"I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me..." (Mtthew 25:40)
This is one of the clearest pictures of ministry in the bible. I think sometimes we think of ministry as just telling people about Jesus but what about meeting their needs? What about Jesus’ real mission? I don’t think Jesus came to the world just so that we could know about Him, His ministry was much larger. I think Marry gives us a great picture of Jesus ministry in her prophetic poem/song from Luke 1:
“Oh, how I praise the Lord.
How I rejoice in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and now generation after generation
will call me blessed.
For he, the Mighty One, is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
His mercy goes on from generation to generation,
to all who fear him.
His mighty arm does tremendous things!
How he scatters the proud and haughty ones!
He has taken princes from their thrones
and exalted the lowly.
He has satisfied the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
And how he has helped his servant Israel!
He has not forgotten his promise to be merciful.
For he promised our ancestors—Abraham and his children—
to be merciful to them forever.” –Luke 1.46-55
Jesus ministry was exalting the lowly, satisfying the hungry, helping the helpless. Ministry includes teaching and talking about the important things (including the Bible). But we cannot call ourselves ministers without meeting people's needs, just as we cannot be ministers without in some way passing on this great truth and tradition of which we are a part.
My vocation and my ministry are closely linked. Now, In my vocation as a student and a roommate it would be really easy for me to not be a minister. I can have a vocation without a ministry but not a ministry without a vocation. To be a minister I have to vocationally do ministry, it has to be vocationally who I am. If I can't do ministry in the small things, in the everyday, how could I expect to do ministry anywhere else? This doesn’t mean becoming a pastor or a choir member, it means opening up our definition to allow construction workers and street sweepers me be ministers. in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “No matter how small one thinks his life’s work is… it has cosmic significance if he is serving humanity and doing the will of God.” (The Measure of a Man, p.42)
It can't just be left at talk; I can't talk people into the Kingdom of God. I have to demonstrate the gospel before anyone can really understand it. The gospel is so deep and mystical that it has to be shown or else we are speaking different a language which no one will understand who have not experienced it. I can't profess a God who wants to make things right and wants to feed the hungry without trying to do the same. If I just talk about Jesus and never really become a part of His mission, never meet people’s needs, then I am presenting something other than Jesus… this is not ministry. If we offer a hungry man Jesus without ever offering him bread what kind of Jesus are we offering anyway?