Daily Archives: March 19, 2017
All real Christians have God-given talents and gifts, and are called into some form of ministry. Our purpose is to fulfill our callings. Here is how the Lord provides for us in that process:
A VERY IMPORTANT DISTINCTION:
The spiritual harvest brought forth by our work for the Lord is not the same as our personal compensation.
Real Christians are noteworthy for putting the work of God first regardless of any recompense they may or may not receive at the time. They know the Lord will always provide but they don’t necessarily wait around for the provision when there is work to be done.
Now, this must be explained a tad. The Lord Jesus never calls anyone into His work without taking caring of him or her. He always provides for His disciples. As I have written about on this site several times, when the Lord called His original twelve to leave all and join His ministry it also involved leaving their present means of making a living. He told those who were fishermen, for example, to drop their nets and follow Him. There is no way He would do this unless He had the wherewithal to provide for them through an alternative means, and this is key.
YOKED TOGETHER WITH THE LORD OUR PROVIDER
For it is written in the Law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. [1Corinthians 9:9-10]
The Lord will always do His part. He will always provide His portion. Consider it this way: A real Christian is in covenant with the Lord. The two share the same yoke. The yoke will fit only two people [See my post: The Yoke’s On You].
When two oxen are yoked together there must be time for these two massive and powerful animals to learn to work together. They are each independent with strong wills. The person who is plowing never wants to diminish the power of his oxen or emasculate them in any way for the sake of making them work together, as this only defeats the purpose. He does not want their strength reduced but if anything, he wants to maximize it. That is the entire point of attempting to yoke them together.
The Lord Jesus does the same with each of us. Rather than regiment us and remove our personal power, strength, individual gifts, talents, personality, and independence (all of which He gave us when He made us) for the sake of conforming us to a very low common denominator, which causes us to become essentially spiritually worthless within a mass homogenized group (sound familiar?), He attempts instead to redirect us and put us in a place where all that we are may be utilized fully and where we can be fully developed and fulfilled.
But in the beginning, before salvation, He knows each of us is otherwise hopelessly lost in sin and thoroughly compromised, so He first seeks to bring us to repentance, bless us with a new birth, wash away our sins, fill us with His Spirit and strength, and welcome us to His kingdom. This must start with our own personal hunger. We must seek Him. We must begin manifesting faith in Him. Of course, He is already seeking us and in fact sacrificed His very life for us, but unless we do our part anything He wants to do for us is rendered impossible.
This is why each of us must also sacrifice our life for Him. This dynamic connects two lives sacrificed for the other, yoked together as a team, which makes possible the coming forth of great spiritual production and fruitfulness.
Here is a simple way to see it: The Lord will always do His 50%. He is ever faithful. We must also be faithful and do our 50%. When a disciple does his or her 50%, which is something vitally necessary but often overlooked, then great and powerful things happen. We see then, that the reason such great and powerful things do not happen is because we are simply not doing our 50%. Consider the establishment of the 100% as that which brings forth the fruit of covenant.
SOWING SPIRITUAL THINGS FIRST
If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel. But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one. [1Corinthians 9:11-15]
I’m going to stop here and reveal the aforementioned distinction further. There are many ministers of the Gospel who consider themselves professionals. In other words, they see ministry as a career. They see it as a job. They will not perform their jobs without a paycheck. They also do their level best to cover themselves within society as legitimate members of society. They do not want to be seen as persons without standing. This is part of why they demand a salary and position. These people, which make up the majority of ministers, would never last a day working with Paul (he’d run ‘em off), which probably means they would last less than a day working with the Lord. Real ministers of the Gospel know they came into the world with nothing (that they had anything to do with), that they came into the kingdom the same way, and that they are incredibly fortunate to have any blessing beyond that.
Real ministry is rigorous. It is not for those who make selfish demands. We are called as babes but must become spiritual adults ASAP or we will get wiped out in battle. Therefore, we must be fully trained by the Lord. The New Covenant writings explain very well what this training looks like. We are bought with a price. The Lord Jesus has purchased us with His own blood.
Once we sign up we not only gain the benefits of living for God but we primarily gain the opportunity to work for Him and with Him according to His will and not our own. In other words, real ministry is not like going off to college and choosing a major or deciding on our own what job we want. The Lord has already decided those things. Our job is to say “YES SIR” and do what He says in accordance with the way He made us, and with respect for our individual giftings and callings. This is in part why Paul relays the following very hard but incredibly fruitful truth:
For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.
For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.
To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. [1Corinthians 9:16-24] 
© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.