I believe that God has two somewhat distinct types of ministries for each one of us. We might designate them as Tier 1 and Tier 2 type ministries.
Tier 1 is related primarily to the Fruit of the Spirit emanating from our lives to bless others. This ministry is exercised in being a loving spouse, godly parent, good neighbor, and caring friend. It can be displayed through being a good listener, helping those in need, telling people the truth with kindness even when the truth hurts, and in countless other ways.
One means of manifesting this type of ministry is through giving compliments. I single out this opportunity because it seems to be such a no-brainer. Giving compliments costs nothing, takes virtually no time, requires zero energy, and is fun. It is enjoyable to make someone’s day by mentioning how nice they look, what a good job they have done, or some commendable quality they have manifested. What a tragedy not to make the most of this low-cost, high-yield resource.
A Tier 2 ministry, though also requiring the exercise of the Fruit of the Spirit, is primarily driven by the Gifts of the Spirit. This type of ministry has to do with the specific purpose God has for each of us. This is not a broad, general type of calling, but an explicit ministry, unique to us, that constitutes the driving and unifying factor in our life.
Consider the three verses below that seem to refer to this type of ministry.
- Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
- 2 Timothy 1:9 “who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began”
- Mark 13:34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work….
Notice that this purpose is personal. God has designed it for you. He has placed you in history and geography at exactly the right time and location for its fulfillment. He has supplied you with the gifts and resources needed to achieve it.
God’s purposes can take on a vast variety of configurations. To one person He may give the gift of giving, enabling them to earn significant amounts of money and make wise investments to advance God’s Kingdom. Others may have gifts in the area of administration, helps, evangelism, teaching, or some other ministry.
Even in these areas God’s purposes tend to be even more specific. For example, some people can teach kindergarten but would be ineffective at a college level and vice versa. Some people do evangelism well in an organizational setting while others function better on their own.
The purpose God has assigned us usually not only is confined to a certain type of ministry but also to a specific ministry, that is, the fulfillment of a particular task.
Susanna Wesley apparently recognized her purpose was the nurturing of her children. Since she had 19 children, this was something of a full-time job. She had older children teaching younger children, a list of 16 rules, and a system that functioned like clockwork. As we know, two of her children, John and Charles, changed the face of England spiritually and morally. Some historians conclude that their ministries saved England from the horrors France experienced in the French Revolution.
Just as hers was a highly specified task, the passages above and others seem to indicate that God also has assigned to each of us a particular mission. In large measure meaning and fulfillment in life come from identifying and filling that task. Likewise, doing so comprises success in life. Also, to a significant degree happiness is derived through our engaging in this assignment from God.
This leaves us with the question of whether you have identified the specific task that God has assigned to you. In my next post I plan to address how we can identify God’s unique assignment for us.