The General Call To Ministry

Matthew 5:13-16 “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Having been moved by the sight of the multitude, Jesus ascended up “into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him” (vs.1). There He delivers what was known as the “Sermon on the Mount.” Jesus’ discourse covered a multitude of topics, but one specific topic was the general call to ministry. There are some that view ministry as a service relegated to a select few; “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12). While the text clarifies the particulars of ministry for some, it in no way eliminated the responsibility of all; “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation . . . Now then we are ambassadors for Christ” (II Corinthians 5:18&20). All that have been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ have been given a general call to ministry! In Matthew 5:13-16, there are four thoughts that surface with respect to the general call to ministry.

(I) The Expectation of Ministry – vs.13 “Ye are”

Involvement in ministry is not an option, it is expected; in fact, it is commanded. Jesus didn’t tell the hearers that they could be “the salt” and “the light” if they wanted to, but he asserted the fact with authority, “Ye are.” The words of Jesus reveal a proclaimed expectation and a personal expectation. Each of us has been given the responsibility of being an ambassador for Christ; you need not volunteer, it is expected!

(II) The Equality of Ministry – vs.13&14 “Ye are the salt . . . Ye are the light”

In I Corinthians 12, Paul points out that there is a diversity of positions and talents within the body of Christ and “God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him” (I Corinthians 12:18). In contrast to a physical body, God described His body, the church as diverse members; eyes, ears, feet, and hands. Yet with all of the diversity of members, there is equality of ministry; all of us “are the salt” and “are the light.” God has made a deposit within each of us that is common to all; salt and light!

(III) The Expression of Ministry – vs.13&16 “salt . . . shine”

One of the great things about this ministry is that God doesn’t expect us to be what we are not! God doesn’t ask us to become salt or light; He simply asks us to allow what we are to express itself! You can no more become salt or light than you can save yourself. As a new creature in Christ, He has made you “the salt” and “the light.” Your ministry consists of allowing your spiritual nature to express itself.

(IV) The Effect of Ministry – vs.16 “glorify your Father”

When we simply cooperate with the spiritual nature that resides within us, the results are astounding. We have an effect on society, “they may see your good works.” There is the immediate recognition that God is at work in your life. The virtuous, valuable, and distinguished deeds exhibited through you can’t be attributed to the natural man, but is the effects of God’s presence in your life. We have an effect on the Sovereign, “glorify your Father which is in heaven.” It isn’t you but your Heavenly Father that is rendered all the honor and esteem for what is being done.

There is much to be done and many things to be accomplished, but there is one thing that all of us need do, answer the general call to ministry.