WRONG BEGINNING - WRONG END ( A must read for every Christian who aspires to fulfill the Greatest Commission)
May the name of Jesus - The Christ be magnified and Glorified.
Those were the days when I was actively involved in youth ministry.We had dedicated our lives for ministry. We - The youngsters will always be in the Church; Eating together, sleeping on the Roof top of the church. Sweet memories; Lovely Brothers in Christ. I can't forget those days. One day we were watching a worship video of a Korean Gospel Music Band. The manner in which the worship leader made his entrance on the stage was very similar to the Extravagant Introduction that is usually associated with Tamil Filmdom Super star - Rajinikanth. The worship leader made his entrance out of a private jet. He was in a black tuxedo. His band members followed him. Flash lights danced around them. Drumroll welcomed them
One brother who was watching the video along with us suddenly blurted out, " When are we gonna become like this?"
We were all in the same mind set and we all agreed with him in anticipation. We never knew that we were making a big mistake by nodding our heads in agreement to him. Time flew like a dove. I understood one thing very clearly by the Grace of God -"The pathetic situation of Today's Christendom is because of the wrong expectation with which people step foot into ministry".
The expectation with which we start doing God's ministry always decides the direction of our life. Our Sermons, the plans we make for our ministry revolves around our expectations. As a result, we might even achieve all that we anticipate and expect. Still, I am rest assured that when we stand before the judgment seat of God, we would face a Big surprise if we start our ministry with an ambition to become famous.
There is a very famous Tamil proverb - ”முதல் கோணல் முற்றும் கோணல்” . It means , If the first step is wrong, the entire project will go wrong.
An article written by a watchman minister of India about a very famous Preacher in India ( This famous preacher and the watchman ministered together in the beginning of their ministry life) made me think deeper on this subject.
That Late - Famous preacher in his initial days had a fascination towards the ministry of Billy Graham and William Branham and he always talked about the scores of multitude that gathered for their crusades. He always talked about " getting famous" , "Signs and wonders" , "Big Crowds". The First step was wrong. He indeed achieved what he wanted in a very short span of time. He climbed the ladder of earthly success in no time. Yet he has left many bad examples for many ministers who start their ministry with him as the role model.
Today we will see the different areas that attract youngsters to become Servants of God.
1) Honour from Men
For they loved praise from men more than praise from God (John 12:43)
The influence that Evangelists and Pastors have in Christendom is so huge.The manner in which various Preachers Pose for Posters and Banners just like movie stars have deceived many. When a young Believer looks at a Pastor
who roars the words "In the name of Jesus" and runs around the stage
makes many to fall down by just extending his hand
being surrounded by many calling him "Pastor, Pastor"
the young believer also starts dreaming to be like the Pastor. "This is God's ministry.I would also get honour like this" - A false hope is created in the mind of the young believer
John 12:26 - "My Father will honor the one who serves me" is totally misunderstood by the young believers. Please read the full verse.
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
Yes, anyone who does ministry like Jesus, is really HIS servant.
When Satan tried to lure Jesus by showing all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor,Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! (Matthew 4:8-10)
When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.(John 6:15)
Jesus even spoke the following words "I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. (John 5:41,42)
Those who follow Jesus will be Honoured by the Father. Those who do not followe Jesus will be honoured by Satan according to Matthew 4:9
A certain Pastor in Singapore makes his entrance on stage amidst loud music and flickering Lights. I don't know whether to cry or laugh. They are fulfilling their desires by acting like a movie star. Those who step into ministry influenced by such minsiters will end up like them. It pains,when I see stage entertainers performing on stage in the name of Praise and Worship Service. Anyone who could sing can release a music album. The music ministry is one ministry which can catapult anyone to stardom in no time. Because of the pathetic situation of music ministry one even starts to wonder whether the number of music albums that are released in a day is more than the number of souls that are saved! Music Ministry is a blessed ministry. If one enters into this ministry to become famous, he will end up like Uzzah who dared to touch the ark of the Lord.
Beloved! Getting into Ministry with anticipation of being Honoured by men is a WRONG BEGINNING. Don't get deceived like Herod who fell for the wrath of God
Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. [Acts 12:23]
2) Money and Standard of Living
"That preacher owns a private jet". This is how certain preachers are introduced by many. Many preachers who had a humble beginning in their ministry suddenly climb up in their standard of living.
When they say, " I started my ministry with just Rs.10/-. Now God has given me two buildings, one jet plane and a mansion", it is not a testimony that Glorifies God.
If they say," I started my ministry with many spiritual pitfalls and I was controlled by my flesh. But Now I have many qualities of Jesus in me. I have brought many disciples for Jesus Christ", such a testimony brings glory to God.
Beloved, If the Extravagant lifestyle of a minister of God inspires you to set foot into ministry, it is a WRONG BEGINNING. Woe to every preacher who aspires to become a minister of God with dreams of looting money through prayer towers/ Education Institutions, owning a car, making foreign tours. If you enter God's ministry with such a dream, you have the spirit of Balaam and Gehazi. You won't enjoy eternal heavenly life. Blackest darkness is reserved for you ( 1 Peter 2:17)
3) The Crowds
The Success of a minister is now a days measured based on the crowds that gather in his meetings. A few young ministers are deceiving themselves by designing photographs in which they appear to be speaking to millions of people. Photoshop comes handy for them. God doesn't see that way. His ways are different. He praised Moses not because he guided Thousands of people; but because he was Faithful to God ( Numbers 12:7)
Ministries that pull millions of people are not always recognised by God. The ministry of Jeremiah, according to the judgment of man was a complete failure. His 40 year ministry had one message - " Be prepared for the Babylonian Bondage". That was not a popular message during that time.No one wanted to listen to him. They even persecuted him.But in the eyes of God, Jeremiah was an obediant prophet.
