Col 1:25-26 “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:”
In verse twenty-four, Paul has expressed his joy in bearing hardship for the church. It is of this church, the body of Jesus Christ, that he is made a minister. Since Paul used the phrase “made a minister” in verse twenty-three of this same chapter, it seems there is something important that he wishes to convey.
The Greek word translated as “made” means “to cause to be.” It was the will of God (Col 1:1) that caused Paul to become a minister. God is always the cause of true ministry. Although our fathers may be ministers, if we become true ministers of the gospel it is not because our fathers are ministers. True ministers of the gospel do not take that path because they seek honor for themselves, or because they think it is a glamorous position, or because they think it’s an easy way to make a living. True ministers of the gospel know that they will face hardship, but take that path with joy for the calling of God.
If we are called to be ministers, then we need to also understand the word “minister.” According to Strong’s, the word translated as “minister” means “an attendant, that is, (generally) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specifically a Christian teacher and pastor (technically a deacon or deaconess): – deacon, minister, servant.” The job of a minister is to attend to the needs of others. It is a place of humble service, and we are caused to attend to the things of God and His children according to the will of God.
Our ministry is bound by the dispensation of God. The word translated as “dispensation” means “administration (of a household or estate); specifically a (religious) “economy”: – dispensation, stewardship.” While we mostly think in monetary terms when we hear the word “economy,” this is not the only use of the word.
According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of American English, the word economy has a number of different meanings, including; “Primarily, the management, regulation and government of a family or the concerns of a household. The disposition or arrangement of any work; as the economy of a poem. A system of rules, regulations, rites and ceremonies; as the Jewish economy. Distribution or due order of things.” These are not all the meanings assigned to the word, but they carry with them a theme of a proper ordering or management of things. In Paul’s statement, we see that the proper ordering of things is given to the minister by the God of heaven who made us ministers to begin with.
We are not made ministers for our own benefit. The gift of ministry that God has given to us is given for the benefit of the saints and faithful brethren in Christ (Col 1:2). We have this ministry for the purpose of fulfilling the word of God. One of the explanations that Strong’s gives for the word rendered as “fulfill” is to “level up (a hollow).” God has called us to minister unto His children His word; the only thing that can truly fill the hollow places within us.
The word of God has always been a great secret, kept from the ability of men to unravel for themselves. Man’s wisdom will never grasp the work that God has done or fathom the love that moved Him to do this work. Man’s wisdom will never give glory to God for salvation or look to Him for peace. This was never meant for man to discover for himself. The mystery of God has to be made manifest (revealed) by God, and His word assures us that it is revealed at this present time to those He has consecrated for His service.
We should never give credit to man, or take credit to ourselves, for the manifestation of the truth of God. If you have been blessed to sit and hear the gospel preached, don’t thank the preacher. If some saint has ministered to you in a way that caused you to get a glimpse of Jesus, don’t thank that servant. It is good to be thankful for them, as long as you are giving your thanks to God.
May we always bear witness that we are made ministers by the administration of God’s will for the benefit of His church, to whom He has revealed the mystery of His word!