by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints so that they (the saints) might do the work of the ministry"
So, then, just what is the work of the ministry that saints in the Body of Yeshua, the Messiah, are supposed to be doing? And what are we supposed to be equipped with in order to do that work? I had long been acquainted with the passage of Mark 16:15-18 (click on highlighted verse to see scripture) and had considered it to be the answer to the question "what is the Work of the ministry." But, upon further examination, I was intrigued by the wording "these signs will FOLLOW (or, come after) those who believe." Now, to me, the connotation of work implies labor - sweat, toil, pain and tears - and, it is something that I purposefully set out to do. Here, the connotation derived from "follow" is an implication that we really don't have much to do with its working; that these things emanate more from an abiding in ruach hakodesh (Hebrew for "spirit of the holy") than they do from any forethought on our part. They are more a RESULT of the Spirit flowing out of us than a pre-determination that they will happen. In other words, I turn around from my walking and can see these things in the wake of my being led of the Spirit of God, not in front of me (see what it means to Abide In His Name).
Once again, the Father took me back into scripture to validate these thoughts and urgings I felt coming from Him. He led me back to our example, Yeshua, who came and lived a life before us so that we might know and examine what it means to walk in the fullness of the Spirit of YHVH. And Yeshua said: "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do." John 17:4
What was the work He said He had finished? Healing the sick? Casting out demons? Preaching the gospel? Any one of these, in my estimation, would have been an excellent offering to present to the Father as a qualifier for finishing the work. But, He didn't mention any of those. Instead, this is what He offered up: "I have manifested Your Name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word." John 17:6 (see what it means to To Be Made Manifest).
Yeshua went on to clarify that He wasn't praying for the world, but specifically for these men whom the Father had given Him to equip with the knowledge of the Essence of YHVH. Yeshua had taken what the Father had given to Him and had given the same to these in such a fashion that they got it and made it their life as well. He made disciples of YHVH. The work that He presented to the Father was that He had manifested the Name of YHVH to a dozen men in such a manner that they could see for themselves how to embrace the Life and make it their own - without losing one of them. He went on to say that "...JUST AS You sent Me into the world, even so I have sent them into the world." (John 17:18) - to do the same work He presented as being acceptable to the Father (see Just As - Even So for a more in-depth explanation)
As believers, we have been given a lifetime to accomplish the same work Yeshua did in three and a half years - to make twelve disciples who manifest the Name of the Father (see the Glory) with the same intensity that Yeshua followed after the Father. These men got it. They, in turn, began to make disciples of a few others and the end result was that the world was revolutionized by their work. Where did Yeshua find those men? The Father brought them to Him from among those that He rubbed elbows with as He was walking out His Life before YHVH. He did not choose them, the Father chose them. Yeshua was just being obedient by embracing them when they showed up. If you begin to look around your circumstance in life right now and ask the Father to show you, He will reveal those that He has chosen for you to embrace in like manner. Maybe not all at the same time - He might start with just one. Perhaps He would start with just your family. But they are there and they might not be who you would expect them to be.
How did Yeshua "manifest" the Name of the Father? He loved them. He lived with those guys - day and night. He crawled up next to them, put His arms around them and walked with them. He lived with them and loved them through their agonies and trials, through their fears and failures, through their hopes and dreams, through their times of accomplishment and through their times of idiot-ness. He took the things He had learned from the Father concerning life and godliness and showed them, hands on, how to apply those things to their own lives - loving them into that same walk. And He did not lose them - He showed them in such a way so as to not alienate them. We are called to do the same: to take what has been given to us in the Spirit and to impart that Life to a few others. This is work (little "w") because it requires of us to be determined to remain with someone until they are able to function in the Spirit and hear His Voice on their own (see Hearing His Voice). It requires of us to lay down our life for them. Then, as He did, it becomes time to turn them loose, so that they, in turn, can go make other disciples. Disciples of YHVH - not of ourselves.
There is a more excellent way of learning of Him through a personal relationship with Him in the Spirit. (John 14:26, 1John 2:27). This is what we are to make disciples in - recognizing the Voice of His Spirit on a personal level. But we are unable to give what we are unable to live. To accomplish that task, we (as Yeshua did) must be able to live out before others how we have come to know and hear the Father in our own lives in practical ways that they will be able to see and comprehend. The focus of making disciples is about being a living example to a few of how to hear God so that they can be shown how to also attend to the needs of others.
The word "minister" is NEVER used for a "position" proper in the Body. It is a designation reserved for the Body Itself, in other words, each member of the Body are called to be the ministers to the Body, to each other. (Mark 10:42-45). The Work of the Ministry is begetting sheep. Shepherds do not beget sheep. Sheep beget sheep. Shepherds help the sheep to beget by leading them into pastures where there is good grazing and pure water to sustain them; but, sheep do the begetting. And the place where they do the begetting is not in the shearing house, but out in the pasture where they live and roam. Sheep do not beget in the shearing house. The shearing house (meeting place) is where the sheep come to be sheared - to lighten their load and to be oiled with balm so that they can be encouraged to spend another season out in and enduring the elements so as to beget other sheep. The shearing house is not a conducive place for begetting. Some continue to try and make it one, but this is a call to a more excellent way - the Way of Yeshua.
In the parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25:31-46, the wording is strikingly similar to the words found in Isaiah 58:6-11 concerning the type of fast that is acceptable to the Father. Both passages describe how we should be about exemplifying the nature of the Father (manifesting His Name). YHVH is the same today as He was then. None of what is described in either passage requires any special gifting or calling to accomplish. You don't have to attend any special schooling or attain any degrees to be able to exercise these attributes. This is what each of us, regardless of our station in life, have been called to do. All that is needed to be able to say to the Father on that day, "I have finished the work you have given me," is to do as our elder brother, Yeshua, did. We are to live those things listed on a personal level with enough intensity that it becomes evidently visible to all around us. When we do them, we are manifesting His Name. We then teach the Life to a few others who will take it to a few more and so on, and so on - the Work of the Ministry.
Part One, What Authority?
Part Two, the Work of the Ministry
Part Three, Just As-Even So
"By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another"|
Please feel free to email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to share with you what the Spirit is uncovering.