Many preachers start their ministry by going around the streets preaching the gospel. But when they get fame and crowds around them, Why do they portray themselves as Kings? They are not bothered about building God's kingdom. They are more worried about building their own empire. They even struggle, strive hard and even sacrifice a lot for building their empire. We look at their sacrifices and honour them; but God sees their heart and he knows their intentions.
Beloved, If you get into ministry life with dreams of having a big crowd behind you, it is a WRONG BEGINNING.
If you are True to the sheep that God gives you (Ten million or just Ten), God will bless you
4) Signs and Wonders
Today, many preachers who decide to enter to ministry fast for 40 days. What for? Is it for Fruit of the spirit? or Is it for Christ's charcters to be conformed in them? Most preachers fast for GIFTS of the Holy Spirit. I know ministers who have fasted for the gift of "Calling out Names of people from the crowd". They end up adding their name as "Anointed preacher with the gift of healing" in posters and banners.
Signs and wonders are indeed necessary in Ministerial life. But making that as your idol is wrong. Signs and Wonders should follow a believer. A believer should not run behind Signs and Wonders.
The last Prophet of the Old Covenant "John the Baptist" did not perform any miracle. Many True ministers of God , even when they perform miracles and wonders, never boast about it.
Beloved! If you don't aspire to be a servant of God and if your dream is to become a celebrity, it is a WRONG BEGINNING. There are many preachers who have started their journey to become celebrities. They are now in the pit of darkness and deception. Remember that.
5) Media Popularity.
Today, there is a norm that in order to be a great Minister of God, one has to appear on a Christian TV channel. Pastors and evangelists are prying for TV slots. It is good that TV is used for spreading the word of God. But when the Pastors and preachers use TV to promote themselves by showing the number of people slayed by them and the number of evil spirits driven away by them, it becomes a sad sight. Some Preachers even promote themselves as " Greatest prophet of 21st century". Did Jesus and Paul introduce themselves like this?
TV ministry is not a sinful ministry. It should be a ministry that is opened by God. When God opens the door, he doesn't want you to beg for money by shaking Offertory boxes. He would want you to shake the nations for him. You will face tribulations and oppositions. The TV opportunity that you got will also be taken away. Are you ready for that?
Beloved, If your wish is to become popular by showing your face on TV, it is a WRONG BEGINNING. Being content and happy in the ministry that God has placed you is what God wants from you.
6) Foreign Tours:
Another myth among Christian believers is that God blesses a minister by sending him to developed countries around the globe. Beloved, Don't fall for the lies of preachers who say that God took them to many countries to preach the Gospel. Why did not God take them to third world countries like Cambodia, Somalia and Angola? Why does God always take them to US, Europe and Singapore? Aren't there any souls in the third world countries? Don't they need God's messages ? God did not send them. They are Balaams running behind Balaks. They don't preach in their homeland if the crowd is less than 1000. But they preach in Britain even if they have to preach just for 5 people, because those 5 souls are costly souls.
Beloved, If you think that by becoming a minister of God, you can travel around the globe,it is a WRONG BEGINNING. I am not saying that God won't send you to developed countries. When God sends you to such countries, Go there and preach the Gospel without diluting it and most importantly, Don't BEG.
Dowry system is a Thorn in the flesh of the body of Christ, especially in South India. It is a system in which the the bride groom demands money/assets from the bride's family to marry her. Today the DOWRY received by a Pastor is more than the dowry that an Engineer or a Doctor gets. Hence Pastoral studies are in great demand these days. When I joined a theological college, I found many theologians from southern part of India. At first I thought that they had great burden for carrying their cross and following Jesus. But when I found that they were forced to study in the colleges by their parents because of the heavy Dowry that they would get in marriage, I could not control my tears.
Beloved, If you become a follower of Christ with a hope of getting a huge dowry, it is a WRONG BEGINNING. Woe to you , if you try to make business out of the Great Commission.
To end this note, I would like to tell you Beloved about the True Ministry.
Jesus did not say, "If you carry your cross, You will become Rich and prosper". In fact he laid conditions to become his disciple.He says " Wait, Just take your travel expenses, decide and follow me". Don't enter ministry life without a Vision. Please read Luke 14:25-35. The 30th verse gives us the message that Ministry is not about how much I get; but it is all about how much I Give.
A servant of God
- is not one who is served; He is one who becomes a Servant (Matthew 20:26)
- doesn't receive ; but gives up everything ( Luke 14:33)
- does not aspire to become Rich financially; but becomes Rich in gentleness and humbleness ( Matthew 11:29)
- does not create Blind followers; but makes disciples (Matthew 28:19)
- does not sell the Truth and Roll in Luxury; but he tells the Truth and becomes enemy to many ( Gal 4:16)
- does not create Fans for himself; but becomes a slave to everyone (1 Cor 9:19)
- does not swim in Money; but goes through the pains of Childbirth ( Galatians 4:19)
- does not offer his neck to garlands; but offers his neck to the sword ( Romans 16:4)
- does not aspire to become popular; he likes to be share the burden of people of God (Heb 11:24,25)
- doesn't sit on someone else's shoulders; but he carries the cross on his shoulders (Luke 14:27)
- doesn't use others' money to stay in a 5 star hotel; but will lead many to righteousness and will shine like the stars for ever and ever (Daniel 12:3)
Above all, Look unto Jesus and learn from him.
He made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant (Phil 2:7)
May God speak in your heart. May his name be Glorified for ever and ever