Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but
our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the New
Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the
spirit giveth life. (2 Cor. 3:5–6, KJV)
The Bible says that we are made “able ministers” of the New Testament—not of the
letter, but of the spirit. You might protest, saying, “Paul does not even know
me. How can he say that I am made an able minister? I am no minister at all.”
Oh, how we think according to the world and the culture around us. Is the Bible
meant to confuse us, tease us, or to put us down? Certainly not! This is another
great example of how we misunderstand our spiritual identity. We are able
ministers because the scripture says that we are able ministers. And yet,
something in us screams to avoid identifying with such a statement.
We are afraid that we will not be good ministers because we are taught that
ministers run churches and administrate baptisms, communion, marriages, and
funerals. Our fear keeps us from being the ministers God wants us to be. We need
to grow up in our faith and embrace what the Word reveals to us as truth. We can
proclaim to the Lord, “I am an able minister of the New Testament by the Spirit.
Whatever that means, Lord, it is for me. I embrace it. I receive it. I believe
it. Now, let me love according to that foundational truth in my life. Let it be
the core of my identity in Christ.” So what does an able minister do? An able
minister strives to see needs and meet them.
An able minister first and foremost focuses on serving others. Like David
running to meet Goliath, he sees trouble and runs toward it. An able minister
does not flee, but stands his ground. You may think, “I am just one person. What
can I do?” But when the Philistines engaged the Israelites in the field of
barley in Pas Dammim, all of Israel turned and fled from before them. But one
Israelite warrior stood his ground and routed the entire Philistine army
single-handedly. His arm was temporarily frozen on his sword and he could not
let go of his grip. That is fighting hard, saints! Israel’s army came back, but
only for the spoil (2 Sam. 23:10).
I see this man as Christ in the New Testament. He takes his stand and no one can
rout him—no one and nothing. This is the stand that we need to take. You Are a
Minister. An able minister stays close to the bosom of Christ and perseveres to
obtain the victory over all the schemes of the devil. He trusts in the Lord at
all times. Believe me, this is not easy. It requires a crucified life, a life of
submission to the Father. We must learn to give up our own way and follow hard
after the Master. The fight for victory is a test of perseverance. Job
experienced it and was an overcomer. He trusted the Lord and listened to His
instruction. We know the result. God blessed him, and he ended up with twice as
much as before.
This lines up with what is written in Zechariah 9:12: “Return to your fortress,
O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to
you.” A prisoner does not have many rights, but belongs completely to the keeper
of the prison. Hopefully, you are a prisoner of the Lord. His yoke is easy and
His burden is light (Matt. 11:30). I can assure you, the devil does not function
this way. Obviously, the word “minister” in 2 Corinthians 3 does not mean one’s
position as a leader of a congregation or a member of the clergy. It is merely
the functional role of every believer in Jesus to perform his ministry according
to the Spirit. Every believer is a minister and every believer has a ministry,
according to the Word. Any time we offer to help, pray with someone who is
hurting, contribute to a food drive—even donate blood— we are being able
What’s Your Ministry?
Although there are lots of ways to minister, there is only one ministry in the
New Testament—the ministry of the Spirit. Does that surprise you? It’s true.
There is only one ministry. It’s just that, whether through faith, wisdom,
prophecy, or other gift, it manifests itself in a variety of ways. “There are
diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries,
but the same Lord. There are diversities of activities, but it is the same God
who works all in all” (1 Cor. 12:4-6 NKJV).
In other words, all of these individual ministries have the same spirit helping
them function to the glory of God. In this way, we all have a ministry of the
spirit to others.