As believers in our Lord Jesus Christ we are all called to minister to others, to serve in our Lord’s kingdom and to impact others with the truth and love of our Lord Jesus. Yet many times servants of God, His ministers, are frustrated because of the lack of results. There is a desire for fruitfulness, there is much labour given and yet they see few positive outcomes or little fruit coming from their efforts. The consequence of expecting results from ministering within our Lord’s kingdom and yet not seeing the anticipated desires can bring about discouragement, self condemnation or the judging of others to be the problem.
In 2 Cor 4:1 the Apostle Paul talks about the ministry that he had received. “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” Note that Paul did not say that the ministry came because of his personal greatness, his communication skills, his drive or determination, his financial status or from any other attribute which Paul possessed. It was not the skill of the individual, but because of the mercy of God that a ministry has been imparted.
Properly understanding the source of a ministry calling can be very liberating. Because God calls and sends people into ministry the results are not dependent upon ourselves alone. The calling to ministry came from the mercy of God. This means that we are now free from our own pressures and expectations to succeed. The success does not hinge upon our past ability, skills or performance but rather upon the mercy of God who calls us. Any positive results that are obtained are also a consequence of His mercy.
Realizing how one’s ministry comes from God’s mercy should keep us from losing heart, but it should also free us from actions or pressures to try to make ministry happen. Paul continues to say in 2 Cor. 4:2 that understanding how our ministry comes from the mercy of God, helps us to “renounce secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” Deception, or distorting the truth is not needed to get results. We do not need to water down the truth to please people. The results come from God’s working through His mercy.
You may feel pressured to measure up, to minister more effectively, to be more fruitful. You may feel that the expectations upon you are too great for you to be able fulfill them. Take time to focus upon God’s mercy and His impact in your life. Then thank Him, for through His mercy, God will work through you.