In his message, ‘Fulfilling your ministry’, Dr. Chinedu Okoroafor, charged us, members to be ordained Elders, of the need of fulfilling our callings.
My wife and I were at the Presbyterian Church Headquarters, Yaba, Lagos, on Sunday, October 7, 2018 for the Ordination and Admission of their new Ruling Elders. Our Sister Florence Nnorom, the wife of Elder Emma Nnorom, our brother, was one of them. One of their hymns, ‘Am pressing on the upward way’, ministered much to me. It brought down the glory of the Almighty. Every child of God is ‘pressing on the upward way, gaining new heights every day’ and ‘still prays as he is onward bound’ that ‘God will plant his feet on Higher ground’. Higher ground! Yes, that is our aim!
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In his message, ‘Fulfilling your ministry’, the Minister in Charge, Dr. Chinedu Okoroafor, charged us, especially the members to be ordained Elders, of the need of fulfilling our callings. ‘How is a ministry fulfilled?’ One may ask. Aiming on ‘Higher ground’, such a fellow must be aware that he has a ministry from God. Some people, in error, think that only Pastors have ministries. My sickness had been malaria but in 1980, a lady in our Church visited us and prayed on it and I was healed. She might not have known that she had a healing ministry. A Christian brother, not from my Church nor from my tribe, gave me a loan of N250,000 recently and when I wanted to repay him, he objected, insisting that it was a gift, though I had stressed that it was for business. He had done that severally to my family. That is another strange ministry.
When I was in-charge of Evangelism, some of us, including my wife, were going to Tarkwa Bay by boat for missions every Sunday morning for three years, in spite of the risk of death, if our boat capsized. An island known for drugs, alcohol and sex, their ladies were always half-clad. To attract the people, we dressed soberly like their men. Some people, instead of encouraging us, chose the path of criticism, and were gossiping that we were forming our Church there. In most Churches, their members are in different ministries, and may include the Gossiping ministry and the Criticism ministry. These people, also, labour to fulfill their ministries.
Why should a child of God fulfill his calling? How should he do it? It is important for us to note that God demands accountability in the responsibility He has given us. That was why Uncle Paul advised Rev. Archippus to take heed of the Church God gave him to pastor. It is the same message for us, but for the Critics and Gossipers, it is not God but Satan, that has given them their ministries. We have received from God ministries in the family, Church, our places of work, nation, etc. How we do the work is very important to Him.
Do we work hard for its growth? Are we contented, even when things go bad or awry? Do we take out times to review the way the ministry is going? Do we take offence, when criticized objectively? Do we make sacrifices when the need arises? If people do not see the secret things we do, do we know that the Owner of the work sees us? We may not be accountable to any man, but God, the Owner of the work, demands it. My General Overseer reminded us recently, the need of giving preference to our fellow believers, when employing people in our businesses. Agreeing with him, I condemned, however, the attitude of some believers, who will go for evangelism during office hours. Evangelism must be done but not at the expense of one’s company. A Christian will come late to work, and follows unbelievers to sign the Time book as if he arrived in time. This is not Christianity.
Taking heed of his ministry, before advising others, Paul declared: ‘I rejoice in my sufferings because of you’ – Col 1:24; ‘I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need’ – Phl. 4:12; ‘The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do’ – Phl. 4:9; ‘I press towards the goal for the price of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus’ – Phl. 3: 14; ‘What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ’ – Phl. 3: 7.
For Uncle Samson, he left his ministry and wanted to marry an unbeliever, a lady from Philistine. When his parents objected because of his commission from God before his conception, to fight the people of Philistine, he said, ‘She pleases me’. When she disappointed him, as unbelievers will always do, he changed to a prostitute. The lady ruined him, leaving him blind before he died. – Judges 14:3.
The Lord Jesus narrated how three servants were given five talents, two talents and one talent, respectively, to trade with, according to their abilities – Matt.25:14-29. The first two worked hard and doubled the money given to them. The third man buried the money in the ground. From his feeble defence, one could infer that he never trusted his master and was rather flaunting blames on him. Lacking investment expertise, he was ruled by fear. At the end, the little he had was taken away from him and given to the one that gained five talents. He was punished and did not finish his ministry. The three servants represent how we handle our duties at home, in the Church, nation or in the place of our work.
Are we in love with our ministry? Does it give us satisfaction? Do we aim at finishing it, and to finish it well? Alexander the Great, the legend king of Macedon from the age of nineteen, who founded Alexandria and conquered the known world, still felt that he needed to do more. He died in sorrow for having no other countries to conquer! Imagine! Uncle Samson could have done more exploits for God but for his life of compromise. Dying, not fulfilling his ministry, he did not know when God left him. Apostle Paul, on the other hand, said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course [ministry], I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day…” Praise God!
What is unique about such a believer is that he has no ‘desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay, though some people may dwell where these abound’. His prayer, ‘his aim, is Higher ground’. His quick response for choosing that lifestyle is, ‘I want to live above the world, though Satan hurled his darts at me but since my faith has caught the joyful sound’, my song, like the ‘saints is still on Higher ground’.
Finishing His ministry, our Lord Jesus, declared, ‘It is finished’. A Victor like Him, in spite of all odds, wants ‘to scale the utmost height, and catch a glimpse of glory-bright’, and he still ‘prays till he finds Heaven’, and the prayer of saints, is still, ‘Lord, plant my feet on Higher ground’.
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