My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. I follow the readings and journaling from lifejournal.me. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Seasons of Ministry
And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent;
(Acts 18:9 NASB)
for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.”
(Acts 18:10 NASB)
And he settled there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
(Acts 18:11 NASB)
Paul had many ups and downs in his life and ministry. When he
arrived in Corinth he worked for a period of time as a tent-maker,
supporting himself so that he could share the news about Jesus. After a
while his companions arrived and they were able to support him so that
he could work full-time preaching. This is what he did and yet, he was
constantly under attack. The Lord came to him and spoke to him telling
him that no longer did he need to be on his guard. He could now freely
go on speaking. He didn't need to be silent because he was not going to
be harmed. He obeyed and trusted God and was able to settle in for a
year and a half, providing a great time of discipleship and teaching
among the people there.
For all of us who are followers of Christ there are seasons in our
lives when we may be called to have different responsibilities. One
cannot look at Paul and find a cookie-cutter solution to what serving
God looks like. Just some interesting things to note about this story:
1. There were times when Paul had to work to support himself. To be
able to move into a new area and do ministry, Paul had to shoulder his
own financial responsibility. We do not see that he grumbled about
this, but instead, simply went out and found work and did it -- more
than likely -- quite well. He allowed his work to also be a place of
ministry and it is through his work that he became acquainted with
Priscilla and Aquilla. God used the season of work to make a
2. There were times when Paul was afraid. How do we know this?
Because now God is telling Paul NOT to be afraid! I believe that Paul
had a healthy fear which determined the boundaries of his ministry.
There were times when he knew that he could not freely preach the
gospel. He had to be wise and discern when and where he was able to
preach and/or teach. There are seasons in our own lives when it may not
be the smartest thing to be openly preaching the word. There may be
times that God gives us a healthy fear and direction to know when to
keep silent. This is okay, if it is truly from God.
3. Paul allowed others to support him and his ministry. For a man
who could support himself I'm wondering if, at times, it was frustrating
to become dependent on others. However, there came a period of time
when Paul knew that he was to preach full-time and trust others to take
care of his personal needs. I doubt he was rich -- but his needs were
met. He knew that this period of time was for teaching of new believers
and he poured himself out to them.
4. Paul discipled the new believers, teaching them for a year and a
half. There were times in Paul's ministry when he was an itinerant
preacher -- going from place to place preaching the word of God. Then,
there were times, like this, when he was to simply stay in one place and
teach the people there what they needed to know about walking as a
follower of Christ.
If we believe like Martin Luther in the "priesthood of all believers"
and the calling of all believers to do ministry then everyone can find
themselves somewhere in Paul's story. The point is, there is not a
"right" place in Paul's story. Too often we are looking for the "right"
way to do things when in reality there are many ways and many seasons
into which God may be calling us. Maybe right now we are to be silent
and ask for God's discerning what he desires from us. Maybe we are to
be engaged full-time in the ministry and trust God and others to care
for our needs. Or maybe we're supposed to go out and get a job and
allow God to use that for us to reach people who desperately need him.
Whatever the place in life, God knows where we are and we are simply to
be obedient in whatever our circumstance. Obedience and knowing Christ
are the key, the results are up to him!
Lord, please help me to be obedient to you and your leading and calling in my life today. Amen.