Natural Resources

How else do you fill up your ministry and make it full? Well, "this is just horse sense" as my father used to say: Look for the natural outreaches of your basic ministry.

Scripture: Colossians 4:17


Alright, thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Are you doing Alright? Oh, I trust so. I’ve just been praying for you. Is it possible to pray for thousands of people whom you’ve never met? Of course it is. Paul said in some of his letters that he was praying for people who lived here and there and for “those who’ve not seen my face in the flesh”, he says. Which means there’s a lot of you that I know are there but I’ve never met you, but I pray for you. That’s what Paul said, and Bob Cook wants to say the same thing to you, beloved. Maybe we’ve never met but we belong to each other in the love of Christ and in the fellowship of God’s inerrant inspired word, the Bible. And so we’re together today and I’m glad for that. I’ve just been praying that God might bring something special to your heart out of His Word.

What I want to do today, if I can, is to wind up our thought about Colossians 4:17, the concept of filling your ministry full. First of all, let’s realize that every child of God, you, that is, and everyone else who knows the Lord, has a ministry of his or her own. Paul says in Ephesians, that the function of the teaching pastor is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. You have a ministry to perform to people all around you, beloved. You don’t have to have an R-E-V period, in front of your name to have a ministry to people, Alright?

So you’ve been given some special opportunities from our Lord and this is what Paul is saying, “Fill that area full of the blessing of God.” The English word “fulfill” means fill it full to overflowing, just fill it full to overflowing. Bring it to completion. Bring it to maturity. Bring it to a point of having achieved its proper ends. That’s all wrapped up in that word “fulfill.” And for our purposes, we can transpose the syllables and say, “Fill it full,” not just fulfill but “Fill it full,” Alright? That’s what we want to talk about today.

How do I go about filling my ministry full? Number one, pay attention to the basics: daily prayer; daily feeding on the Word of God. You say, “Oh, come on, now, brother. We know all about that.” Yes, I realize that you know about it but I don’t feel so sure that you always practice what you know.

If you’re anything like the rest of us, you get so busy sometimes, that you’d think, “Oh, I’ll put off my Bible study until later on. I’m too busy.” Or you get upset because of things that are happening and you think, “Oh, I don’t feel like spending time now with the Word and all of that and having my devotions. I’ll do that later.” You’re burdened, you’re harried, you’re pressed by the details, the inevitable details of living every busy day and sometimes you forget or sometimes not forgetting, you just deliberately put off, that very important meeting with your Lord which makes you a different person all day long.

Basics. Somebody was announcing a game recently. It was a baseball game and there was a brilliant play made at first base, as I recall. Now, I’m not an expert on baseball. What I don’t know about baseball would fill a big book, I’m sure, but I know that if the batter hits the ball out behind first base, the first baseman gets out there and catches it and in the meantime, the pitcher, usually the pitcher, runs over to cover first. Well, in this case, the ball was far enough hit out so that the first baseman had to run back briskly to get it. And the pitcher really had to exert himself to get over there to first base and he caught the ball, the first baseman didn’t throw too accurately, he caught the ball with his one hand out way, outstretched and at the same time, he put his foot on first base and it was just half a step ahead of the batter who was then of course called out. Well, the announcer said, “That was a basic play. It’s the basics that win games, fellows, it’s the basics that win games.”

Well, I’ve heard that oftentimes from our own coach. I would be sitting behind the bench at a game and when time out came, the players would huddle around the coach and oftentimes you’d hear him say, “Fellows, you don’t have to be outstanding. Just play basic basketball, just basic basketball.” And he would outline some of the plays that they knew so well but that they had been forgetting in the interest of starring and all of that. Just basic basketball; just basic baseball; just basic football. What are you talking about, Brother Cook? Basics win games.

And beloved, you and I in the much more serious and important game of life better remember the basics. What are they? Every day in the Word; every day talk to your heavenly Father and let Him talk to you; every day memorize some portion of scripture and hide it away in the computer of your mind and heart; every day speak to someone about the Lord Jesus Christ. You don’t have to preach sermons to everybody. Just shine and smile and share your faith with others. Every day, specialize in obeying your Lord as the Holy Spirit of God who indwells the believer speaks to your heart. These are the basics. The basics.

