Monday, January 03, 2011

Life Does Not Rest Upon Mechanical Appointment

It's Out of Our Hands

The Lord does not leave it in our hands to appoint our ministers, to make either the ministry or the minister. The Lord develops ministry by life, and where the Lord develops ministry the Church has to take notice. It may be perfectly true that the appointment has been made by God, but it may be equally true that it has to be made manifest by life before it comes to function. I believe that is partly why Barnabas and Paul were detained at Antioch so long. Paul was definitely called, chosen. There was no doubt whatever that heaven had ordained him as an apostle, and all the signs of an apostle were in him, the supreme sign being that he had seen first hand the risen Lord. Yet, with the sovereign choice, and with the personal commission to him, he had first to go into Damascus to be told what he should do as one in the church, the assembly, and subsequently he had to tarry at Antioch as a member of the assembly there for over a year. Even then the Lord did not come to Saul or to Barnabas, his companion, and say, Now go out to the work to which you know I have called you, the work of which I have told you, the work for which you were chosen! Go out and get on with it! The Lord gave direction through the leading members of that assembly: "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them". And the Church was able to do that, not simply on the basis of a command, but because it had been proved in their own midst that these men were called for this ministry. They had revealed in the assembly by life that they were called to a ministry. That is the way by which the Lord reveals His ministers.

That brings us to this point. You do not know what your ministry is, save as you go on with the Lord. You may have been Divinely ordained, sovereignly chosen. There may be related with your life a ministry of great value. You may not know anything about it yet, but it may be perfectly true that the Lord could say that you are a chosen vessel unto Him; but you will only discover what your ministry is as you go on with the Lord in life. As the Lord's life increases in you, and your communion with the Lord goes on unhindered in all its meaning and value, then you will discover that the Lord is moving in you in a certain direction, and that you are becoming exercised unto a certain ministry. None of us really discerns his ministry by being told beforehand. We only know it as we go on with God, and His life has its way.

That is an important thing, for ministry hangs upon life. It does not rest upon mechanical appointment. We cannot make ministers. It is only the risen Christ Who can make ministers, and He makes them in the power of His risen life. Disaster lies before the man who tries to be a minister without the risen life of Christ. The Lord deliver us from ever trying in any way to be ministers without its being the outcome of His life in us. The life of the risen Lord takes its own form, expresses itself in its own way, according to the mind of Him Whose life it is.


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