But you have long known my purpose of instilling character; if you see some progress of souls with you, stay there...
- Columbanus, Letter to His Disciples, Irish, 7th century
Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles.
- Romans 1.13
I have frequently been asked by people how to determine where God wants them to serve in His Kingdom. This is an important question, because all who have made the Kingdom turn and are following Jesus Christ are citizens and ambassadors in that realm of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit (Rom. 14.17, 18). As such, we should be concerned to advance the presence, promise, and power of that Kingdom in our own lives and into the world around us.
My answer to this question is always the same: Wherever God has placed you in life, you can bear fruit.
Paul says that God calls us daily into His Kingdom and glory (1 Thess. 2.12). Jesus commands us to seek His Kingdom (Matt. 6.33) and, as we do, to live in such a way as to refract His glory into all the time of our lives (1 Cor. 10.31; Eph. 5.15-17).
As we thus go about our daily lives, conscious of our calling to the Kingdom and glory of God, we may become windows of glory, apertures of grace and truth, in whatever situation we find ourselves at any given time.
Thus, all the time of our lives is time for the Kingdom, and for ministry. Today, whatever you’re doing, with whomever the Lord brings into your life, you can serve Him, and thus He can fill all your life with Himself (Eph. 4.8-10).
Each of us has a Personal Mission Field to which the Lord has sent us to seek and advance His rule of grace and truth. God has given us gifts for ministry by His indwelling Spirit, so that we may be fruitfully employed in our Personal Mission Fields, building others up in, or bearing witness to the Lord Jesus. Those gifts may seem large and varied, or small and few. No matter their number and no matter their strength, God wants us to be about the work of serving others with all the gifts He has given us.
The proper focus of ministry is not on where we feel we should be, but where we are at any moment. This is where we should be about the work of sowing, tending, nurturing, cultivating, and harvesting the seed and fruit of the Word.
Ministry, after all, is not an end in itself. We should not teach just to teach, or serve others just to do the work of serving. Our calling to ministry is not for the purpose of keeping programs going. Whatever we do in ministry must concentrate on bearing fruit in others, as Paul indicates – encouraging others to higher stages of Christlikeness, helping them to know more of Jesus, to become more like Him, and better fitted for serving Him. Our ministry should be toward that to which we are called – the Kingdom and glory of God.
Wherever you choose to serve the Lord in His church, let that be simply an outgrowth of the disciple-making work you do in your Personal Mission Field. This, the as-you-are-goings of your life, are your primary arenas for ministry (Matt. 28.18-20). Work hard to make sure that all your ministry is focused on bearing fruit in others.
You’ll never grow weary of serving, or resent the time and energy invested in ministering to others, as long as you can see “some progress of souls” – people growing in the Lord. Start where you are, today and every day of your life, and seek the fruit of God’s love in the lives of those around you.
1. Have you mapped out your Personal Mission Field? Are you working it faithfully?
2. Whom will you serve – minister to – in your Personal Mission Field today?
Psalm 126.4-6 (Truro Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns!)
Restore our fortunes, Lord our King!
Let grace like flowing streams prevail.
All they with tears of joy shall sing
who sow while yet they weep and wail.
They who in tears of sorrow sow
and cast their seed on every hand,
with joy shall reach their heav’nly home,
and bring the harvest of their land.
Show me where to serve today, O Lord; guide me into those places of endeavor where I can…
A study and a book
If you missed our recent ReVision series, “Restoring the Reconciled World,” you can download all five installments in this study by clicking here. This study will lead you into more effective Personal Mission Field living. Also, our book, Small Stuff, shows you how to regard all the daily details of your life as opportunities for glorifying God. You can order your copy by clicking here.
Your prayers and support
It is our privilege to serve you, and our joy to have you share with us in this work. The Lord supports our work through the prayerful and generous gifts of those who share our vision and are served by our ministry. Please join us in praising Him for His kindness in supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe. I ask you to seek Him in prayer, and ask Him whether He might be pleased to use you in the financial support of our work. You can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
T. M. Moore
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Walker, p. 29.