The Ministry of Presence
“I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling” (1 Cor. 2:3).- 1 Corinthians 2:1–5
All Christians, whether they are ordained or not, are called to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. As we saw yesterday, our status as a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) mandates that we serve each other in love and with the wisdom of God. This service is not something that we carry out under our own power. Rather, when God brings us to Himself, He gives us the Holy Spirit and the mind of Christ so that we will be able to carry His truth to the world.
Next week we shall discuss the nature of ordained officers in the church and the special role they play in leadership, especially as related to the shepherding and education of God’s people. Before we do that, however, we will again discuss some of the general aspects of ministry. There are commandments regarding service to one another that we all must follow, whether or not we have a specific leadership role in the church.
In Galatians 6:2 we find one of the most important ways that believers can serve one another. We are told that we must “bear one another’s burdens,” and that by doing so we will fulfill the law of Christ. As Christians, we fulfill the law of Jesus the Messiah by being present with people. We must therefore come alongside of our brothers and sisters where they are, speaking the Word of God to them and bearing their burdens for the sake of Jesus. We must hold one another up as each performs his God-given tasks. By praying for people, comforting people, and holding them accountable for their sin, we fulfill this command to bear their burdens.
This ministry of presence means that we will serve people even when it might make us uncomfortable. We will stand with people in the midst of anxiety and fear. Most importantly, in these difficult times we will be realists. We will not pretend things are better or worse than they actually are. We will address the situation appropriately, pointing people to the fact that Christ makes all things new.
Today’s passage makes it clear that such was the ministry of the apostle Paul. For as 1 Corinthians 2:3 tells us, he ministered to people despite their weaknesses and troubles. Paul did not pretend to be something that he was not; rather, he ministered in weakness so that the power of God would be evident.
When God calls us to serve, He calls us to come alongside others and become a part of their lives. He uses us to hold each other up and to help others grow in their walk with Christ. Look at those who surround you, and discern who you need to serve. Deliberately plan to become a part of their lives so that you can fulfill His call.
Passages for Further Study
2 Cor. 11:30