Around the year 759 BC, Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord asking a question: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8). Who will take the Word of God and share it with people who so desperately need it? Who will sacrifice their time and talents and forsake the world to devote themselves to the cause and work of God? Who will put their reputation and life on the line to speak uncompromising messages from heaven? Who is willing to endure rejection and be despised for the sake of the gospel? Who will embrace the wonderful truths of holiness and hope? Isaiah heard the call of the Spirit and responded: “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
“The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few” (Matthew 9:37). God is looking for qualified, faithful people to present themselves a living sacrifice on the altar, dedicating their lives to spread the message of eternity and salvation to the lost world. God has a unique call and place to fill in the body of Christ for every individual. While the need for ministers, teachers, and missionaries is great, God requires that His ministers be spiritually qualified.
God is seeking for laborers who are examples of what it means to live holy and blameless lives in this wicked world. “The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits (2 Timothy 2:6). To be effective for God, the minister must first have a personal experience of salvation. From this foundation he can speak with confidence and assurance. Before going out to work for God, it is vital that one be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). It is the Spirit that gives direction within the work for which God has called. The Spirit gives comfort, purpose, divine authority, and anointing.
The true man of God will minister with an humble, willing mind and not out of the desire for money, prestige, or power (1 Peter 5:2-3). He is to be an example of the flock of God (1 Timothy 4:12) and is required to meet the Biblical qualifications for a bishop (elder/minister) as outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:7-9.
He must be blameless, of good behavior, of good report, holy, just, temperate, faithful, vigilant, sober, patient, and hospitable. If married, he is to be the husband of just one wife and his household will be in order. He is not to be contentious (2 Timothy 2:24), partial in his dealings with people (1 Timothy 5:21), nor given to alcohol.
It is not only important, but required, that a minister be gifted with the ability to teach (2 Timothy 2:24) and be capable of expounding the doctrines and words of life (2 Corinthians 3:5-6). It is difficult for people to listen to the singer who cannot sing, the teacher who cannot teach, and the preacher who cannot preach. People should operate within the gifting that God has given and be careful not to move outside of it.
“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him” (1 Corinthians 12:18). True ministers are called by God, not by appointment of man, nor by personal desire. They are qualified by the Spirit, not by educational credentials.
The voice of the Lord is still calling, the Spirit of God is still seeking for someone to answer the divine commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). There is no higher calling, no more noble pursuit, than to respond to the call of God and labor in the vineyard for souls. —mws