Peter’s Epistles #18Eternal Rewards
(also available on-line at www.ICHTHYS.com) by Dr. Robert D. Luginbill
We have been making the case that the objective of the Christian life is to growspiritually and help others do the same. So far in our study we have considered three of the four phases of God's plan which deal with the initial part of this proposition, namely our spiritualgrowth as individual Christians. These first three phases are: 1)
(as a believer, taking positive steps to acquire information about God); 2)
(accepting Biblical truths into theheart by faith, thus making them a part of one's thinking); 3)
(actively applying this truthto life; focusing one's thinking on principles of truth, especially in times of stress and testing;striving to live according to the truth; applying the virtues of faith, hope and love to one's life).These first three steps (which must continue throughout our Christian experience) provide theessential preparation and sustenance necessary for us to embark on the fourth phase of God's plan for our lives:
. Helping other Christians (and helping others to
Christians)is the ultimate fulfillment of our purpose here on earth and the basis for our heavenly reward. Itis also our duty. For once we have begun to mature through the help of others, it is our responsibility to reach out in love and help others do the same.
Most people, upon hearing the word "minister", naturally think of the pastor attheir local church, and while pastors certainly are "ministers" in the biblical sense, the wordactually encompasses all of the help and service which believers give to other members of Christ's Church (and to unbelievers as well). The Greek word
di a k onoj
) literallymeans servant, and when Christ tells his feuding disciples that whoever wants to be the greatestmust become the servant of all (Matt.20:26-27), we would be justified in translating the word"minister". The problem, of course, is that the English word minister has connotations of authority, position, prestige and selectivity which are in no way present in the Greek word"servant". In reality, every member of the body of Christ is a minister (or servant) to the whole,and no single part can exist in isolation from the rest, any more than our eyes, or ears, or arms or legs can function independently from the rest of our body (1Cor.12:12-26). God has so designedChrist's Church that each one of us has a job to do. Every single Christian "member" has animportant, unique ministry (that is, a service) to perform for the benefit of the rest of the "body".Some ministries may seem glamorous, others ordinary; some may attract a great deal of attention, while others seem to go almost unnoticed; some may be blessed with a plethora of rewards here and now, while others appear to be major liabilities to those who perform them.Only one thing is certain: God has assigned us all some service to perform with our Christianlives. The only really important question to be asked is "are we performing it or not?"