Smart Ministry

I just want to remind you that the road to success in this matter of our ministry is not to work harder, but smarter. What does that mean? A better use of time and energy.

Scripture: Colossians 4:17, 2 Timothy 2:2


Alright, thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend Dr. Cook and I’m glad to be back with you. I feel great today. So happy in the Lord and so glad to be with you. I look forward to these times when usually in the early morning, I sit down before the microphones and share with you from the Word of God and from my own heart, and the experience God has given me through the years. It’s great to be together, isn’t it? I look forward to these times with you, my dear, dear friends.

Now, we’re winding up our comment on Colossians 4:17, “Say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it,” and that means fill it full. He says, “Take heed to the ministry.” If you’re not meeting somebody’s need, you’re not ministering. Watch it. You’ve received it from the Lord. That means you reached out and took it by faith. He loaned it to you. It’s not yours in a proprietary sense. You can lose your usefulness by disobeying your Lord. So he says watch it, guard it carefully. Guard your ministry even more than you guard your own personal circumstances or even your health.

Learn to ask the question, “How will this affect my usefulness for my Lord?” Then he said fill it full, fill it full of meaning. Here are some of the things that we said in that connection. A couple of days ago, we talked about getting in the will of God. Develop the spillover of divine joy and take your God-given gifts and develop them. Use or lose, my father used to say to me. Use your gifts so that you don’t lose them, but instead you multiply their usefulness.

The last time we got together, we talked about paying attention to the basics. You want to fill your ministry full of blessing? Remember the basics. Basics win games and basics make you a winner in the game of life as well.

What are those basics? Every day in the Word; every day in prayer; every day obey what the Holy Spirit of God speaks to your heart; every day share with someone else your love for Jesus Christ — the basics.

And then look for the natural outreaches of your ministry. God has gifted you in certain ways that are different from other people. Perhaps you can sing beautifully. Others can’t sing that way. Perhaps you can manage. Perhaps you can write. Perhaps you’re a good business person and you can see a dollar coming as well as going.

Someone said ruefully to me years ago, “They say money talks but the only thing it ever says to me is goodbye, pal. I won’t ever see you again.” Maybe so, but maybe God has given you the management ability and the money-making ability. Well, use it for the glory of God. That’s part of your ministry.

Is there a ministry of management? Oh, yes there is. Indeed, there is. What is your gift? I told you about the lady whose gift was hospitality and she suddenly realized that that was the thing God was going to use in her life to bring other people to the Lord.

Look for the natural outreaches of your basic ministry.

What else? Well, today, I just want to remind you that the road to success in this matter of our ministry is not to work harder but smarter. Don’t work harder but smarter. What does that mean? Better use of time and energy. In corporate business, we have what we call time studies. Have you ever been through one of them? They’re frustrating to the worker but highly profitable to the business as a whole.

Someone remarked to me that through a time study that was used in one particular company, they found out that they were using X number of drops of sealant sodder, I guess to seal a tin can. And so as they found out what it was then, taking to seal one tin can, they diminished that process by one single, solitary drop of sodder. Well, you multiply that by thousands and millions of units and you can see the savings that was achieved. Time studies, I say they’re frustrating to the worker to have somebody standing over you with a stopwatch. You get so you want to scream at him, don’t you?

But at the same time, the rule is if you want to succeed, don’t specialize in more effort necessarily, but use — better use of your time and your energy.

I oftentimes do an inventory of my own use of my time. Everybody has as many hours in the day as anyone else have. I’ve got a little worn out book, I think it’s out of print now, called “How to Live on 24 Hours a Day”. And I read that every now and again. It reminds me that there are ever so many hours that we just waste. We’re not doing anything productive at all. We’re not even sleeping or resting. We just waste them. And so, I do an inventory every now and again of my own schedule to find out what I’m doing.

And I recommend the process to you. You can get a little form at any office supply store that will breakdown a day into 15 minute segments or you can draw your own, if you want to do that. Divide up any given day into 15 minute segments and then you just write down what you did at that particular time. Well, at first you’ll have great gaps in the schedule where you don’t know what you did. Whatever it was you don’t remember, and so there was nothing productive written down there or if you’re real faithful and that you will have written down some things that as you look at them now, you can see that they really weren’t worth spending all that time on. So study to see what your use of time and energy really is.

