“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19
When a person reads the above scripture which our Lord quoted at the start of His ministry, one must first stop reading after verse eighteen to allow the total impact of that one verse to capture the real meaning of ministry. It emphasizes that the motivation comes from God through the Spirit and is not the fulfillment of a personal goal or ambition. The influence of the Holy Spirit is so strong that a person cannot run or hide from it, but must confront it and accept it as his/hers destiny. It is not a personal career choice, but the acceptance of a calling from God that is demonstrated by one’s fruit and the results produced by action.
It is an assurance that as long as the person follows the lead of the Holy Spirit in one’s ministry, one is doing God’s work and will therefore prosper (in God’s Way) and fulfill God’s intentions. When one is anointed by our Lord, his ministry and life style will reflect that of his boss. He will be an ambassador of Christ knowing that he has been set apart to fulfill an assignment in the Kingdom of God for His glory.
If one was to prepare a job description based on this scripture, we first need to answer several questions. They include: Who are you primarily accountable to for your ministry? What is the good news? What is real freedom? What is true recovery? Who are the poor, the prisoner, the blind, and the oppressed? How do you best preach, proclaim, recover, and release? What is the Lord’s favor? When do you know your assignment is completed?
The first part identifies who you work for and who is in charge of your ministry. It identifies whose lead you must follow and who you are answerable to. It states where your authority comes from and who your partners in ministry likewise submit to.
The first part also identifies the source of the good news. It is not my good news, not my community’s good news, not my country’s good news, and not really even my church’s good news. It is the good news of Jesus Christ which the Spirit reveals to those called and given ears to hear and a mind to understand. It is a message that can be verbally preached, visually preached, artistically preached, musically preached, orally preached, scripturally preached, historically preached, scientifically preached, and even genealogically preached.
The scripture likewise identifies who our “customer” is. They are “the poor”, “the prisoner”, “the blind”, and “the oppressed. All are conditions that may occur physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The customer base or market literally encompasses all mankind. Every person who has ever lived falls into some category which places him under at least one of these conditions.
It focuses on the outcome and end result that is achieved through ministry. The “poor” have good news preached to them; prisoners have freedom to look forward to; the blind are able to see; the oppressed are set free; and the year of the Lord’s favor is proclaimed. The best way to communicate your message to your audience is dependent on the resources at your disposal and your strengths. The key is to identify the needs of your audience and communicate the message that applies to them.
How would you summarize the meaning of ministry as described in Luke 4:18-19? Also, if you had to make a job description from this scripture, what would you include?