Sunday I witnessed a moving ceremony, the ordination to ministry of a "native son" of our church. Not only was he born in the church, but he also came to the Lord, was baptized, grew up, and then was sent out as a missionary. In the ceremony, there was the recognition of God's calling and gifting of this young man with the laying on of hands and prayer by the elders of the church. So as you can imagine, it was a day of great celebration, not only for him personally, but also for his family, friends, and congregation. Since then, I've been thinking about ordination. What exactly is it, and what does it entail. I found an interesting article on-line. Here is part of it:
The modern definition of ordination is “the investiture of clergy” or “the act of granting pastoral authority or sacerdotal power.” Usually, we think of an ordination service as a ceremony in which someone is commissioned or appointed to a position within the church. Often, the ceremony involves the laying on of hands...
However, the biblical definition is a little different. The word ordain in the Bible refers to a setting in place or designation; for example, Joseph was “ordained” as a ruler in Egypt (Acts 7:10); the steward in Jesus’ parable was “ordained” to oversee a household (Matthew 24:45); deacons were “ordained” to serve the Jerusalem church (Acts 6:1-6); and pastors were “ordained” in each city in Crete (Titus 1:5). In none of these cases is the mode of ordination specified, nor is any ceremony detailed; the “ordinations” are simply appointments. GotQuestions.org
So that begs the question: Aren't all believers appointed by God, set in place by Him, and gifted by the Holy Spirit for service? Paul says,
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV
Now this is not to minimize the call to full-time, vocational ministry or downplay it one bit. It is an awesome thing! But if we look at Scripture, we see very clearly that each of us fulfills a unique role in God's purpose and pleasure in the world. Look at Romans 12:4-6; 1 Cor 12:4-11; Ephesians 4:4-16; and my personal favorite:
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies— in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11 ESV
I remember hearing of a church that ordained its people for the specific occupation [a.k.a. "ministry"] to which God called each of them. I don't remember the details, but I can imagine that teachers were ordained to go into their classrooms and bring the light and life of Christ there. And then the same for engineers, hairdressers, plumbers, seamstresses, nurses and doctors, police and firefighters, construction workers, landscapers, assembly line workers, janitors, cafeteria personnel, clerks, truck drivers, __________, __________, _____________ etc.? And how about the hardest and most important calling of all, MOMS & DADS!
Coming to grips with this truth may change the way you view your daily duties. You are "serving the purpose of God in your generation" (Acts 13:36). It may also change the way you pray each day, as it did for me.
Why not join me in this daily prayer of surrender to the indwelling Christ:
Today, O gracious Lord, live through me, love through me, __________ through me! For your honor and glory! Amen.
Before You I kneel, my Master and Maker To offer the work of my hands. For this is the day You’ve given You’re servant; I will rejoice and be glad For the strength I have to live and breathe; For each skill Your grace has given me; For the needs and opportunities That will glorify You great Name.
Before You I kneel and ask for Your goodness To cover the work of my hands. For patience and peace to shape all my labor, Your grace for thorns in my path. Flow within me like a living stream, Wear away the stones of pride and greed ‘till Your ways are dwelling deep in me And a harvest of life is grown.
Before You we kneel, Our Master and Maker; Establish the work of our hands. And order our steps to seek first Your kingdom In every small and great task. May we live the gospel of Your grace, Serve Your purpose in our fleeting days, Then our lives will bring eternal praise And all glory to Your Name.
Before You I Kneel (A Worker's Prayer), Keith & Kristyn Getty
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