WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 6, 2021
TOPIC: NOBODY IS SUFFICIENT FOR GOD’S WORK
BY T. O. BANSO
“I am Christ’s fragrance upwafted unto God, among those who are being saved and those who are perishing; to these latter an odor of death to death, to the former, of life to life. For such service as this, who is sufficient?” (2 Corinthians 3:16 Montgomery’s New Testament).
One of the things that become very clear as one reads the writings of the apostle Paul is that he appreciated the opportunity that the Lord gave him to preach the gospel despite his past as a persecutor of the church. He felt undeserving of the assignment God gave him. He didn’t have an entitlement mentality.
He said in 1 Timothy 1:12-14, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (New King James Version).
I had to remind someone recently that the work of God he was doing was not his own. True gospel ministry has never belonged to any minister. It belongs to God. He only called or appointed every minister to serve in His vineyard. Paul understood this as we have seen in the scripture above. He said God put him into the ministry despite his negative antecedents.
Every minister of God must never forget that God chose him and put him into the ministry. Every minister received his ministry from the Lord Jesus as Paul said in Acts 20:24 he did. Jesus has given those who believe in Him the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18).
Just as Paul was not qualified for the ministry, nobody is qualified, even if the person has not been a blasphemer or persecutor like Paul. Who can satisfy the requirements of the Holy God except for God, by His mercy, qualifies the person? Paul said he obtained mercy because he did the evil he did ignorantly. If God didn’t call Paul, he wouldn’t have been able to enter into the ministry.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:1, “Therefore, since we have this min+istry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart” (New King James Version). Did you see his reference to the mercy of God again? God called every minister into ministry by His mercy. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). However, we were saved by grace through faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
God didn’t call anyone into the ministry because of his achievements or status as a medical doctor, pilot, teacher, accountant, architect, lawyer, or engineer. He didn’t call anyone into the ministry because he has a doctorate or he is a professor. There are several people with these or better qualifications who are not born again let alone be in the ministry. As helpful as a sound education is in the ministry, academic titles are not superior to the grace of God or His anointing and mercy.
Nobody must feel that he deserved to be called into the ministry and that’s why he is in the ministry today. People who think like that are ungrateful and have a false sense of importance. They should rather thank God as Paul did that He put them or called them into the ministry by His mercy.
The prophet Amos said, “I was no prophet, nor was I a son of a prophet, but I was a sheepbreeder and a tender of sycamore fruit. Then the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel’” (Amos 7:14-15 New King James Version). Did you see that? What qualifications did Amos possess? Amos was a farmer. Nobody would have known Amos today if the LORD had not called him. How would he ever have been able to prophesy if the LORD had not given him the words to speak?
Long before God called Amos as a prophet, He had called Elisha, a farmer, into the ministry (1 Kings 19:19-21). After God called him through the prophet Elijah, Elisha, the son of a wealthy farmer, held a farewell party and became Elijah’s servant. He eventually became a mighty prophet in Israel after succeeding his master. His name would not have been mentioned in the Bible the way it is if he had continued in his profession as a farmer. But the mercy of God called him into the ministry.
No minister should get carried away by the awesome things the Lord is using him to do in whatever capacities as an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, singer, and so on. If you are a minister, God is using you not because you are qualified or better than others. It’s a divine choice. And nobody is capable or sufficient to do the work of God by his power, intelligence, or anything that he possesses.
Paul said, “I am Christ’s fragrance upwafted unto God, among those who are being saved and those who are perishing; to these latter an odor of death to death, to the former, of life to life. For such service as this, who is sufficient?” (2 Corinthians 2:16 Montgomery’s New Testament). Please take note of the last sentence: “For such service as this, who is sufficient?” The New King James Version says, “And who is sufficient for these things?” The New Century Version puts it this way: “Who is able to do God’s work?” The New Living Translation says, “And who is adequate for such a task as this?”
In 2 Corinthians 3:4-6, Paul said, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (New King James Version). A minister’s sufficiency must be in God’s sufficiency, not in his personal resources. Nobody is sufficient without Him! Our sufficiency must come from Him.
Therefore, everyone must depend on God continually. “But this precious treasure — this light and power that now shine within us — is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own” (2 Corinthians 4:7 New Living Translation). The New King James Version renders it thus: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” Every servant of God is like a fragile clay pot inside which precious treasure is kept.
Even Jesus Christ the Son of God didn’t act independently of God the Father. He said He could of Himself do nothing but as He heard, He judged and His judgment was righteous because He did not seek His own will but the will of the Father who sent Him (John 5:30). Acts 10:38 talks about how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. This should also be true of every minister.
Nobody is qualified to do God’s work. God qualifies those He called. And nobody can do God’s work by his power or other resources. “So he answered and said to me: This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6 New King James Version). No man shall prevail, by strength (1 Samuel 2:9).
The work of God can only be done by His power. Paul understood this and said he could do all things in Him that strengthened him (Philippians 4:13). Nobody is sufficient for the task that God has called him to do. It’s all by His mercy, grace, and power.
Hear the apostle Paul again: “For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:9-10 New King James Version).
Those who do the work of God must do it with humility, knowing that God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty. He also chose the base things of the world and the things which are despised and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are so that no flesh should glory in His presence (1 Corinthians 1:27-30).
All the glory must be to Him alone. Nobody has anything to boast about as personal achievements but in what the Lord has done. 2 Corinthians 10:17 says, “The person who wishes to boast should boast only of what the Lord has done” (New Living Translation).
Whereas Paul had great credentials, he didn’t mistake them as what made God qualify him for this great privilege. Today, some people think that they need some titles, religious or academic, as props for acceptance or effectiveness in ministry! But Paul sacrificed even what he would have laid claim to.
Paul’s confidence was not in the flesh. “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Philippians 3:3-6 New King James Version).
He continued, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (verses 7-11 New King James Version).
Appreciate the mercy of God that called you into the ministry. Put no confidence in the flesh or human achievements. Repent of any feeling or attitude of self-sufficiency. Let your sufficiency be from God. Depend totally on God. Nobody is sufficient or adequate for the service God has called him into. Nobody is able to do God’s work without Him. Take heed to the ministry you have received in the Lord and fulfill it (Colossians 4:17).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Thank You, Father, for qualifying me and calling me into Your service. I repent of every wrong mindset I have about Your work. I shall no longer put my confidence in the flesh or human achievements. I shall not depend on my power or my might but on Your Spirit. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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