Posted by: nmontague | April 2, 2011

Personal ministries

I’ve been pondering a lot about personal ministries tonight. I think that God has a plan for everyone who lives and that we have the privilege and the responsibility to figure out that purpose and bless the lives of others with our time, talents, and money in a way that is pleasing to God. This is our ministry. We do this in part, through the work we do everyday. Our careers aren’t just a job, they are a way to glorify God by serving our fellow man if we treat our efforts at work the right way. This is in part what used to be called the “protestant work ethic”. Obviously, as I’m not protestant, I do think there are still good principles found in the PWE and these good principles can be found in the scriptures.

Work seems to be a very important part of any personal ministry. And while I believe that our job/carreer can be part of our personal ministry, I don’t think that’s only aspect of it. I think we are supposed to work outside of our time at our jobs as well. We are supposed to be engaged in service of others and make attempts to lift their lives through our service and our friendship with them.  We live in a culture that tends to encourages idleness and amusement rather than our moral and religious obligations to God and our fellow man.

Whatever the work we do, it can bless us spiritually if it’s done in the right mindset.

First, the work of our personal ministry must be done to bless others. If we do work where we delibrately hurt others or try to take advantage of them in some way, we are not doing the right work. If we do engage in work that blesses others, if we do it with the wrong mindset, basically, to get financial gain or personal glory rather than to build up the Lord’s Zion and bless others, than we likewise get no Spiritual benefit. We are not ministering to others, we are seeking to only benefit ourselves. Our efforts must be focused on blessing others to get the fulness of the blessings we can recieve ourselves and to make sure that our efforts are completely blessed by the Lord.

Second, we must work of our own free will. We have been given agency from God to make choices in our lives. And in order to recieve the spiritual blessings to ourselves and to have the spiritual help to lift others, we need to be blessing and ministering to others of our own free will. This is why it’s important that we have the freedom to do this rather than outsource our efforts to a government program. Especially the so called entitlement programs. When government uses force to take from people to give to others, we lose much of the power to fix the real problems our society faces that we might otherwise have if we choose to personally act for ourselves.

For example, if we voluntarily give our time, talents, and money to our fellow man to lift them up, it is an edifying experience. We are blessed and enriched by our service. The recipient of our service is blessed and edified. They recognize our efforts as a gift and have the opportunity to be grateful for recieving it. However, when a government takes the time, talents, and money of one person in order to benefit the other claiming they are entitled to it, their action creates resentment because the giver’s efforts were taken from them by force and the recievers, instead of recognizing the gift for what it is, are told they are entitled to the benefits. Do either party really benefit from this forced transaction the way they would if the giver gave of his own free will and the reciever recieved recognizing the gift?

One method creates unity, gratitude, and love in society. The other resentment, idleness, and division. I contend that our society would be far better off with the voluntary method of ministering to the needs of our society.

At the beginning of Charles Dicken’s Christmas Carol, Ebeneezer Scrooge argued that he was already forced to help the poor through his taxes. Were either the poor or Mr Scrooge really benefitting from that arrangement? It was when he later realized that he should give voluntarily and minister to those around him with need that both he and those around him were blessed.

We need to start doing this now. Obviously the burden of government taxation and spending may limit our ability to provide money and perhaps even time. But we need to provide more time and effort to building our communities and ministering to those that need help around us despite what the government does to burden us. I don’t believe the burden of government will be lifted from us until after we’ve learned how to govern ourselves and lift up our fellow man of our own free will.

Finally, I would point out that sometimes those that are need are not those that are poor in the materials of the world, but those that are spiritually poor and needy. That can include people who might actually have a lot of wealth who need to be ministered to for the various problems in their life. They may be those who have not yet learned that they need to serve others but who have comfortable lives. The wealth and station of a person, or the lack their of, does not determine whether they are spiritually poor and needy.

Now this may be a new concept for some, or at least one not often thought about. But my contention here is that in order to fulfill our personal ministries, we need to stop looking at people and dividing them into groups of wealthy, middle class, poor, etc. We should see them as our brothers and sisters. It shouldn’t matter if they have $.10 to their name or $10,000,000, we should be willing to serve them and help build up Zion by building up our fellow man. If we are to have no poor among us, we likewise will have no rich. And I think that has less to do with what we produce and more to do with how we divide people in our mind. We need to stop looking at people as rich or poor. If others need to recieve our ministering, we should provide it.

Like I said, I’ve been thinking a lot about personal ministries tonight. Mine in particular. I fear I may have been neglecting it recently. And I think it’s about time I start working again. Learning how to work hard, smarter, and more patiently with others. I’d like to see us all united together and reconciled with God and our fellow man. And I think that requires us to work, to do so voluntarily, and see people are our brothers and not in the station or for the wealth they have. I am going to commit to work harder on my personal ministry and I would encourage everyone of every faith or denomination who has the opportunity to read this to do the same. It’s time to forget ourselves and get to work.

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