Ministry and Mercy
“Therefore seeing we have this ministry,
as we have received mercy…”
2 Corinthians 4:1
There is an incalculable power wrought within the lives of those who have received mercy. There is no other attribute of God that can so thoroughly and completely break the human heart. Brokenness is the secret to true ministry. Though God shows mercy to all, it is those who receive its influence who are enabled to release His substance into the lives of others.
“For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”
Mercy in its full outworking produces a heart that draws the eye of the Lord. It eviscerates the inherent pride and arrogancy of man, saves the heart from even the presumption of His forgiveness, and instills a heart of gratitude. Too many in our day presume on His forgiveness causing His own to make light of the horror of sin. Those who feel the weight and wretchedness of their transgressions also feel the incomprehensible weight of His pure mercy.
“but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word”
Only the mercy of God can create within us this quality of heart and mind. The salvation God has intended for us is not only concerned with forgiveness but also with creating within us a pure and right heart. Stagnation, apathy, and spiritual slumber are the ills of people who once knew of His mercy but with the passing of time have lost the effervescent reality of its all-pervading light. Presumption replaces mercy’s influence with a hardness of heart and an insensitivity to His presence and leading. Life becomes uneventful. The life-changing wonder of the living Christ ceases to touch others and to be effective in the outflow of daily life.
Mercy is the foundation of ministry. It is the broken vessel that so readily expresses the love of God to others. Those who have been forgiven much, love much. When sin ceases to break our hearts, we develop attitudes of unforgiveness, our hearts become hard, and we are unmoved and untouched by those around us.
“Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and He rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
In this world, it is easy to allow unbelief and the subsequent hardness of heart to overtake us and render us ineffective in our lives. In the passage above we see the Risen Christ rebuking them for their spiritual condition and commanding them to go into the world to preach the Gospel to every creature. Mercy is often the fruit of reproof and rebuke; those who refuse His word refuse the ministration and the benefits of His Mercy.