Faithfulness to the word and work of God
At our ordination, the bishop said, “We hope that you have long since begun to weigh and meditate on all this, and that you are fully determined, by the grace of God, to give yourselves entirely to his service and to consecrate to him your best mental and spiritual powers, so that by following daily the rule and teaching of our Lord Jesus, with the celestial assistance of the Holy Spirit, you may grow in his likeness and sanctify the life of all those with whom you must agree”, BCP 1999.
Fidelity is easily noticed in our devotion to duty. When we realize that our service is for the Lord, we are dedicated to it.
But often we think we are working for the man, for the Church in Nigeria or for the bishop. This is a great hindrance to faithful service. This is because, when we think we are working for man, we would employ all kinds of gimmicks and schemes to impress man. Moreover, we would only work to be seen by men or do the right thing only when we are watched. We would become hypocrites and pleasant men. But Paul warns us to stop pleasing men.
He said: “Servants, obey your masters according to the flesh in all things; not with visual service like pleasant men; but in singleness of heart, fearing God,” Col. 3:22. Paul further admonished us to meditate on these things and devote ourselves to them fully so that our progress will be evident to all (I Tim. 4:16). But when we are sincere, we would be completely devoted to the work of God and that is when we become fruitful. And our fruits would remain, for Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and commanded you to bear fruit and let your fruit remain”, John 15:16.
Meanwhile, God rewards faithful service. He said to the man who received five talents and used them productively, “Well done, faithful and obedient servant.”
Things a faithful minister should avoid:
• Anglican clergy must shun law: A sense of law is the bane of many in ministry. There are those who think that by their level of service, education or intelligence, they deserve to be rewarded in a particular way. They set themselves a timeline when they would become this or that. They choose where to serve and what positions to serve.
• An Anglican clergy should avoid pride: Sometimes it is pride that makes us think we are entitled to this or that. Pride is self-exaltation above all measure and it comes from the thought that one is better than others. Satan, the father of lies was exceptionally endowed by God. As the Bible records, his heart was lifted up because of his perfection, his beauty and his merchandise. The account goes as follows: “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, until iniquity was found in them…Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty… », Ezek. 28:15, 17. A similar account was that of Uzziah. When Uzziah saw himself exalted and established and his fame spread throughout the city, he became proud and began to exercise the priestly functions which belonged to the priest.
• The Reverend (Dr.) Blessing C. Enyindah is the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger Delta and the Bishop of the Diocese of Ikwerre, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
To be continued