This will be my last post reflecting on the trending movie “THE TRAIN”. It has been a film that blessed so many lives, and I observed that so many people have had to write down what they learnt from it. We bless God for showing mercy to His children from this film, and the life of Bro. Mike Bamiloye and his team. Now, I want to take on my last reflections, and I wish to talk about the full-time ministry.
Earlier on during my time as a child, it was not strange to hear someone say that God had called him into “full-time” ministry. So, people were leaving their businesses, work places, offices, and some even left their academic pursuits in order to go into the ministry “full-time.” This was not even limited to my nation, or my people; rather, all over the world in generations earlier than now, people were leaving everything to answer the call to full-time missions in hinter lands and undeveloped countries like mine. This was the story behind people like Mary Slessor, Pa G. Elton, Robert Hyslop, and many others who came to Nigeria. In fact, it took the grace of God and the direct work of the Holy Spirit to keep men like R. G. LeTourneau in their businesses, or men like William Wilberforce in their political positions. These men also, in their bid to ‘answer the call of God’ also wanted to drop everything, but the Lord said “No”; and in remaining where God said they should remain, they became instruments in God’s hands to further His kingdom on the face of the earth.
However, I see a strange wind driving my generation. As the wind of religious activism driven by the flesh continues to pervade my generation, and the social media, there is a growing spirit of disdain for the full-time ministry. As far as some people are concerned, there is nothing like being in ministry “full-time”. These people will always cite for you example of Paul the Apostle, who was a tent-maker (or so they think), and they will always quote his 1st letter to the Corinthians chapter 9 out of context. Hence, they see any man who is in full-time as a jobless and unfruitful fellow who is simply there because of money, and because of the trappings of wealth that follows the ministry. This simple over-generalization is a very erroneous one.
The work of God is so vast, so great, and so big that there literally is nothing wrong with a man doing it full-time. What some of our generation do not realize is that unlike now, being in full-time ministry then was like a curse. Your parents, your siblings, and your generation will give up on you and just conclude that you will never become anything in life. This was the story of many of our fathers today when they entered into full time ministry.
I do not intend to engage in much intellectual analysis on the subject of Paul being a tent-maker and all that; but permit me to say that God still calls people into full-time ministry. He has done it before, in Bible times, and He still does it today. It is not strange for Jesus to call a man to leave “everything” and simply face the preaching of the Gospel. How will that man eat? Paul (the poster Apostle of these anti-full-time activists) answered in 1 Corinthians 9 when he said, “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9:13-14). So, they will eat from the Gospel they preach. That is the orderly arrangement of heaven.
Every man has his calling. Not all men are called into full-time ministry; and those who are called into such offices are not holier and neither will they have greater reward than those who were not called into full-time ministry. Every man is just playing his part in the great commission, and wisdom is to discover your race and the rules that will guide you. You can read more of this in my article YOUR RACE, YOUR RULES.
We know that many are entering the ministry today because of the trappings of wealth, power and popularity that accompanies the ministry; but God has not called you to be the judge of that. If a man says that God has called him into full-time ministry, allow him be. He may be wrong or right; time and eternity will tell. As for you, face your own race and ensure that you run it well.
And if the Lord is calling you into full-time ministry, and you are very sure of it; then move out. Stop trying to be too wise. Stop waiting until you have developed this or that business to sustain you. The Person that called you will sustain you. He will feed you from the Gospel, and the Gospel of Jesus is rich enough to take care of anyone who has been called to carry it full-time.
If the Lord has not called you into full-time ministry, continue in your office; knowing fully well that right where you are is your ministry. Besides, you can still preach the Gospel, and run a ministry successfully while working part-time: but that is if God leads you to do so, and not simply because your heart is so tied to earthly finance to the point where you are holding on tightly to it, even when God is telling you to let it go.
May the Lord help us to discern His path for us, run our race with patience and fulfill His eternal purpose for us in Jesus name. Amen.