SUNDAY 26 FEBRUARY, 2017.
- JESUS AND THE WELFARE OF MINISTERS.
“These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food ”, (Matt. 10,5, 8-10)
Incontestably, Jesus did not only send out His disciples to the mission field but He also had their welfare in mind. Yes, He said they should not take any purse or sandals or staffs, yet, the worker deserved his wages. Impliedly, those who labour in the mission field as ministers deserve to be taken care of by different ministeries they represent or work for. This should be the attitude.
Nevertheless, we must commend those ministers who see their work as a priority: teaching, visiting, healing where necessary. Such ministers serve sacrificially and efficiently too. That is why their congregations do take note as they go all out in turn to support and encourage them. It is to be noted that the type of care being given to such ministers have ended up boosting their morale in the service of God. However, there are a few, who may not have been living up to expectations in the mission field and such persons always complain, antagonize and sometimes meddle with Church funds, but this should not be so?
The scripture is very clear on its stand for ministers “Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar?”, (1 Cor. 9:13). This writer was and still is a beneficiary of such benevolence from people of God at different times. We must acknowledge, a recipient of such benevolence should be cool headed and more committed to the work God has called him to do.
The ministerial maxim is still correct: “whoever, He calls, He equips”. If truly Jesus called one into His Kingdom business, naturally such a person would not be stranded or suffer just like that. Elder John long ago recognized the mind of God about His workers, he says, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers”, (3 John 1:2). One truly God called and equipped by the master, therefore, cannot misbehave on the mission field.
It is sad to observe today that “all manner of persons” have invaded the Church. We now have false teachers and false prophets who are there on the mission field to confuse and confound gullible members of the congregation. At the surface it will seem as though, they are working for the Lord but a closer look will reveal that they are not working with the Lord. However, we should be encouraged, long ago, Jesus has taken care of these categories of people. What did He do about them?: “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of iniquity!”, (Matt. 7:23).
Therefore, ministers called by Jesus should be rest assured that things pertaining to their welfare would be taken care of. Necessarily, provisions are to be made for them through different Church congregations and ministries they serve. However, we are that glad to announce to somebody this morning that those who partner with Jesus on this provision to His ministers shall never lose their reward. St. Matthew was right when he noted thus: “and whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” (Matt. 10:42), Amen.
VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,