Not To Be Ministered Unto – Part 3
About Your Work
You are a professional man, or you are a man of business. You are doing fairly well. You have enough for all your needs. But you have set your heart on great things. And your success has fallen short of your expectations. This is weighing on your mind. It is a daily trouble to you. You are feeling constantly depressed. What is really at the bottom of it? Is it that you came to minister, and you are disappointed not to be able to minister as fully as you hoped to do? No, not that. But you desire to gratify yourself more; you want to make a bigger show; to be thought more of; you covet to be rich. And your desire for these things is not gratified. You are not ministered unto.
Even your recreation is disturbed by this coming-to-be-ministered-unto spirit. You went in for a race, a competition, a game. You failed; you were beaten. How “horrid” you felt! To this day that feeling haunts you.
A Cambridge athlete won a race three years in succession. If he could win it a fourth year it would be a record. And he was expected to win. But he lost! I am told that for weeks he never smiled. He wanted that race to minister to his family. He wanted people to be able to point to him and say, “He has done what nobody else has done.” And because he was not ministered unto, he was crushed.
“But,” you reply, “in our sports and competitions we are out to do our best and to win, our aim is to be ministered unto.” Yes, of course. But after all, it is only a game. And a disciple of Christ must not take his games too seriously. Even on the playing fields he can manifest the came-not-to-be-ministered-unto-but-to-minister spirit. When he is beaten he can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that in losing he has been the means of ministering unto the winner.
But to return to something more serious than sport. You are engaged in Christian work. You are a Sunday School teacher, or a District visitor or a church officer. Or perhaps you help at the Mothers’ Meeting, the Band of Hope, or the Mission Room. Now you are thinking of giving up the work. Why? Has your health failed? Have you not now the time for it? Are home duties too pressing? No, none of these is the reason. Then you are not wanted? Is there no longer need of your services? Is the opportunity to minister withdrawn from you? No, the need is as great as ever. The door of opportunity remains wide open. Then why are you giving up? Well, you are tired of the work, so you think you will drop it. You expected it would be an interest to you. It would bring you into touch with others. It would give you a position in the Church. In fact, you thought you would like it. And you did like it for a time, but now you are tired of it. Ah! we are beginning to understand. You thought the work would minister unto you. And as long as it ministered unto you, you were willing to go on with it. Now that it no longer ministers unto you, you will give it up. But “the Son of Man came NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister, and to give His life… .” And are you not His disciple?
These are only a few illustrations. They may not be applicable to you. But think it out, and whatever may be your walk in life, or your relation to your fellow-men, you will be surprised to find how much of your unrest, how many of your troubles, arise from this same cause—THE DESIRE TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, instead of coming to minister.
In The Home
You and your friend are living together. Your mutual happiness is interrupted by little jars. You are quick, and your friend is slow. You are economical, and your friend is extravagant. You are punctual, and your friend is unpunctual. You are a very tidy person, and your friend is untidy. You like everything done in your own particular way, your friend does them anyhow! So there is constant friction. But why? Is it because you cannot minister to your friend? No, indeed. It is because your love of tidiness or whatever it may be, your liking to have things your own way, is not ministered unto.
Or, perhaps you are the free and easy person, and you are annoyed because your happy-go-lucky way is not ministered unto!
Suppose you both try desiring NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister and to give?
It is astounding what a number of little things disturb us. Your plan for the afternoon is upset. You desire a wet day; it persists in being fine. A visitor calls just when you want to go out. You are asked to sing and your voice is husky and does not do you credit. The answer to your letter has not come. Your request is not granted. You are interrupted in the middle of an interesting book. The pen won’t write. The dress doesn’t fit. The fire won’t burn. Something is wrong with dinner. The children are so noisy!
Sometimes everything seems wrong. There is nothing big, nothing we can lay our finger upon. But we are always coming into the world with our likes and dislikes, our whims and fancies, our wishes and hobbies, our fads and foibles. And if we are not ministered unto in these little things, we are apt to be distressed and to get put out with ourselves and with everybody else.
Continues on…Not To Be Ministered Unto – Part 4