Of this Gospel, I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, given me by the working of his power– Ephesians
It seems a fundamental difference between the church in the West and the East, is the concept around a minister. In the East, thousands of ordinary believers see themselves empowered to proclaim the Gospel, make Disciples and plant churches. From the get-go, new believers are taught that proclaiming the Gospel with a view to making Disciples is the normal Christian life.
I arrived late into Auckland airport this week, and it had been a long day already. My taxi driver was Ravi and we drove into town. Ravi was from Punjab, in the North of India and chatted away merrily, while I sat in silence, too tired to talk. Poor me. Along the way, I sensed the prompting of the Holy Spirit to engage, but I resisted. Time and again, I felt the prod to talk but as we all do, any sense of calling was pushed away until at last I relented.
Very often it appears that such brief conversations are a waste of time, but they’re not ever a waste. As we arrived at our destination, Ravi told me an incredible story that had happened just a few weeks before. He had been driving down from the North of New Zealand, some 400km north of Auckland, and he came across a hitcher. As a taxi driver, the last thing Ravi would do is stop to pick up a hitcher, especially travelling at 100k/hr but he felt a compulsion to pull over.
The man he picked up, was someone whose work was to help people discover Jesus. They spent the next 3 hours discussing Jesus and comparing him to Hindu gods. Along the way, the man told Ravi that he would normally have got a lift down with his friends, but Jesus had told him that he was to set out walking, as he wanted to introduce him to someone who would pick him up, which turned out to be Ravi.
Ravi was amazed that now two people who had been in his car would be ‘sent’ by Jesus. I was able to write down some Bible verses for him to read and showed him how to Google them on his phone. We prayed about his wife arriving from India, and how he might explain Jesus to members of his family.
All of us, as believers, are called to be ministers of Christ in any circumstance that arises. I fear that the Gospel for most is not a way of life.
If we as believers are walking in the Spirit, then every moment of every day we are listening, waiting for him to present opportunities. We simply need to respond. We need not be ashamed, or fearful or feel odd because we choose to share Jesus; contrarily, it must be a priority for all of us in our lives to follow Paul’s example and minister Christ to others. We simply open our mouths in response.
The prayer Jesus taught his Disciples was firstly to Glorify the name of the Father and then bring his Kingdom and Will to earth. They are the priority – in a sense, our role is not so much to find out what the will of God is for our lives, but to find out what his will is, and become part of it. If this is true, then his will is abundantly clear, to bring others back to relationship with him, through Jesus Christ. Not some people, but all people. We don’t get to choose, he does.
When Jesus leads you to the next person, the question for all of us is will we respond? At the prompting of the Spirit, will we be a part of sowing into Ravi such that someone can then reap, or as I have been guilty of so often, will we simply ignore the prompting of the Spirit. Someone else can take care of it.
Can we imagine the consequences on the last day, when those we have ignored, stand before Christ with an incomplete picture because of our unwillingness? What will Jesus say, how will we explain that to him? Surely, you and I, need to take our responsibilities as ministers, as Paul did, far more seriously. Let us be next when Ravi comes along.