As we continue through the book of Second Corinthians, Paul now explains what true ministry is all about.
Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.
2 Corinthians 2:17
The apostle explains things clearly in this verse. He first shows what the ministry is not about. He literally says that he doesn’t retail the Word of God.
I get uncomfortable around leaders who talk about their ministries in terms of business models. The church is not a product of cash flow and getting customers through the door.
Ministry is about bringing people into an encounter with Jesus Christ. Then, they must be shown how to let the Holy Spirit bring about a change for the better.
I understand that money is needed to accomplish these things. But money isn’t the primary focus.
Paul explains that when they talk, they speak before God with sincerity. That word actually means a sunlight test.
When I was dating the woman who is now my wife, I wanted to buy her a diamond engagement ring. The salesman showed me different styles. I eventually found one that I liked and it was within my price range.
At that point, the salesman explained that most dealers would show you what the ring looked like under a special light. It brings out the luster of the diamond. Instead, he took me and the ring outside the store into the direct sunlight so I could see it in the real world. That’s the sunlight test. How does your ministry look in real life?
Paul tells us what this sunlight test really is.
Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
2 Corinthians 3:1-3
The real proof of ministry is in the people it produces. In the plant world, like produces like. Tomato seeds produce tomatoes while dandelion seeds produce weeds.
The true question is; what’s the effect that a congregation is having on the world around them? It will be positive, negative, or no effect at all.
In church leadership, we need to focus on what really matters. The important issue is touching the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Everything else is of secondary importance.
It’s clear from God’s Word that we’re not to live for ourselves, but for the Lord’s glory. To many around us, we’re the only “Jesus” they’ll ever see. It’s only by our lives that they’ll know that God loves and cares about them.
Because of this fact, it must be by the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s the only way we can fulfill such a challenging call. God’s church must be a letter from Christ to the world!
Question: How have you shown Jesus to those around you lately?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi
April 13, 2020 at 8:20 AM
NICK, all I can say is AMEN! AMEN!! AMEN!!!
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April 13, 2020 at 3:19 PM
This is a good reminder of our role in being the light in this world. Now more than ever it seems we need to reflect the love and the peace of Christ to the people around us who are anxious and fearful and in need of Jesus. Thank you.
April 14, 2020 at 9:55 AM
Thank you for your comment, Diane. You’re absolutely right. The greater the crisis, the more Christians should reflect Christ. The world must see the difference between trusting in chance or trusting a living God. Blessings to you!