You want to fill your ministry full? Start there. Because you see ministering has to come from what we call a resource person. If you have to dig up the chips and the shavings and the grounds in the bottom of the coffee pot, you’re not going to have too much that is inspiring, right? You remember the time you came home late for dinner, the family had already eaten and all that was left — they had stew that night, do you remember? And all that was left was the scrapings in the bottom of the pan and it had gotten cold. Of course it was heated up but it still wasn’t very good, was it?

You got what had stuck to the bottom of the pan and you scraped it up and ate it rather mournfully because it really wasn’t all the wonderful. Well, my friend, if you give to others just the scrapings — you follow what I’m saying? If there isn’t any spillover, if there isn’t any shine out, if there isn’t any enthusiastic sharing of your Lord, well, you’re not ministering very much. You’re as needy as the next person.

To minister to people, you have to be a resource person yourself. That’s what our Lord Jesus had in mind, I’m sure. When He said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. Out of his innermost being as the scripture hath said shall flow rivers of living water.” And that’s our expression “Artesian well,” never stops flowing, always a supply of fresh sparkling water from an Artesian well. Eh?

Are you that kind of person? Well, beloved, you can be because the Holy Spirit of God has as His specific function to manifest Christ to you and through you to bring to your remembrance all things that He had said to you and to speak through you. “It’s not ye that speak,” Jesus said, “but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.” You can be a resource person if you’ll pay attention to the basics. Alright?

Now, how else do you fill up your ministry and make it full? Well, this is just horse sense as my father used to say. Look for the natural outreaches of your basic ministry. How may I use best, to the fullest advantage, the gifts that God has given me and the abilities which I do have? Look for the natural outreaches of your basic ministry.

Dear lady said to me one night after a church service, “I can’t preach and I’m not a very good Sunday School teacher but tonight I gave God the one gift I know I do have.” “Well,” I said, “what’s that?” She said, “I can put on a very good dinner. I’m a good hostess.” And she said, “I gave Him that gift and I’m going to invite some of my unsaved neighbors and friends in and I’m gonna give them a good meal and then I’m gonna share my Lord with them.” Alright, that’s the natural outreach of the gift she did have, isn’t it?

Bill Pearce, as you know, is one of the world’s great trombonists. He can stand alongside of the finest, secular musicians although he is a Christian musician and his music is geared to expressing his faith and love for the Lord Jesus Christ. But he can stand alongside the finest secular musicians and play and sometimes outplay them. He was honored some time ago at a conclave of trombonists where symphony players and teachers and artists, concert artists, who specialize in playing the trombone were there. And he was honored as being one of the great ones.

But you know, he told me one time as we were talking, he said, “What I like about this, being able to play the trombone with some degree of proficiency, is that it gives me opportunity to talk to other people who are in music, especially those who play the trombone but who don’t know the Lord Jesus, because they know that I know what I’m talking about and they respect whatever ability I may have.” And he says, “It gives me entrée to talk with them.” Well, of course that’s exactly it. The natural outreach of the gifts God has given you, Alright?

Let’s say you’re a school teacher and every now and again you have to go to one of these trade conferences where teachers get together. Well, you have a natural outreach to school teachers that somebody else wouldn’t have. You know that. You can talk as we say “talk shop” and they know that you’ve been there when you talk about classroom problems and their solutions. Incidentally, there’s always a solution to every classroom problem, isn’t there? If you find it, you are going to be a successful teacher.

You can talk about solutions to classroom problems and talk about all these other things that are common to the profession of teaching. Then you can share with them your knowledge of and your enthusiasm for your Lord Jesus Christ. That’s a natural outreach of the gift that God has given you. Do you follow me there?

Well, then, now, I don’t know what your gift may be. Each one of us has some special gifts from the Lord, that’s for sure. But whatever it is wouldn’t you just pray and think and plan about the natural outreach of the gifts God has given you? That’s part of what it means to fill your ministry full, for our blessed Lord and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We’ll finish this up hopefully, the next time we get together.

Dear Father, today, make us people who really minister, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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