Have you ever felt like you were not equal to a task you were given? You try your best, but it seems like you come up short? It is especially tough when you feel inadequate in ministry. Perhaps you tried to do a community event and very few people showed up? Or, maybe you tried to facilitate a connect group and nothing went as you wanted? Or maybe you are too intimidated to even attempt to participate in Jesus’ ministry. When you feel inadequate it is natural to wonder why God would invite you to participate in his ministry in the first place.
The apostle Paul’s protégé, Timothy, was familiar with the feeling of inadequacy. The young man led a congregation in Ephesus, and he felt like he was not equal to the task. In particular, Timothy wondered if he was too young to meet the ministry needs of Christ-followers far older than himself. In his 2nd letter to him, Paul wrote to encourage Timothy and to provide some guidance. He said:
I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:3-7 NIV).
Notice the first thing Paul did was to confirm Timothy’s giftedness, reminding him of the faithfulness of his mother and grandmother. This, no doubt, brought to Timothy’s mind the ways in which God faithfully worked through his two ancestors. Next, Paul encouraged Timothy to use his gifts, reminding him that God is the one truly working through him. Paul made it clear that Timothy’s ministry was accomplished by the Spirit, and the young minister did not need to trust in his own adequacy but in the God who gifted and called him.
The same is true for us. Participating in Jesus’ ministry can be challenging, and it is easy to feel inadequate. It is important to remember that it is Jesus’ ministry and not our own, and the weight of his ministry is not ours to carry. Jesus is the true minister, and he will accomplish the work that he sets out to do.
The Spirit gives us gifts enabling us to participate in the ministry of Jesus Christ. Again, however, we are not ultimately responsible for the results of that participation – Jesus is. This should free us to use the gifts God has given us without the burden of perfection. We will make mistakes in ministry and things will not always go as planned. However, we are already assured that the ultimate victory has already been won in Christ. While we may feel inadequate sometimes, Jesus is always more than enough.
Presented by Cara Garrity
About the presenter:
Cara Garrity is an elder and Development Coordinator for GCI in the USA. Word of Life each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life’, (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International.
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