Just Try Harder
What is ministry? The answer is simple but somehow becomes something as misinterpreted and poorly practiced as the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Biblically defined ministry is serving God and people, and usually, the two are very connected. Ministry means serving. As people of God, it means doing life and Church interaction as “someone who performs the service of those who prepare and present food”. Spiritually and physically putting on the waiters/waitresses towel to wash feet and wait tables. If you are a Christian husband, one of your top priorities in life is to love and serve your wife according to the perfect example of Christ Jesus. Everything that He could have given, He gave.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.John 15:13 (ESV)
But the ministry of Jesus was (is) not for nothing. What I mean is that if we do ministry and tons of good deeds but leave Jesus standing outside the door knocking, then we are wasting our efforts. He came that we might have life that we never could have had without Him giving everything. So that the bride of Christ could live abundantly and forever. To say that He offers so much more than we could ever achieve on our own is a gross understatement. Because of all our sin, it is impossible for us to purchase a pardon and right standing with God. Our best possible efforts to be a good person and be accepted by God into eternal life with Him are to be counted as dung (Philippians 3). Any notion that we just need to have our good deeds outweigh our bad ones is a lie from hell. It is as impossible as trying to spend US dollars in a foreign nation that will not accept them as tender for any reason with no exceptions.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (ESV)
Being reconciled to a brother or sister is a very real and difficult thing, but is a different Greek word (in Matthew 5:24 for example) than the ones used here in 2 Corinthians 5. Life and relationships can be so tricky, but the word used in the above text is defined as the type of exchange that money changers or a FOREX location would make to change one kind of currency for a completely different one. Any of our best efforts and always promising to try harder and do better next time or later could never buy the good graces of a God who perfectly and personally serves justice. He also never changes so His Word remains good and valid forevermore. Plenty of false religions (every other attempt, actually, than Jesus, including Christians-in-name-only) have attempted to peddle some form of self-willed morality and/or demonic spirituality. Every attempt to be right with God outside of coming through the Only Door is like trying to spend the wrong kind of currency. If a certain kind of currency is not accepted for a purchase, then no matter how much of it you bring, you will never be able to buy anything with it. Try buying an iPhone X or a ticket for an Alaskan cruise with Monopoly money sometime if you aren’t getting the concept yet. Becoming the righteousness of God as a born again child of God and true member of the body of Christ is our only possible path to exchange for the right currency to pay for our grievous mistakes and brokenness. The only currency that can render us spared from eternal damnation, comes as a gift. Monopoly money in exchange for the only accepted currency that will buy us out of our death sentence. A gift to pay an impossible debt, an unpayable ransom to the terrorists.
God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)
Doing good is good if we do it for the right reasons. Doing good is only good if it is an overflow reaction to truly receiving the love of Christ. Please be reconciled to God. If you are already, then please allow Christ to make His appeal through you into all the places that your life can reach.