As a Christian now, we’re talking about believers, as a Christian, he says, redeeming the time. “See then that you walk circumspectly redeeming the time because the days are evil.” And the word “redeeming” is from a Greek verb agorazo which means “buy it up in the market.” Buy up the opportunity. There’s a bargain sale on and you rush in and you grab the article because it’s a bargain. That’s the verb that he’s using there. The time God gives you to live is like a bargain sale. Buy it up.

Well, do a little analysis of your own life and see whether or not you can accomplish a great deal more, perhaps by doing less even. I asked a brother some few years ago. I said, “Hey, you’ve cut back your schedule tremendously. You’re not doing as much as you used to out in the road and all that. What’s the matter? Are you sick?” “No,” he said, “I’m not.” He said, “I’m feeling better than ever but,” he said, “I found out I could do more by doing less.” Aah, that’s the secret, isn’t it? Not work harder but work smarter. Now, how do you start all of that?

Well, I said a moment ago, do an inventory of your use of time right now and it will show you immediately areas where you can become more fruitful and as a result, more successful by using your time better for your Blessed Lord.
But pray about your use of time. Do you ever pray about the day’s schedule? I just did that before I started this broadcast. And today, I asked God to guide me the whole day because there’s a thousand and one things nibbling away at the edge of your mind if you’re anything like me, crying out for attention, and you need to be able to sort them out and do the things that really need to be done. Isn’t it true?

Well, if you want to fill your ministry full, that’s what we’re talking about, Colossians 4:17, “Fill your ministry full.” If you want to fill it full of blessing, you better pray about things. Sort out your activities, analyze them, do a little inventory of how you really are spending your time and then pray that God will give you His wisdom and prioritizing your time and your efforts so that you’re doing the things that really count for eternity.

What we want is to be able to look back on any given day. When we get over yonder into eternity to be able to look back and say, “That was a day that counted for the Lord.”

Isn’t that true? Isn’t that what you’d like to do? Well, then, seek His guidance by the Holy Spirit in doing so. Not work harder but work smarter. Fill your ministry full of blessing.

Then what else? Well, here’s a concept that is Biblical and also to add just a personal word, something that I know works beautifully. 2 Timothy 2:2 “The things which thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” It’s from Paul to Timothy to faithful men to many others.

It’s a process of discipling and of multiplication. Daws Trotman who founded the organization known as The Navigators, told in my hearing the story of his own beginnings in Christian Ministry. He was an indefatigable worker as a young Christian. He would work all day at a secular job and then get on his Harley Davidson and drive maybe 100 miles to a meeting and preach and then come back and repeat the process the next day. An inveterate social worker, a soul winner, he was always talking to people at the Lord.

And then he said he realized that although he’s working hard at it, there wasn’t an awful lot that lasted that was being done. And he came upon this verse that I’ve just quoted to you, “The things which thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” And he realized that the process was from Paul to Timothy as his own personal disciple; from Timothy to faithful men, a few, and from those few faithful men to many others each one of them discipling and teaching another person.

And so he hit upon that idea of spending time with one person teaching him how to spend time with somebody else. And he found one person like that who was currently on a battleship in San Diego Harbor. The ship was in for some kind of repairs. And he spent some time with this young sailor and taught him the things of the Word of God and then the ship went out to sea. Some months later coming back into the same harbor, telephone rang and it was this young man saying to Mr. Trotman, “I want you to come down and see the folks that we’ve gotten together to meet you.”

And so he came back and was allowed to board ship and there was a whole group of men and the original young man was there leading the group and he said, “I want you to see your family.” He said, “I won one person and discipled him and he won somebody else and so this is all your family, Mr. Trotman.” And one young fellow came up to him and he said, “You know, I am your great, great, great, great, great, great grandson,” because he had traced his experience with Christ back through several others who had been won and had been discipled and they in turn had won someone else and so on.

That’s a wonderful process. Learn to multiply your usefulness through other human beings. You want to fill your ministry full? Find your own Timothy and spend time with him or her in teaching the Word of God and the way to live a victorious and fruitful Christian life and let that person then, spend time with somebody else in the same fashion so that the results multiply in geometric fashion. And God is glorified. Fill your ministry full, will you? And let God get all the glory.

Father God, in Jesus’ name, make us ministry people today, overflowing with the love of God, 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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