Balaam's donkey might be used to highlight the distinction between gift and ministry. The Gentile prophet's donkey started speaking in human language one day (Num. 22:28-30). Is that what you'd call ministry? Definitely not! That was a thoughtful gesture. A ministry is an expression of who we are, whereas a gift is only a show. When you see a man speaking, walking, and gesturing, you don't automatically assume he's a horse or another animal. Because he is a guy, everything he does is an expression of that man; his ministry is that.
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Take, for example, monkeys. Their trainers can sometimes persuade them to act like men, but this is totally a gift or performance. There is a lot of acting in today's Christianity. Performance is a big part of it. “He is indeed what he ministers!” we would exclaim if the apostle Paul came to visit us for a month. He is what he ministers because what he has seen has been hammered into his being. The message is the individual. Today, we have people who are eloquent and intelligent, who have degrees after their names, who dress a certain manner, stand on a stage, and deliver a sermon in a specific tone. That is only a show; it is not the ministry. Watchman Nee, like the apostle Paul, was a one-of-a-kind individual.
For years, I worked with Watchman Nee. He mentioned the cross, and I saw the cross in him. He was a cross-bearing individual. The hardships he was subjected to from all sides were all part of the cross's work, and the revelation he received about the cross was wrought into him. What he did in the past was more than just teaching or exercising a talent. From the depths of my soul, I can say that what he did was a ministry; what he did was who he was.
Gifts aren't as important as ministry for the growth of churches. Watchman Nee's gift was more than a gift; it was a mission. He had seen something of God, and it had left an indelible impression on him. People were given life just by being in his presence. In a meeting, his presence always meant a lot. The conference was rich if he was present; it was not so rich if he was not present. His presence, even if it was hardly audible, made a difference. He actually had a ministry. It wasn't his knowledge, doctrine, or gift that made a difference in the meeting; it was something that God had worked into his being. When worried saints brought their troubles into his presence, he didn't have to say anything because their problems were solved. They got the light they needed in his presence. Because God's light had been fashioned into his being, his presence became their illumination. In his brightness, they saw light. Today's church desperately needs such a ministry!
Throughout my time with Watchman Nee, I noticed how he consistently dismissed gifts. He emphasized the need of ministry over and over.
The apostle Paul wrote two letters to the Corinthians in the Bible, which are known as Epistles. The first Epistle's principal issue is “gifts,” which is referenced negatively. The major term in the second Epistle is “ministry,” which is mentioned in a favorable light. Paul downplayed the talents in the first Epistle and extolled the ministry in the second. The term “gift” is hard to come by in the second Epistle, while it appears frequently in the first.
(Chapter 22 of Witness Lee's Watchman NeeA Seer of Divine Revelation in the Present Age)
What is the spiritual gift of ministry?
A spiritual gift or charism (plural: charisms or charismata; in Greek singular: charisma, plural: charismata) is an idea in which the Holy Spirit bestows remarkable power. Followers think that these are supernatural graces that individual Christians require (and that were required in the days of the Apostles) in order to fulfill the Church's mission. In the strictest sense, it is a theological word for the special graces bestowed on individual Christians for the benefit of others, as opposed to personal sanctification graces such as the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
The word of knowledge, enhanced faith, healing gifts, miraculous gifts, prophecy, spirit discernment, various kinds of tongues, and tongue interpretation are examples of these skills, which are often referred to as “charismatic gifts.” The gifts of apostles, prophets, teachers, aids (associated with service to the destitute and sick), and governments (or leadership abilities) are also associated with various Church ministries. Individuals are given these gifts by the Holy Spirit, but their mission is to build up the entire Church. They're mentioned in the New Testament, namely in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4. Spiritual gifts are also mentioned in 1 Peter 4.
The gifts are tied to both “natural” and “miraculous” abilities, both of which are empowered by the Holy Spirit. The two primary theological viewpoints on their nature are that they have long since ceased or that they continue (Cessationism versus Continuationism).
What is the relationship between mission and ministry?
The terms “mission” and “ministry” are interchangeable. The Church's mission of proclaiming the Gospel and building up the Kingdom demands the participation in a variety of ministries within the Christian community.
What is the important of spiritual gifts?
Greater productivity in ministry and greater encouragement and support within the church of Christ are the results of each believer recognizing and applying his or her spiritual gift.
What is the spiritual gift of knowledge?
Throughout church history, this gift has been associated with the ability to understand scripture truth and has been seen as a teaching gift. The Catholic Encyclopedia describes it as “the grace of effectively propounding the Faith, of bringing the hidden truths and moral precepts of Christianity home to the minds and hearts of the listener with Divine persuasiveness.”
The ability of one person to know what God is doing or intending to do in the life of another is often regarded as knowledge among Pentecostal and certain Charismatic Christians. Knowing the secrets of another person's heart is another definition. God is said to encourage the believer's trust in order for the believer to accept the healing or comfort that God provides through this revelation. In a public gathering, for example, a person claiming to have the gift of understanding might describe a medical problem (such as syphilis or trench foot) and invite everyone suffering from the problem to identify themselves and receive an effective prayer for recovery. The word of knowledge, according to this definition, is a type of revelation similar to prophecy or a type of discernment.
How do we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit?
Then Peter addressed them, saying, “You will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit if you repent and are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins. Because the promise is to you and your offspring, as well as to everyone who are far away, as many as the Lord our God calls.” Acts 2:38-39 is a passage from the book of Acts.
What is the procedure for receiving the Holy Spirit's gift? How can one “be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual melodies, singing and making music in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks continually for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:18-20)?
“Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” Peter says in his Pentecost sermon.
It takes no significant spiritual effort on our side to be filled and directed by the Spirit of God. Before the Holy Spirit enters us, we do not need to pray a specific prayer or live a holy and sinless life.
God kindly beckons us sinners to turn from our sins to Christ Jesus for forgiveness and everlasting life through the good news of Christ's innocent sufferings and death for the sins of the world (cf. 2 Thess. 2:13-14). The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sinfulness and complete failure to live up to the demands of God's perfect Law (cf. John 16:7-11; Rom. 3:9-20,23); however, the Holy Spirit consoles us by assuring us that our sins have been atoned for in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose again, and that we are forgiven and counted righteous by God through faith in Jesus' name (cf. Rom. 3:24-26; Psalm 32:1ff.; 51:1ff.).
We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit when we believe this and trust in Christ as our Savior, being baptized in His name and according to His instructions for the remission of our sins (Matthew 28:19). He enters our hearts, educates us about Jesus through God's Word, and strengthens and keeps us in the true and saving faith (cf. John 14:16-18, 23-28; 16:13-15).
And He who has “started a good work” in us will continue to reside in us and “finish it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, our risen and ascended Savior, we thank You for bestowing the gift of the Holy Spirit upon us for leading us to repent of our sins, be baptized in Your name, and for dwelling in us by Your Spirit so that we may be kept and preserved in the true and saving faith unto eternal life. We pray for the sake of Your agonizing sufferings and death in our place, as well as Your triumphant resurrection. Amen.
What is the different between ministry and mission?
The difference between missions and ministry as nouns is that missions is a government department, which is generally headed by a minister (or comparable rank, such as secretary of state), who holds it as a portfolio, particularly in a constitutional monarchy, but also as a polity.