Spiritual Essentials of Serving
Featuring Branon Dempsey Posted on April 24, 2008
Skills: not to be confused with "nunchuk skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills...”
I’m talking about skills, ability and knowledge to use in ministry. No matter our task, we each have a set of essentials that guide our process. What about our responsibility to our tools and devices that enable us to serve in worship ministry? More importantly, what is our responsibility to God in how we serve: our purpose, intension and fruit?
The call of serving thought the arts comes with much responsibility. Each of us has a calling, whether you are a singer, musician or artist. God calls us to serve in His work for His honor and for the sake of the Gospel. The tools we use in our ministries are not a means to an end, no matter how great the technology, how cool the instrument or even how wonderful our created art looks or sounds. Times will come and go and so will our innovations, but there are four must-have primary essentials. As God provides resources to aid us in our tasks, our intension and purpose behind our tools will determine the fruit we bear.
We see two men summoned by God to work under the command of Moses in building the Tent of Meeting:
1 Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 "See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts-- 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. 6 Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you: 7 the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the Testimony with the atonement cover on it, and all the other furnishings of the tent-- 8 the table and its articles, the pure gold lampstand and all its accessories, the altar of incense, 9 the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand-- 10 and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests, 11 and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make them just as I commanded you." – Ex. 31:1-11
God hand picked these guys to build and furnish the Tent of Meeting for the dwelling and worship of God. The four primary essentials that God provided to these men (and still today) is His Spirit, skill, ability and knowledge.
Holy Spirit – we see God empowering man for service in the Holy Spirit: Jud. 3:10; Ex. 31:3; 1Sam. 10:6-7;2 Sam 23:2; Isa. 61:1; Mt.12:18; Lk. 4:18and Jn.14:17.
Skill – Scripture indicates the uses and importance of skills: 1 Ch. 5:18; 2 Ch. 2:13; 2 Ch. 34:12; Ezk. 28:5; Ps. 33:3; Ps. 144:1.
Ability – is not the same as willingness; ability defines one who is able (equipped) to complete the work set before him: Dan 1:4; Neh. 5:8, Mt. 25:15; 2Cor. 8:3; 2Cor. 8:11.
Knowledge – the fact or condition of knowing something through the gained experience and learning of His Word in order to discern and perform good works in Christ. Nu.24:16; 1Ch. 1:11; Ne. 10:28; Jb. 42:1-6; Ps. 119:66; Pr. 2:5-6; Rm. 11:33, 1Cor. 1:5; 2Cor. 8:7; Col. 1:10; 2Pt. 2:8; 2Pt. 3:18; Js. 1:5.
We see through Scripture a harmony of how God employs His spirit, skill, ability and knowledge within a person to perform His work. Each of us in our ministries are blessed in countless forms that enable us to do the work and will of God – it is undeniable. God gave each person His guidance and tools not for our own works but for His - to “be” and “do” the works of God. So why is it, that we assume ownership over a ministry, possession or task that is rightly God’s? I guess this also explains why the same person expects something in return for themselves (not talking about merely compensation). A motivation to serve based on selfishness, will ultimately yield a worthless return and not the very true and good fruit that is fit for the King and for the Kingdom. The obedience and art of service begins when we deny ourselves and take up our cross to serve Christ alone (Mk. 8:34) for His glory alone.
Eph. 1 says that we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. In 2:10, Paul tells us that we are the workmanship of Christ, created for good works in Christ Jesus. This means that God has equipped us for the very purpose to be crafted into his design for his using. Our actions in serving our ministries need to be rooted in a belief that says: all is for His will to be done - we are His workmanship – and not for ourselves. It is easy to get caught-up in the motions of “serving,” when we focus too much on our tools or the technique. When we become out-of-touch from the essence of service, even when we get in our “ruts,” our ministry can grow faint – our zeal for ministry can grow faint. However, we have help. As we have seen in the first primary essential, we are given the Holy Spirit. He comes besides us and guides us.
Scriptural Insight on The Holy Spirit
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” – Jn 14:26. KJV.
In John 14, Jesus shares with his beloved that he is sending the Holy Spirit, the Great Counselor to aid, comfort and abide in them, as the disciples go about the work of God. Check this out about the term “Holy Spirit.” In the NASB and NKJV translations, the word “Helper,” is chosen to describe the Holy Spirit, which appears in Jn 14:26, Another term used to describe the Spirit is “Comforter” which is found in the KJV. “Counselor,” is found in the NIV and RSV. The word “Advocate,” is also seen in the NRSV. For this article I am making a personal choice to study the term Comforter as it resonates with my heart and mind in reading the Scriptures.
The Greek root word for Comforter is paraklētŏs: par-ak’-lay-tos. The prefix of “para” is the primary meaning of “near,” it also has an action verb meaning of “from,” or “out from,” (found in John 6:19 and 46). It expresses motion or a coming besides. The suffix “kletos,” means called, invited, welcomed or appointed (the meaning of called “one who is called - to an office,” is found in Rom. 1:1 and 1 Cor. 1:1). When we align the prefix and suffix together we get: parakletos or “The Paraclete,” the One who comes besides.
As the Spirit comes besides us, we are empowered to achieve greatness in Christ. We begin to experience what Galatians 5:22 implores about the fruit of the Spirit which is “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…” Because our service is rooted in His Spirit we are guided as we use our skills, abilities and knowledge.
In your ministry, there’s no need to use nunchucks, bow hunting and computer hacking (you may get arrested), but rather our essentials are the Holy Spirit, skills, abilities and knowledge to do His work for his glory. Serve with gladness in His purposes as you yield fruit that is worthy of the King and the Kingdom.