The Path to True Ministry – Thankfulness

The Path to True Ministry

Part One

THANKFULNESS

I thank Him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because He counted me faithful, appointing me to service”
1 Timothy 1:12

In this verse Paul the Apostle shares his heart with a young Timothy as to the foundation and truth of all genuine ministry. The Epistles to Timothy and Titus are expressions of a fatherly and love-laden soul. There is no hint in these epistles of Paul seeking to use these two precious ones to extend his own influence or to perpetuate his own ministry. Rather he seeks to bring them to the pinnacle of life: a walk of devotion with a singular reliance upon the life and approval of Christ alone. True and pure ministry, as presented in the New Covenant, is the fruit of our walk and obedience unto Jesus Christ. Paul does not refer to the giftings of the Holy Spirit, the variety of personalities, personal or intellectual abilities, or associations with other ministries, organizations or teachings. Paul’s presentation to Timothy concerning ministry is first and foremost infused with thankfulness. “I thank Him”! Why was this? Paul knew of his utter dependence on divine enablement to walk such a life! True recipients of grace are ever thankful and humbled by His great mercy. May God open our eyes to see that without the enablement of the Living Christ there can be no true ministration of the power of His Life. Without it men and women are reduced to powerless words, religious phrases, and vain expressions.

Jesus declared:

“He that speaketh of (or from)
himself seeketh his own glory…”
John 7:18

Thankfulness is the fruit of a life which knows its own unworthiness. Those who minister out of self, walk in a proud or haughty spirit (even though it may be clothed in a false humility), and carry a sense of entitlement. They “expect” to be treated differently. They consider themselves superior and reveal this in how they conduct themselves with others. The chief mark of a life called of God is humility. Humility is the foundation of all true authority. It is the revelation of one walking under God’s authority and it can only be expressed through the medium of obedience. In God only the humble can obey. (Titus 1:16)

Ω

I thank Him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because He counted me faithful, appointing me to service”
1 Timothy 1:12

Let us read carefully and meditate upon the above scripture. By the grace and inspiration of the Holy Spirit allow His thoughts to invade and bring to us His Light to bear upon such words of Divine power.

The Voice of a Martyr – John Bradford

The Voice of a Martyr John Bradford

John Bradford

“We must never settle for harmony at the expense of holiness, nor for peace at the expense of principle”
– John Bradford – Martyr and Preacher of Righteousness
– He was burned at the stake on 1 July 1555

“Mr. Bradford, martyr, speaking of Queen Mary, at whose cruel mercy he then lay, said, “If the queen be pleased to release me, I will thank her; if she will imprison me, I will thank her; if she will burn me, I will thank her, etc. So saith a believing soul: Let God do with me what he will, I will be thankful

The rich heritage we have as an example left to us. May we seek to be free from the bitterness of soul and to live in the fullness of a heart of gratitude to Him who directs our steps and holds us by the undeserved grace of God in Christ Jesus. John Bradford’s voice still speaks and the life of Christ within him continues to minister unto us in this day.

He is accredited with the phrase “There but for the grace of God go I”.

There is a 19th-century tradition tracing to Bradford the idiomatic “There but for the grace of God go I” as an expression of humility and reliance on God’s grace rather than his own morality. The editor of The Writings of John Bradford, Aubrey Townsend, notes this in his preface