Thursday, January 23, 2014

None of Us Are Indispensable

By Reverend Mark Hunnemann

"And Jesus said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone..."(Matt.8:4)

Sometimes referred to as the "Messianic secret" Jesus often told people He had healed to hush up about it. In this case, Jesus had tenderly reached out, touched, and healed a leprous man. He did instruct the healed man to follow Jewish law and see the priest, but He insisted on his not broadcasting what Jesus had done.

Why the insistence on silence? Miracles did attest to the veracity of Jesus Messianic claims, but He was concerned about drawing a crowd that was simply and solely interested in being wowed by signs and wonders. Also, wrong notions abounded regarding the nature of the kingdom Jesus was establishing. He was not a crowd seeker , nor was our Lord a crowd pleaser.

Boy, I wish many of today's Christian leaders, as well as para-celebs, would take this to heart. It seems to me that drawing a crowd is all many (certainly not all) of them are concerned about. With egos as big as their church campuses, some of have actually begun to believe they are indispensable...which is a big mistake.

A long time ago someone set me straight when he said (in reference to the pastoral ministry), "None of us are indispensable." I have never forgot their words, though I long ago forgot who said them.

It is important to understand what that means, as well what as what it does not mean. The latter first. In 1 Cor.12 and Rom.12 (and elsewhere) the bible insists that there are NO LITTLE PEOPLE in the kingdom. There is no hierarchy of importance when it comes to spiritual gifts...and when one hurts, we all hurt. The person who has the gift of hospitality is just as important as a missionary or pastor. In other words, we all have a significant role to play in the church.In that sense we are ALL indispensable. Each person is equally precious and equally needed for the proper functioning of the Body of Christ.

BUT.. if we ever get the notion that our personal ministries are necessary for God to work and expand His kingdom, then we are in trouble. When we think that WE have to be personally and actively involved all the time or it won't get done...if we begin to think in terms of "this is MY Facebook site" or "this is MY blog or MY church or MY outreach (fill in the blank)"--then we need to repent. We need to humble ourselves before God, before He does it for us...which is usually much more painful.

Please don't misunderstand me...each of our ministries/callings are very important to God. It is when we get filled with an inflated sense of self-importance, that problems arise.

Or when we forget the principle of sola scriptura. For example, I personally do not think that mothers of young children should be deliverance ministers (based on the principle of focusing on the home). I am ignorant of many things, but I do know something about the repercussions of being involved in a ministry that expels demons from people and places...they retaliate. Saying that you trust in God to protect you and your family is tempting Him, not trusting Him. There are plenty of meaningful ways to be involved in support ministries, until your children get older. Your role as a mom is indispensable to the children God has blessed you with.But the exorcism ministry of God's kingdom will carry on with or without any of us.

After a run of several dozen successful cleansings in a couple of years, they suddenly became more difficult. And shortly, I faced my most challenging case ever. Afterwards, the "running spicket"of cases abruptly shut off. Nobody contacted me. But, thank God, I remembered...God does not NEED me in order to continue His work of delivering people from demonic oppression. There are plenty of other people more godly...more gifted than I...And the fact is, I needed a break. If we are burned out, we are not good to anyone, ministry wise. Are you open to God shutting doors for your sake?

The Gates of hell will not prevail against God's church.

"I am the Vine and you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. But part from Me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5) GOD is indispensable in our lives and ministries if they are to bear fruit pleasing to God.God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ARE indispensable. ONLY the Father could send the Son, ONLY the Son could accomplish redemption for us, and ONLY the Holy Spirit can apply this redemption to people's hearts.                                                        

Pride...especially spiritual pride, is ugly to God, and it inevitably will bring His hand of discipline.

Are we involved in ministry because of the need to be needed? Please do not gloss over that question. To some extent, I think we all wrestle with that.

God does not care if we accomplish great things, but He does insist on excellence in relationships--especially within our families.(see the last verse of Malachi)

Lastly, we can show our sense of "indispensability"...our humility, by encouraging other folks involved in similar ministries to our own. We have to fight pride and selfishness here. However, I cannot exaggerate the importance of the ministry of encouragement. I know that when someone takes the time even to comment on something I have written, it makes my day. We are not to be man-pleasers, but man, it sure is pleasing when someone says an encouraging word.

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