An attitude of obedience and acquiescence hold much significance in doing the ministry. Though the Bible talks a lot about obedience, it is always a question that “Whom to obey?” and “what for?”.
Bible illustrates many examples of people who have been obedient like Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Samuel, Noah and above all JESUS. The Scripture also gives statements on obedience in different kinds like Human to God, wife to husband, children to parents, Slave to Master, Believers to the one who leads you, and so on.
For those who are in ministry, obedience is a demanded requirement. Obedience to God, obedience to the call, obedience to the Scriptures, obedience to the Holy Spirit, and also obedience to your Leaders.
Obedience to God
The greatest thing that God is expecting, not only from ministers or Christians but also from every human being, is to love Him, obey Him and to follow His commandments. If God expects obedience from everyone then certainly, is a requirement for those who are in His vineyard. “Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. (Deuteronomy 1:11)”
Abel obeyed God in his sacrifice and God was pleased. Noah kept God’s commandments and obeyed Him and he was saved with his family when the whole earth got punished. Abraham obeyed God and left his native, later God made him known as the father of faith and gave him the Promised Land. Obedience to God always rewards. “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine. (Exodus 19:5)”. An obedient servant will always will be fruitful in the ministry while the disobedient ones fail in life and ministry like Eli and his sons did.
Obedience to Call
Not everyone is called for everything, but everyone is called to fulfil the will of God which they are individually called for. The ministry is always fascinating. It is always tempting to do what another person is doing. A person who is called to work as an evangelist in rural clans can be fascinated by the ministry of a mega-church pastor, or in reverse. This fascination can seduce a person to drive in a wrong direction where he is not supposed to go according to God’s will. When Jesus told his disciples about his death and resurrection, Peter took him aside rebuked him saying “far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you” and Jesus’ reply should be very noted, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man”. The mission or ministry which was entrusted upon Jesus could not be fulfilled unless it has happened to him. Literally, Jesus was called for his sacrificial death and resurrection to save the mankind. But Peter’s counsel was against the will of God. By addressing him satan, this epic reply of Jesus clearly proves, any reason which deviates you from the will of God, is from the evil. Anything which fascinates a servant of God to deviate from his call is from evil. Obedience to be on the right track of ministry is very important. Like in Ephesians 4:1 saying, “worthy of the calling to which you have been called”. Deviation disproves one’s commitment to the calling. Mathew 22:14 says “many are called but a few are chosen”, many are called for the ministry, but those who are obedient to their calling will be chosen to be rewarded by God.
Obedience to the Scriptures
Every servant of God is responsible to show integrity to the word of God. The Bible self-attests its divinity in 2Timothy 3:16 “all Scripture is God-breathed”. This self-attestation proves the relevance, truthfulness and authority of the Scripture. It is important to obey the Scripture as if you obey God as the Word is the revelation of God. A minister should be honest with the Scripture both in the application in personal life and, in teaching and preaching. “Make every effort to present yourself approved to God, an unashamed workman who accurately handles the word of truth. (2Timothy 2:15)”
Pampering the wicked rather than correcting, teaching wrong doctrines and teaching doctrines which are not from the Bible are also examples of being unjust to the Scriptures. The call of a minister strictly demands the sincerity towards the Scripture. Famous author Robert E. Coleman has written in his work titled “The master plan of evangelism” like “Hence, Jesus did not urge His disciples to commit their lives to a doctrine, but to a Person Who was the doctrine, and only as they continued in His Word could they know the truth (John 8:31, 32)”. The doctrines you teach others should be from the Bible and not from men. We have no authority to add or remove anything from what God has given us (Deuteronomy 4:2). A minister should not get deceived by the rewards given by men, rather his works should be of honest for achieving the rewards from God.“For we are not like so many others, who peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as men sent from God (2Corinthians 2:17)”
Obedience to Holy Spirit
It is impossible for a minister to succeed in his works unless he has the assistance of the Holy Spirit. God gave us the Holy Spirit to help us and to be with us forever (John 14:16). The help of the Holy Spirit is indeed a need in the ministry because the Holy Spirit has to play the major role to get the work done with ease and according to the will of God. Holy Spirit works as a counsellor who guides the minister to walk in the right direction, an advocate and a mediator who connects between God and the minister, and a helper who works in people and situations, both naturally and supernaturally. Bible says “Do not quench the Spirit (1Thessalonians 5:19)”. The Holy Spirit lives in you. Every work or intention of a minister should be according to the call and commandments of God, if not, you grieving God and the Spirit of God. A good servant of God will be truly obedient to the Holy Spirit and he will be pleased and guided by the Spirit.
Obedience to the Leadership
Paul says to Romans that “All of you must obey those who rule over you. There are no authorities except the ones God has chosen. Those who now rule have been chosen by God (13:1). If a worldly authority is chosen and appointed by God, then obviously the one who leads you in your ministry is also chosen by God himself. Paul continues as “Whoever opposes the authorities opposes leaders whom God has appointed. Those who do that will be judged (13:2)”. In 1Peter 2:13-15 also it says to subject to every human institution for Lord’s sake and it is the will of God. If someone opposes disobeys the leadership then certainly they are opposing the ones God has appointed for His purpose and also acting against the will of God. A person acts against the will of God is disobeying God. The package of your ministry call is inclusive with a call to obey and follow the leadership. It is also required to give respect and show honor to the leadership (Romans 13:7).
But still, it can be a question that Can I disobey my leadership in case if they are wrong? The answer cannot be an objective answer “Yes” as the Bible didn’t say it anywhere. Though we are not supposing to oppose or rebel against the leadership, we may feel disagreements with the leadership. But as long as you are not able to find anything wrong according to the commandments of God, you are liable to obey and follow them. In case you are sure that they are in sin, you can try to convince them to correct themselves. But make sure follow the biblical guidelines as it says in Matthew 18:15-17 and 1Timothy 5:19 and if they remain in the same sin, you can follow what right according to the word of God.
As we work for Jesus Christ, the one who has shown the ultimate obedience, we should represent the same Christ who is inside us, so that we can invite others to live in the obedience that comes from the Faith in Jesus Christ. Surely, obedience will be rewarded and you will be blessed with your life and works. “Whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do (James 1:25)”