Many times over the years, God has had to stop and remind me that He (and not I) is the Savior, and that He (and not I) is responsible for the salvation of the world. In my zeal to want to help hurting people, I have often gone the way of shouldering too much responsibility for the salvation and general well-being of the people that God has brought across my path. I believe that it is the nature of man in leading to expect too much of him or herself and in following to expect too much of the person in charge/leadership.
When many Christians think of ministry, they picture men and women, dressed up and standing behind a pulpit, giving eloquent and motivational sermons. But the word “ministry” actually means “to serve”. Ephesians 4 speaks of the roll of the so-called 5-fold ministry gifts as that of preparing the saints (that is all Christians; this term has been misunderstood in much of Christianity today) for the work of ministry, i.e. serving people. Jesus said if I be lifted up from the earth I will draw all men unto me. Who will draw all men unto Jesus? He will! As much as I hate to admit it, the thought that any of us is in such a solid place that we could actually be capable of saving another flawed and sinful human being much less that we are in some way responsible for that person’s soul is a bit arrogant.
The Bible has been held as a great literary work, an historical document, a religious text, and as the very Word of God. To Christians, it is all of the above. It is revered, loved, and sought after by those living in parts of the world where the Bible is not so easily accessible. This wonderful old book has been burned, smuggled and hidden. But what is so rarely discussed is the simple reality that the Christian Bible, the Jewish Torah, the Old and New Testaments are a picture of the frailty of humanity. Again and again, great men and women of God make big mistakes (i.e. sin!) and small ones. People that have been used mightily by God fall with such varied results as being completely restored (as in the cases of Peter and David), performing one last great act for God (as in the case of Samson), being restored, yet having the promises of God held at a distance (as in the case of Adam, Eve and Moses), and being utterly destroyed by their sin (as in the case of Judas). If such great men as these could fall, why in the world do we think that our Salvation is so secure as to enable us to be another frail human being’s salvation? Do we dare to forget that the very one that tempts us, the being that is called the enemy of our souls, was once an archangel, ministering before the throne of God? There is just one difference between him and us and that is the Son of God that gave His own life that we may be saved!
It is, to put it lightly, mockery to put ourselves in that place of Savior. If we can save someone, then Jesus’ life and death were in vain. If we can save someone, then why couldn’t Elijah our Moses or even Noah? Hebrews tells us that not even righteous Noah could save his own family! Each one of us is responsible to God for our own soul and the decisions that determine which direction it is going when we are separated from our earthly body. We can pray, we can serve, we can speak the truth in love, but ultimately, we can save no one! That is God’s job, not ours. Our job is simply this: lift Jesus the Christ up from the earth. That’s all. Lift Him up in our daily lives. In our jobs. At school. On holidays and Tuesdays. At home with our children, on the bus when we give up our seat for an elderly gentleman or a pregnant woman, in the grocery store when someone’s card is declined and we pay their bill. Lift Him up. That is everything that He asks of us. The Casting Crowns song “What This World Needs” says it best:
Get out of the way of God’s work in people’s lives. Whether that means people that we are ministering to, our children, our friends or other loved ones, we need to get out of the way. And here’s the hard part – sometimes that means allowing someone the room to slip and fall. If we are constantly rescuing people from the consequences of their sin, they may never overcome it.
So, be Jesus’ hands and feet today! Do your job as a Christian. Spread the gospel, make disciples. But remember that you and I are just small parts in the grand design and God really does have it all under control.