Choosing the Twelve
September 25, 2020
Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness (Matthew 10:1).
The word ‘summoned’ (proskaleomai) means ‘to call to one’s self’. Jesus called the 12 to be with Him. Here is the crux of what it means to be called into ministry by the Lord. It is important we understand this because it makes all the difference in the success or failure of a minister and his/her ministry.
Not a thousand years ago or a million miles away, when I was in college, it became evident to me that some of the young men who were training for ministry were ‘momma called and papa sent’. When I asked some of them why they were training for ministry I received some ‘interesting’ responses:
“Well, I can’t seem to do anything else, so I thought I’d try ministry.”
“My father (or grandfather) was a preacher, so I thought I would carry on the tradition.”
“My pastor said I would make a fine pastor.”
And my favorite:
“It’s a great salary and benefits for working only 1 hour a week!”
Jesus doesn’t call us to be with others, ministering to others, or talking with others until first of all we have been with Him, ministering to Him, talking with Him. Ministry is the overflow of spiritual fellowship with Jesus Christ. People who minister powerfully and fruitfully in the field are people who have been with Jesus in the prayer closet, in the daily quiet time, in the meditation room. Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).
What breaks my heart today is to see churches so desperate to get someone to fill the pulpit or the pastoral office, they will call a man based on his looks, oratory skills, or people skills, and not because they know the man spends time with Jesus, walks with Jesus, and fellowships with Jesus continually and persistently. Such men are rare. Without such men the church suffers.
“Father, You have reminded me again that my first calling is to You through Jesus Christ. I can do nothing apart from Your Holy Spirit whom You have sent to lead me into fellowship with You every day and every moment of the day. Stir my spirit each day to draw near to Jesus that He will fill me again and again with His Spirit, and that this ministry will be powerful and fruitful. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”