And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. -1 Corinthians 12:28 KJV.
The ministry gifts such as apostles, prophets, evangelist, teachers, and pastors receive much acclaim and recognition, as it should be. The Body of Christ needs every office set in the Church by God. However, there is a ministry not mentioned as much also set in the Body by our Lord. That is the ministry of helps. There is an important place for the minister of helps.
How would the church manage without the hands that help with the details? When something practical needs to be done, a person anointed to help steps in and sees to it that the job is completed. God is practical and good and so are they that help.2 The behind-the-scene jobs in the church often go unrecognized. Yet the humble tasks are the ones we benefit from the most.
There are faithful people who maintain the grounds, clean our church, make repairs, do plumbing, assist with the administration, type bulletins, usher, greet, watch babies, make sure the sound and electronics work smoothly, make snacks and food for the church, do dishes or simply help with the details. Praise God for those serving in the ministry of helps.
Through Scripture, we know God placed ministries in the church, not man. 9 A person should not enter the ministry just because someone told them they were suited for it. Let God call you and place you where He wills.10 I encounter many who say, “I’m called to preach.” Yet they do not start with the small God puts before them to qualify them for their calling. When you are answering your call to serve, consider God may want you to spend a season in the ministry of helps before He matures you to your ministry office.
Remember Stephen and Phillip, who started in the ministry of helps but later operated as evangelists? They were faithful to help where God assigned them first.11 Also, I must mention that there were five others assigned to help. There are no other references of them in the Bible. I believe they continued faithfully serving in the ministry of helps.
If you are uncertain of your call to the ministry of helps, ask God to confirm your calling. Apostle Peter admonishes us to be diligent with proving that we really are called and chosen by the Lord.12 Give all diligence to exercising and developing His virtues the fruit of the Spirit (listed below), so that you may be effective and productive in your gifts and calling:
oFaith. Exercise your faith at every opportunity. Faith pleases God. Everyone receives a measure of faith to function within whatever gift God has graced him. He whose gift is practical service, let him give himself to serving according to the proportion of his faith.13
oVirtue. After exercising your faith, develop virtue, which is spiritual excellence. Daniel, in serving God and exercising his faith, developed an excellent spirit. So much so that he and his fellow Jewish slaves were found ten times better in all respects than the others assigned to the Kings’ service.14
oKnowledge. In developing an excellent spirit, add knowledge. Get to know your Heavenly Father. As we know Him better, we are sure to discover our destiny and what He wants us to do step by step. Paul wrote to the saints in Ephesus, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.” 15
oSelf-control. In exercising knowledge, develop self-control. We live in a world of steadily decreasing self-control. The number of road rage incidents is evidence to that. More than half of U.S. Adults are over-weight.16 Many suffer from lack of control in eating habits. Drug abuse and overdose have increased beyond what our ancestors would recognize. In gaining self-control, more and more we learn to put aside our own desires so that we may fulfill God’s desires.
oPatience. When allowing the Holy Spirit to help you gain more self-control, add patience. I overheard a teacher’s advice to his student, “Never pray for patience, because you will get lots of problems with opportunity to learn patience.” The student’s reply was, “I don’t believe that God would send me problems to teach me anything.” Look in on what the Apostle Paul writes the Roman Christians, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us–they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it, until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.” 17 What do you think of the teacher’s advice?
oGodliness. As you develop patience, put aside your own desires in an increasing measure, so that God may have His way with you in godliness. The Apostle Peter wrote the Jewish Christians and now us, “Obey God, because you are His children; don’t slip back into your old ways–doing evil because you knew no better. However, be holy now in everything you do, just as the Lord is holy, who invited you to be His child. He Himself said, ‘You must be holy, for I am holy.'” 18
oBrotherly affection. When practicing godliness, develop brotherly affection. Love one another with brotherly affection–as members of one family–giving precedence and showing honor to one another.19 Love the brotherhood of believers.20 Pray for God’s people with strong purpose. As you pray for the Body of Christ, interceding on their behalf, your concern will become Christ’s compassion. Your hands and feet will become Christ’s members, reaching out to the saints. Your affection will become Christ’s love flowing through you for His Church.21
oLove. When praying for the church in brotherly affection, finally add love. Let love guide your speech and actions. In my B.C. before Christ days, I would often hurt others by just bluntly telling them the truth. If anyone would say anything to me about it, I would respond with, “Well, it was the truth!” After meeting Christ, I continued with this speaking the truth. But each time I did, I would feel so miserable, I was compelled to apologize. Later, after prayer, the Holy Spirit instructed me I could speak the truth, but in love. I discovered that truth in love is often silent. Let love guide your actions. The Apostle John wrote to his friends in the faith, “Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions.” 22 Let love guide your life. Grow to love more and more.
The more we add and develop these qualities in our life, the more useful and fruitful we will be to our Master, Lord Jesus. We will become the special vessels prepared and ready for the Master’s use. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he encourages us to be like the expensive dishes in God’s house, “If you stay away from sin, you will be like one of these dishes made of purest gold–the very best in the house–so that Christ Himself can use you for His highest purposes.” 23