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Thursday, November 25, 2010

"Be Expended to His Glory", The Story Behind the Phrase

"Fulfill your ministry"
 A long awaited commentary on what God is doing in me.
What could that possibly mean?  I mean I know I am called to teach and pastor ‘cause that is what I am doing now but when a long time, respected buddy and pastor calls you up out of the blue and says to you  “Fulfill your ministry”, what does that mean.
As men we all have a biblical list of God’s will for our lives and possibly some time I will expound to the point of conviction and hopefully contrition on each of these points but for now let me just list them:
  • We are first disciples, so ministering unto the Lord
  • Be the husband my wife needs, so minister to or serve my wife.
  • Train my kids, all day long, rising, sitting, along the way etc.
  • In the work place, even if your boss is a slave driver; be the best employee ever for you do not work for man but for God.
  • Gospel Ministry….whatever that may be, either building up the saints or preaching the gospel to the lost, through words backed up with a self rejecting, others serving lifestyle.

These are the basic, biblical, God given ministries that all men are called to, but what about knowing what God has specifically made each of us for?  After all, we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.  Bezaleel was specifically gifted by God to build the Tabernacle, and God has gifted each one of us.  Plus I had been crying out for years for God to use me for His glory and to provide me with a ministry to be a steward over.  Once men are fulfilling the four top ministries, shouldn’t we be striving to fulfill the fifth?  Once we have transformed our minds with His word shouldn’t it be natural for God’s good perfect and pleasing will to be manifested to us.  I believe that is what the bible tells us.  “Fulfill your ministry”?  What exactly is that? For each of us it is different and it is specially appointed to you by God and you are spiritually equipped by God’s Spirit to fulfill it.  Here is mine.
After I hung up the phone where I had been lovingly exhorted to “fulfill my ministry” It took about as much time for me to remember what my “ministry” is as it takes for an overly hungry 9 year old to say his lunch time prayers before he devours his bologna and chip sandwich.  Something I knew but was not living out fully.  And it was eating me up.
To be expended to His glory

My Ministry…I was hiding out in the basement meditating on a bible passage and there in my mind was a faint imagination or a vision, what ever it was I saw an action in my minds eye.  I am not claiming “God said to me” and definitely not claiming to have special revelation nor that I am hyper spiritual, I am just conveying what events have brought me to the place I am in now.  (Please don’t label me an heretic until you hear what I believe and teach, maybe you are the apostate one ;)
This is what I “saw”.  Nothing profound or exciting, it was just a pen, writing.     
Now, at this point in my walk I was keeping a prayer list of the folks I had shared the gospel with.  I was praying to be broken and used of God.  I was a youth pastor and doing the work of an evangelist.  It was a time of growth for me, and God helped to give me direction in my ministry.
           What did this mean?  With all that was going on in my life and the things of Christ that I was desiring after I had a pretty good idea that it was about the gospel.  After pondering what I saw I came up with a single line definition and goal, it goes like this;
To Be Expended to His Glory.
When an artist picks up a pen to draw, he never is concerned for the pen.  He doesn’t begin his drawing reluctantly worried that he will run out of ink and that the pen will be tired after pouring out what it had inside to be useful to the artist.  A writer doesn’t hold in his thoughts, keeping them from paper for fear of the pen’s feelings about being expended in the production of a great story. 

Here is how I express it in print form.  And this is my “logo”
I had been working construction and used a pencil every day, all day and even though I may be marking out lines to cut in concrete and my pencil had to be sharpened every few inches because of the rough surface I was scribing on, I would just get out my knife and wittle a new edge.  The pencil was designed for this purpose.  I never hesitated thinking I was wasting graphite.  I rarely, if ever contemplated the world’s reserves of pencil lead.  I used the pencil for the job at hand and the pencil, if sharp, aided the work I did by drawing a true and straight line and scribing a correct measurement.  With about fourty years of pencil use, I can’t recall a once that my pencil complained or attempted to receive a compliment for how well it drew, not once.
     In a nut shell this is what I saw in the eye of my mind.  God wanting to use me to set forth the line of His perfection, to measure out His righteous standard before men and to do so without worrying about running out of lead.  I was to offer myself to God as an instrument to write the gospel before men, to be expended for His awesome glory.  I wept.
     So wonderful a thought that the One who needs nothing is asking for one who is in need of everything, “come to Me, abide in Me, in Me you will bear much fruit.  I will be your God and I will do more than you could ever ask or imagine.”  Why, o why would the Great King recruit me into His awesome service? to be a front line soldier and ambassador of His Eternal Grace and Glory.  I know I am not worthy and most of the time I am not faithful.  I am so weak and often weary, wearied not from bearing my cross but foolishly bearing my own burdens.  I am an untrained and uneducated man; I am neither eloquent nor smooth.  I talk too fast; I loose my train of thought.  I can’t focus to study for more that fifteen minutes at a time.  To this world I am an unimportant failure, and that may be the very reason that God has chosen for me to be a mouth piece for Him; so that He may receive all, all, I mean all the glory…I weep again.
     What about you friend?  Do you know Jesus?  Are you in love with Him and His Grace?  Do you marvel at the incredible exchange that happened there on the cross of Calvary, there in you the day you repented and placed your faith in the Eternal Lord of Glory?  Do you know why he did this unmatchable act of mercy?  Love, yes love, but I believe there is so much more.  You see, the very second that God saved you, He made you an ambassador of the Kingdom to which you now belong.  He transformed you from a minister of the flesh to a royal priest unto Him, His own special people and He has a ministry for you that He ordained before the foundation of the world.  Yup, just for you.  This is a really big thing with God.  Jesus told us about the unfaithful servant who took his one talent and buried it and at the return of the master that unprofitable servant is “cast into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  I have personally feared hearing those words.  Jesus has given me so much and I am so unfaithful and feel so very unprofitable to Him, yet He is so good to me.  How about you?  I personally don’t think God is looking for another tele-evangelist, there are too many of those already.  He isn’t looking for powerful people to preach, not the eloquent, He is looking for folks like Peter, just a simple fisherman who followed Jesus, and Jesus made him into an apostle and a fisher of men.  He is looking for men and women who when they share are scared to near death, just as Paul came and preached with fear and much trembling.  He is looking for people who are meek, and lowly, folks that are humble and broken, these are the ones that God can use to turn lives around, to turn your neighborhood around, your town and even this nation around to Jesus.  All through folks who first love God, love their families, love the Body of Christ and then go, in the same manner as Jesus and love the lost and share with them the wonderful things that God has done for man.  He wants to use you, you who are just lowly vessels of His grace, we who are trophies of what He has accomplished there on Calvary in defeating sin and owning it in His own body while still remaining perfect and untarnished from it.  He wants to use the lowly so that He gets all of the credit that He so rightly deserves, now Go.  Go out to the highways and the byways, bring in the broken and rejected, bring in the wealthy and proud.  Bring in all who are willing to bow the knee to the Lord and in bringing in the elect, you will be accomplishing the greater reason that God calls and equips the weak and willing, you will be bringing the Savior of our souls, the glory He deserves….now go.  Go!
Go for the King and “Be Expended to His Glory.”

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