The spiritual gift of ministry is a gift people want around, but they themselves don’t want to have. They want to see it in action, but don’t want to be the person taking that action. The gift of ministry is a highly prided spiritual gift very few actually want. Why is that?
The Baby of the Family
Some gifts, especially when they are strong or desirable, can cause others to look with envy at the possessor of that gift. While this isn’t ideal, unfortunately, it is true. Thankfully not all of the gifts are like that. Take, for instance, the gift of ministry.
This particular gift is the baby of the family that everyone loves to have around. You will seldom meet anyone who covets it. No one ever accuses someone of striving for position while operating in this gift. In fact, everyone wants this gift in their lives. What is so special about the gift of ministry (service)? The most succinct way I know how to answer that question is by saying it is because it is humble. When someone is administering in the gift of service, they are putting other people’s needs above their own, as this is the beautiful point of this self-effacing gift.
An honest observation I’ve seen is that everyone wants the gift of service in their vicinity, but no one seems to actually want the gift of service bestowed upon them. It flies in the face of our cultural standards. We are all about protecting our rights, however the gift of service isn’t interested in that. While we are told on the daily to do what’s best for ourselves, the gift of service wants to do what’s best for others. Culturally, it makes sense why no one would strive to serve, but spiritually it is to our shame that we don’t long for this gift more.
Jesus’ Display of the Gift of Ministry
In John 13, we read of the most incredible display of the gift of service. Jesus, who was the possessor of all the spiritual gifts, tied on an apron and unabashedly washed His disciples’ feet. I know you’ve heard the story, but let the realities of this narrative sink in. Jesus, the mighty Creator of the universe, took on the role of the servant of the house and washed the dirt (which He created) off of His disciples’ feet (which He also created).
He had every right to insist they wash His feet, but He didn’t demand that. He could have, quite correctly, pointed out that it was a great injustice that no one had washed their own feet, but He didn’t. He simply saw a need and met that need without a single word of complaint. That is exactly what the gift of service is!
May we all not only long for this gift to be around, but may we all long to possess this gift as well.
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:6-8 ESV
This is part of a series of articles about spiritual gifts. Click below to read more as they’re published.