nature.
Excerpt modified from the CSB Fisher of Men Bible, Dr. Luis Ángel Díaz-Pabón, General Editor. The CSB Fisher of Men Bible is a tremendous tool in the hands of all those who wish to respond to the mandate of the Great Commission, fulfilling the call to be fishers of men. It’s designed to help you navigate through the Word of God for almost any life situation or topic of conversation. It features a 28-page guide that is divided into six main themes: Counseling, Devotion, Evangelism, Church, Christian Doctrine, and Apologetics. Learn more or order your copy today for only $13.99!