What does it mean to minister to The Lord or for The Lord? Ministry is not a mystery or an appointed office it is simply serving and I find great contentment in serving the needs of others and that is essential theology. When our service is to The Lord or done for The Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit it is a great joy and never tiresome or a burden.
The first account in the New Testament of ministry is that of angels unto our Lord when The Lord had been tempted in the wilderness by Satan. He was hungry and exhausted from His fast and the spiritual battle which He had prevailed in over the temptations which that Serpent of old had tempted Him with by offering Him the Crown without the Cross.
Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.
The Greek word used here and translated as “minister” is διακονέω, Transliteration diakoneō, Pronunciation dē-ä-ko-ne’-ō, meaning to be a servant, attendant, domestic, to serve, wait upon, to wait at a table and offer food and drink to the guests.
Of women preparing food, supplying food, and the things necessary to sustain life.
To take care of the poor and the sick, to attend to anything, that may serve another’s interests and to serve one or by supplying any thing.
Also used in regarding administration of the office of Deacons who take care of the sick or the poor.
Chronologically the next usage of diakoneo was when The Lord visited Peter’s home and healed Peter’s mother in law.
When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him.
Here Peter’s mother in law ministered to The Lord by waiting upon Him. She got up relieved of her fever and made Him something to eat and I can add from my own personal experience that Jewish mothers and mother-in-laws have been trying to feed us every chance they get for the past two thousand years.
Many women ministered to The Lord during His earthly ministry by contributing to His ministry out of their private means. They gave of themselves and their time. They prepared food, supplied food, and did the things necessary to sustain Him and His disciples during His earthly sojourn.
Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing (diakoneo) to their support out of their private means.
These faithful women did not forsake The Lord nor did they deny Him and hide out like the men did, but they were faithful witnesses to His crucifixion and His resurrection. When the religious authorities struck the Shepherd and the flock was scattered these same women remained true to their calling and their faith in Him.
There were also some women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses, and Salome. When He was in Galilee, they used to follow Him and minister (diakoneo) to Him; and there were many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem.
When I speak to some people about greatness by serving they roll their eyes, chuckle or make a little snort of derision and afterward privately say to me, “Well that’s all well and good for you Ivory Tower dwellers, but the real world isn’t that way.” I don’t tell them this, but I’ve never taken a dime for my service to The Lord. I’ve worked my whole life since I was sixteen years old and like the Apostle Paul I boast in Christ alone and tell them, “That in God’s economy the older is to serve the younger, the strong are to serve the weak and that as you do for the least of His brethren you have done unto Him.”
The Lord was all too aware of earthly, carnal wisdom and just how it really is in this world. He taught us to be a servant of all and to do our good deeds in such a way so that when people see them they glorify God. In His economy and Kingdom greatness is found in serving the needs of others and of course the thing people so desperately need is the gospel of Christ. We should never lose sight of that or Him in our ministry.
And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ “But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant (diakoneo). “For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves (diakoneo)? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves(diakoneo).
Remember when James and John, the sons of Zebadee were desiring preference in the future Kingdom of God and how their mother even got into the act by making a request of The Lord to grant that her sons might sit on His right and left hand in His Kingdom?
And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
So Christ has called us to be a servant of all, to follow Him and His example for it is through our service to Him that God will honor us. Salvation is a free gift of His manifold grace and we can never earn salvation through good deeds, but we must follow Him.
“If anyone serves (diakoneo) Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves (diakoneo) Me, the Father will honor him.
Good deeds are simply a natural outflow of the work of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. These works are the things which accompany our salvation, it is the fruit which He desires for us to bear and for our fruit to remain. God sees what is done in the open and in secret. He knows the secret motivations of our heart and He is not unjust so as to forget our deeds and the love which we have shown one another.
But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered (diakoneo) and in still ministering (diakoneo) to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
The Apostle Paul knew the source of his strength and knew that the service which he rendered to the Church was a God-given ministry.
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 1:12-14
No matter what we have done in the past The Lord is more than capable of transforming our minds and our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. He can and will show us mercy and grace in abundance, with the faith and love which is found in Christ alone.
Dear Lord, as we go about our week may Your mercy and grace be upon us. May You strengthen us and reveal to us the divine appointments that You have arranged for us. May we be able to share Your glory and impact the lives of believers and non believers alike. In Jesus name. Amen.