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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Characteristics of the "Called" Minister of the Gospel

Most of the people I know in the ministry are honest, hard working, God seeking, praying ministers of the gospel. They have different personalities and gifts but share some common characteristics. I have observed these people and know that God called them because of how they are used by God. Not all of them are in pastoral roles. Each of them lives out their calling in very specific ways.

Called ministers have hearts that sink into the ministry. They look forward to doing their ministry. They don't see it as work even though they will work harder than anyone would expect for the salaries they receive.

None of them are perfect. They fail at times but they are never failures. They sin at times but they are known more for their seeking the Lord rather than their sins. They express their faith by their words and the ways they live.

Called ministers don't wonder what they should do each day. They know their calling. When they don't know how or what steps to make, they go to the Lord in prayer. Their prayer life is not relegated to praying for the sick. It encompasses their ministries. These called ministers seek the Lord until they know exactly how they are to preach, lead, address issues and continue their ministries. Their outward lives may not be spectacular but their prayer lives are. Evidence of such a prayer life is seen in how they speak of prayer, how they pray publically and the time they spend in prayer. Those who go into their "inner room" to meet with the Lord come out changed. Their faith and demeanor is different from those who rely on other means of carrying out a ministry.

These called ministers need no one to monitor their work. They know the Lord is watching them at all times. They know that they work for Him and work with Him. They know that nothing will be done without abiding in Him. Therefore, they do what they do as His servants. They seek to please their Lord so fervently that no godly person will deny their work ethic.

Called ministers of God are more likely to get criticism than those who aren't. Many ministers are judged by the way they handle the politics in their areas of ministry. They speak favorably to the potential big giver even though he is living a licentious lifestyle. They pander to the whims of those who will cause the most trouble. This is not the case of the called minister. He or she is gentle with those around their ministries but careful to hold their principles regardless of the political fallout. These ministers may be "run off" or fired or given so much more hell in their places of ministry than those who are in the ministry for the job rather than calling.

Called ministers are blessings to their areas of ministry. They bring the presence of the Lord into every situation. They cause the godly to seek God more and the ungodly to be uncomfortable. They may not be great orators with great articulation but will speak loudly by their actions. They will say more with stumbling wordsof life than those whose words are beautiful on the outside but filled with death inside.

Note the called ministers around you and lift them up in prayer. Pray that, though their lives may not be easy, their ministry will bring the presence of the Lord to all those around them today.

1 Thessalonians 2:4-9 (NIV) 4 On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed--God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, 7 but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. 8 We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. 9 Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.

1 comment:

Anthony Chia said...

Let me recap, for my own benefit, characteristics of a called minister:

1. Honest (of course, cannot be deceitful can he, no).

2. Hard-working (working for the Lord, better be).

2a. And with good work ethics (working for the Lord, seek to please only the Lord).

3. God seeking (of course, God is the boss; he is the servant).

4. Praying one (always needing His grace and mercy, if NOT praying, how to accomplish, not forgetting the enemy working against us. Would pray for those in need, his own ministry, his own life, and what and whoever the Lord impresses upon him to pray. Praying is primary, because he knows who is his enabler).

5. His heart is sunk into ministry (he looks forward to doing his ministry).

6. Does not see it as work (an honor and privilege to serve God).

7. Failed but never a failure (for he is not perfect).

8. Known for his seeking the Lord than his sins (interesting! We should all ask what we are more well-known for; is it seeking the Lord? Or is it .... {maybe some mega pastors should take this test!}).

9. Express his faith by his words and the way he lives (talk and walk the talk, good test!).

10. Does not wonder what he should do each day (Eph 5:15-17 – Does not want to be foolish and NOT understand the will of the Lord, and so, he will pray if he does not know what to do).

11. Needs no one to monitor him (for he knows the Lord is watching all the time, but he accepts accountability {I assert}).

12. Understand that what he does, he has to do unto the Lord (otherwise, it counts NOT; and so, knows he has to be abiding in the Lord and be in agreement with Him {I assert}).

13. Will summon the courage to do the right things despite it attracting criticisms (God pleaser, NOT men pleaser).

14. Persevere despite being run-off, fired or given “so much hell” (one will buckle if NOT for certainty of calling).

15. A blessing to have, for he brings the presence of the Lord into every situation (I believe the called one, when he is obedient, he will NOT only grow in stature, wisdom but also favor with God, and with men, just as Jesus did).

16. Love but would NOT speak or act contrary to righteousness (for he knows, like God, he is to love people unto righteousness)

Called ministers are worthy of our support. They need our prayer and intercession for their lives, their loved ones, and their ministries. Bless them financially even (meet their needs; anything more, you have to gauge), if you can, for they have reserved their time and energy for the work of the Lord rather than to gain wealth. When we support called ministers, we are serving God by becoming His conduits of favor unto the ministers.