When Jesus called Simon and Andrew, who are fishermen, He affirmed their occupation, and promises to use that for the Kingdom of God. Now we, who call ourselves followers of Christ, want to do the very thing that we are good at, and do it for the Kingdom and glory of God. In our days, we call it “making disciples” or discipleship. With that in mind, many of us wanted to do the will of God, and bring all people of all nations, races, and cultures of origins to God. We call it “Ministry”.
The sad thing is that with our limited understanding of the “Ministry” with which Jesus wants us to love our neighbor, and bring all people to salvation and discipleship, we may have done, or be doing it all in the wrong way. No wonder there is little or no results out of our “Ministry”.
There is a saying (of which I cannot recall the source) that goes something like this: “People do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Perhaps we know all the ministries in the church, and know what we have done, and are doing the best things, but we are only doing, and telling them we know what we are doing. Then the people never really know how much we care. All of the methods that we use being “fishers of men”, may be something that the people see as being “fish trap” and or baited hooks. If the “Ministry” that we do looks like a fish trap or a baited hook, then they are fish traps and a baited hooks. In other words, if we conduct our ministry in a way that will draw the people to the church so that we can have more members, and increasing membership means more support for the budget of the church, then that is a “fish trap” and “baited hook”. If the “ministry” we are doing in the church is to be very selective in term of the fish we want to catch, that they must look like us, act like us, and think like us, then it is a ‘fish trap” and “baited hook”. Believe me, the big fish today are very sophisticated too, even the ones we think would be an easy catch. Once they see the trap, and the hook inside the bait that you put out, they will never come close to it again. For some who may continue to come, they know how to peel off your bait from the hook.
A true ministry that Jesus and the apostles did was to use the loving and caring soft safety net to guide and usher all of the fish to the “Gospel Feast”, and allowing the Spirit of God to convince them, teach them, and lead them to their salvation and discipleship. If we do this, then people will see “how much we care” and know “how much we know” too. When Jesus ministered to the people, He never said “Come to our “Synagogue” Church, He just simply said “your sins are forgiven, go, and sin no more.” Coming to the Synagogue, on the other hand, was the act of gratitude with which those sinners responded to His love and His care. There was only one time (Luke 5:14) that Jesus told the Leper to go and show himself to the priest, and offer sacrifices, but again, that was to be certified (proved) that he was clean. The decision to follow Jesus and witness of the Gospel was what the saved sinner chose to do. This is a kind of ‘Ministry” that is genuine love and care for the people, without any “fish trap” or “baited hooks”.
I would like to challenge us all to look at, and look back at, the ministries of our church, and see if we have offered true Ministry, as Jesus called us to do. I cannot be the judge, that is why I want to invite all of us to be our own judge of our ministry and discipleship. Perhaps, we could do the real ministry in our church.
~. CherLue Vang
Originally published in the Wingate UMC newsletter for February 2016.
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