The Apostle Paul said that the impetus to actually make him a minister of Jesus Christ came from outside of him. It was Jesus Christ who ENABLED him and also PUT him into this role. In other words, his choice of this work was done externally and not by him:
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 1:12-14, emphasis added)
I would like to look at this passage in more detail because it contains significant specifics about the role of God in the selection of a career of one representing Christ, teaching Christ, serving as Christ. In the passage above, I quoted more of the passage in Timothy because it provides context that I will cover to the “enabled” and “put” which I will cover later.
While Paul’s case is extreme (he was a persecutor of Christians turned minister), it does contain an archetype of the man who will occupy that role.
There are those who insistently seek for and lust after the position of a minister. The motives could be the perceived glamour of the position, being adulated, praised, adored and revered. There is the element of power and control. One individual who lusted for this position was Simon the Sorceror in the early days of the New Testament Church.
He lived in Samaria that is 120 miles north of Jerusalem. Some people there received the word of God and were baptized by Phillip, a newly-ordained deacon (Acts 6). Among them was Simon, the Sorcerer:
“But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.” (Acts 8:12-13)
Those baptized had to wait for ordained ministers to come up from Jerusalem to lay hands on them in order to receive the Holy Spirit. So, two apostles, Peter and John were sent there to do just this: “Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:17)
Simon the Sorcerer was impressed! Simon was already a person who enjoyed the drama and rush of performing in front of crowds:
“But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, ‘This man is the great power of God.’ And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time… (Acts 8:9-11)
Simon wanted in on the ministry of Jesus Christ that because of what he was seeing in front of him:
“And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:18-19)
This was quickly stopped cold by the Apostle Peter:
“But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” (Acts 8:20-23).
To this day, the practice of trying to buy an office in the ministry is called “simony” that goes back to this account in Acts 8. This example from the earliest days of the Church of who is NOT to be in the ministry. A narcissistic person seeking power, control, adulation has no place in the ministry. it is these types that will become abusive and focus the ministry on themselves rather on the those who must be served.
We will continue this discussion in this series. https://vkubik.wordpress.com/category/ministry/