“My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him and that you should minister to Him…” (2 Chronicles 29:11, NKJV)
Before Jesus commanded Peter to feed His sheep, He had asked the penetrating question: “Do you love me?” (John 21:15-19, NKJV). Notice that the Lord did not ask Peter, “Do you love sheep?” The question He asked was: “Do you love Me?” Jesus recognized that the root issue of Peter’s previous denial was misdirected love. Peter loved people more than He loved the Lord, and he allowed their opinions to determine his proclamation. If he continued to love sheep more than the Shepherd, Peter was bound to neglect his higher calling.
In order to fulfill the will of the Lord in bringing the gospel to His people, Peter first had to fulfill the highest calling of loving and ministering to the Lord. Were his mind to remain fixed upon ministering to people only, his ministry would remain in the natural realm—and it would end in failure. If Peter determined in his heart, however, to minister everything unto the Lord, all other ministry would come as a natural outpouring of his love for God.
So must our ministry be first unto the Lord. Consider the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25). The most striking characteristic of the sheep is that they were so caught up in loving the Lord that they were not even aware of how their lives had been a blessing to others. These sheep were not like those who said, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” (Matthew 7:21-23, NKJV). The Lord said He never knew such people, because they were so focused on what they were doing that they failed to fulfill the ultimate calling of ministering unto the Lord.
Mary and Martha are another example of what it means to minister unto the Lord as a priority. Mary had chosen to enjoy the presence of the Lord, while Martha was too busy serving to enjoy His presence. It is not that service is unnecessary, but it will have only temporary value if we are not doing it as a ministry unto the Lord.
We are called to be a royal priesthood. In the Old Testament, priests were set apart to minister to the Lord. Now, we have inherited this calling through the blood of Jesus…and there is no higher calling. Let us not neglect our calling to bless His heart. The first and greatest command is to love God with all our heart, soul and strength, and the second is to love others as ourselves. We cannot fulfill one without fulfilling the other, but we definitely cannot fulfill the second if we have not excelled in the first. So let us live to fulfill the high calling to know and to love the Lord, and as we do—our ministry to others will supernaturally flourish.