As the assembly line was perfected, ten individuals working together did not just multiply their productivity by ten, but a thousand times. This development is now credited with changing civilization more than any other single factor, and it thrust us into the modern age.
Even a cursory view of the world reveals that the more that jobs have been broken down into speciality fields, the more effective each job has become, and the faster that field has advanced. You can see this in industry, science, medicine, even sports. When Henry Ford developed an assembly line for the production of automobiles, the price of a car was reduced to a fraction of what it had been, while the quality and dependability multiplied. Quickly, the automative industry became the largest in the world. When scientists began to specialize in fields of research, knowledge began to multiply to the point that now more knowledge of our universe is discovered in a single year than was found in the whole history of man up to this century. When football players quit trying to play both offense and defense, but just specialized on one position, records began to fall at an unprecedented pace.
This was God's design for the ministry of His church long before manufacturing discovered it. When the ministry of the church briefly operated as a living body composed of many different parts in the first century, the church impacted the world like no other movement in history has even come close to doing. After the first century the church gradually departed from this most powerful strategy of specialization, taking on increasingly rigid forms of worship that became increasingly centralized around a single ministry. It was at this point that true spiritual progress almost ceased, and the church was thrust into over a thousand years of darkness, often referred to as "the Dark Ages" for this reason.
Any new group or movement that has rediscovered the originally intended diversity of the body has quickly accelerated its advancement and effectiveness. When we return to this basic commission for ministries, the church will again multiply her fruitfulness, and impact the world again. This must become a major quest of the church again. A congregation's maturity can be measured by the degree in which every member is being equipped to do their part.
This is why Paul said to the Corinthians, "even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift" (I Corinthians 1:6-7). When all of the gifts of the Spirit are functioning in our midst, then the Lord is able to fully function in our midst. Every one of the gifts and ministries are an aspect of the testimony of Christ. When the gift of healing functions, it is a testimony of the Lord's heart for healing the sick. When the gift of prophecy functions, it is a revelation of His vision for His people. When the gift of administration functions the way that He means for it to, it is a revelation of His stewardship, etc.
The goal of the church is to produce mature Christians who are like Christ, and who do the works that He did. This can only be accomplished when all of the ministries each learn to focus an their own job, without trying to do the jobs given to the others. No one ministry can do this. We all need each other, and we need all of the saints doing the ministry that they have been called to. The full revelation of Christ through His body can only come when we all begin to function in unity.
Actually, the answer to what we are called to will usually be found in our own heart. Living waters can only come out of the "innermost being." The deepest desire of our heart will usually reveal what we are really called to do. However, many people have a hard time knowing what is the deepest desire of their own heart because they wear so many veils and defense mechanisms around their heart. It is sometimes major undertaking to strip these away so that we can know what is in our own hearts.
To be changed into the image of the Lord we must behold His glory with an unveiled face (see II Corinrhians 3:18). An "unveiled face" is the result of a heart that has been unshackled by the self centredness and fears that are the result of the fall. The veils are most often the facade that we wear in order to meet human expectations, or even perceived human expectations and therefore avoid rejection. These are the primary obstacles that keep us from seeing the glory of God and being changed into His image.
We are not called to be conformed to the image of another person, or even another ministry. When we try to become like others we are still only seeing Him through the thick veil of another earthen vessel. We must look directly to Him if we are to be changed by His glory. That is why the Shulamite maid, who represents the bride of Christ in the Song of Solomon, asked:
"Tell me, O you whom my soul loves, where do you pasture your flock, where do you make it lie down at noon! For why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?" (Song of Solomon 1:7).This does not mean that we should not submit to or receive from the shepherds and teachers whom the Lord has provided for His church, or seek to be equipped by them, but we must not seek to conform ourselves into the image of any other person but Christ. This delusion tries to creep into every church and movement, especially those which are headed by a dynamic leader. Then the members of the congregation or movement, begin to take on the appearance and nature of that leader instead of Christ. What would you think if you were a husband but all of your children looked like your best friend? This could only be the result of his illegal relationship with your wife. How does the Lord view His children looking more like us than Him?
As the Lord walked with the two men an the road to Emmaus they could not recognize who He was until they saw Him break the bread. That, too, is when our eyes are opened, when we receive our bread from His hands. Even though He may feed us through our pastor, or another ministry, we must be sensitive to hear His voice through them. It is not hearing the words of the Lord as much as hearing the Word, Himself, that we are after. He does speak mostly through others but we want to hear it as coming from Him, not them.
Our goal in ministry must always be to help His bride fall in love with Him, not us! We will only do this if we are falling in love with Him and not the church, and not the ministry. This does not mean that we do not love the church, or the ministry, but if we do not keep the First Commandment first, we will fall into an idolatrous and spiritually adulterous relationship with the church (which often also leads to the physical kind). Could there be anything more tragic than to betray our Savior this way--to be called to help prepare the bride of our Lord, and then use her to fulfill our own desires!
To know and fulfill our ministry we must first be falling in love with the Lord. Then we will become drawn to the specific aspect(s) of His ministry that we are called to. If you are called as a shepherd it will be the shepherd ministry of the Lord that touches your heart the most. When you read the gospels you will see the Lord's shepherd heart in almost everything He does. Likewise, if you are called as a teacher you will see Jesus the Teacher in almost all that He does, etc. This is not wrong, but is in fact how we are changed by His glory into the ministry that we are called to be. So it comes by following our heart while looking to Him. It is only in this way that our ministry will come from our heart, which is the only place that true living waters will flow from.
Go to[ Part 3].
Copyright: 1996 by Morningstar Publications and Ministries. All rights reserved.
This article is published courtesy of "The Morningstar Publications and Ministries". If you would like to peruse more articles from the pen of Rick Joyner, visit Morningstar's website. Clicklogo.
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