“Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”- (KJV)
1 Corinthians 4:1-2
We are the sons of God, and as God’s sons, we need to be trained as co-labourers together with Him because the Father desires to use us as vessels to operate His will on earth. Every believer is a saint, every saint is a minister. We are all called to be in ministry, at varying degrees of authority. This would have an impact on our perspective of life, on how we conduct ourselves, how we arrange and plan the various details and aspects of our existence.
The term “minister” used in the verse quoted is the Greek word ‘huperetes’, which speaks of an under-rower in the Roman naval vessel. The Roman naval vessels had sails like every other boat but they had men who would row the vessels with oars under the boat. Thus, the boats did not rely on the wind; when the captain gave an instruction, the men under the boat would row the boat. Paul uses the description of the under-rower to speak of us as ministers. The description of the ‘huperetes’ means that each of us should be resolved in seeing the advancement of the Church of Jesus Christ, the furtherance of the Gospel, which is represented metaphorically with the image of a boat. We are all involved in the furtherance of the Gospel. There are so many things that would be done in the kingdom of God if only people were trained not to seek for recognition for the things done. It is for this reason that Paul said, if a man is to take account of us, if we are to be measured and defined, let us be classified as the ministers – the “huperetes” – of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
As saints, we are saved to render a specific service to God in the body of Christ. This means that the expression of the indwelling Christ will be different in everyone, because God’s purpose and election is according to the believer’s particularity. The Holy Spirit is the administrator of the works of Christ through the believer. He uses your person according to your personal inclinations, and He does so by prompting you with specific desires, ideas, indications and even instructions on how you are to go about certain services.
Under grace, serving God is an immense privilege. To the untaught, service is an obligation or something that is endured. But Paul describes the believer as being a fellow worker with Christ (2 Corinthians 6:1); that is to say, we labour together with Christ in our services. The local church has been appointed by God as a ‘factory’ to produce sons and daughters of destiny. It is in the local church that God places saints under spiritual authority to serve. Serving will take you through a personality change whereby God will bring forth the best in you. A steward is a son of excellence; his stewardship indicates his maturity. To know someone has matured in the things of God is when they begin to possess God’s interest in view.
Grace makes us responsible. It makes us effective in our response to God because our response is encapsulated in His perfect response. In the “Yes” that Jesus said to God on your behalf, He has taken your disobedience and has recapitulated it. Our willingness to God is one of the indicators of the efficacy of grace in us (Titus 2:11-14). The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, teaching us to deny ungodly works and making us zealous unto good works. Good works were not required for salvation but they are acquired at salvation. These good works are His works through us.
It is a unique privilege to co-labour together with God. He has given us all things that we may faithfully use them for the advancement of His kingdom. We are His masterpiece, predestined unto good works (Ephesians 2:10). God has ordained certain works to be done by Christ through you. For you to produce these ‘works’ requires that you cultivate sensitivity to the Spirit by making your heart available to the ministry of the indwelling Christ. As you give heed to His leading, be assured you will never question how hard a task is because He will always guide you into each task, each assignment, with His own corresponding enablement. Do not postpone or procrastinate regarding any impression you have in your heart. Rise up in faith and trust in Christ, your co-operator, to receive the desired result of grace.