During this season of Advent, we will be taking a break from our study in the Book of Mark and will instead offer daily devotionals for you to read aloud with your family, pertaining to this Advent season. We will resume our study of Mark in a few weeks.
Ministers of Joy
“we . . . are helpers of your joy: . . .” 2 Corinthians 1:24
We are ministers of joy. It can be a truly strenuous task. Often the temptation in ministry is to say only the things people want to hear. To say what is pleasant, convenient or merely what we would like to believe, or would like others to think we believe. We can be seduced into echoing the popular message of culture. As minsters of joy, the only way to break the invisible inclination of saying what others want to hear must always be, “As surely as God lives, what God says, I’ll say.” 1 Kings 22:14.
So we are not left to figure out how to minster joy, Paul gives sharp insight like sparks flying from an anvil. He tells us what it means to be a helper of joy. It begins with respect for the freedom of others, even while we are trying to convince them.
We are never to lord it over others, but work with them for their joy. A minister of joy never uses their power to force their will or doctrine on another. To impose truth, instead of awakening, is an act of intimidation. Our only influence for the guidance and growth of others is grace supplied by the spirit of God.
The sole power which Jesus sought and used in His ministry was the power of truth and love. In His desert temptation, Jesus deliberately rejected all the external means commonly used to manipulate others – the appeal to our appetite for the love of sensation and force.
A minister of joy cooperates with people in the search to both expose and explain truth. We seek to draw others in to think with us. Jesus used this method. In response to a question, He answered with a question, or He would tell a story which hearers could be lead to a conclusion. He laid out principles and asked His listeners to think.
As ministers of joy in cooperation with Jesus, working toward a common goal of discipleship, we help others find the joy of Christian living.
Are you helping others find joy? Why or why not?