Are you in ministry? Yes. You are. And I’m not just talking to the campus ministers among us.
The word ministry comes from the Latin word “ministerium,” which means service or employment. The term was never meant just for those who minister behind the pulpit on Sundays. It was also for those who minister to customers, clients, patients, or students on a day-to-day basis.
As the apostle Peter explained:
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 4:10-11)
Every job is ministry because, in any job, we are equipped by God to do it (v. 10) and called to glorify God through it (v. 11).
“Use Whatever Gift You Have Received”
I’ve taken spiritual gifts assessments an embarrassing number of times. And every time I think, Cool, a pastoral gifting! I should be a pastor!
Not so fast. Not everyone is called to have the word “minister” in their title. And that’s OK. But everyone who follows Christ is called to minister in their workplaces, homes, and everywhere in between. As Gordon Smith puts it in Courage and Calling: Embracing Your God-Given Potential, “We need to thunder from our pulpits and celebrate at every turn in the life of the church that God is calling people into education, the arts, public office, business, engineering, medicine, the service professions—quite literally into every area and sector of human life.”
Every area and sector of human life? The inclusive language in 1 Peter indicates yes. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (emphasis mine). It’s not just pastors who get to regularly exercise spiritual gifts but also “each of you.” And it’s not just pastoral gifts that are useful but also “whatever gift you have received.”
Does it come naturally to you to create music or art, or to write? Does it bring you joy or fulfillment to fix computers, teach classes, or make meals? That’s a gift. Use whatever gift you have received.
“So That in All Things God May Be Praised”
There are a lot of ways that God may be praised through whatever gifts we have received. Here are a few:
Pray for your work, as well as those you work with and for. This will help you notice opportunities to live out the next three ideas.
Do work that conveys Truth. For instance, doctors can convey hope to anxious patients, teachers can communicate grace to struggling students, writers and artists can illustrate the gospel with parable or paint.
Serve coworkers. Listen to them. Learn about them. With discernment, share your faith with them and invite them to look at Scripture with you or come to church with you.
Serve your customers, clients, patients, or students wholeheartedly.
Never doubt that “in all things God may be praised” through your job, whatever it may be.
Do you ever doubt that your job is ministry? Why is that? What strategies would you add for seeing God at work in your work?