ot every Christian will be an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher (Eph 4:11), but the New Testament is clear that all believers are to be involved in ministry. This truth is brought out in passages such as Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and 1 Peter 4.
It is equally clear from Scripture that ministry is not always easy. Jesus did not have an easy time of it, neither did Paul; indeed challenges were regularly encountered by the early Christians. These challenges came from multiple sources. We, as twenty-first century believers in Jesus, face the same realities.
When we encounter challenges we can lose our “cutting edge” to minister for the Lord. At these times it is helpful to have someone to encourage us, to urge us on. In his epistle to the Colossians, we find the apostle Paul doing just that for a man named Archippus. In Colossians 4:17, he writes, “Tell Archippus: ‘See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord’ (NIV)”. There are two things to note here. First, Paul did not say that ministry was not being done but rather that he was not completing it. Second, Paul does not tell us specifically why Archippus was not fulfilling his calling; he merely encourages him to do so. So, what are some things that might hinder a Christian from fulfilling their God-given calling? What would cause them to stop short? Scripture and human experience are helpful in answering these questions. Here is a list of challenges that could cause a believer to fail to fulfill their ministry and need the admonition that Paul gave to Archippus.
Most people in ministry are very busy. This is true whether one is involved in traditional full-time ministry or not; ministry people are workers. There is nothing wrong with being busy as long as one is busy in the right things. Specifically, one needs to give him or herself to the things God values, and in particular to the things that God has called the individual to do. It is a matter of priorities. Jesus redirected Martha when she was focused on working rather than sitting at his feet (Luke 10). The apostles provide us with a good example in Acts 6. They did not allow themselves to get involved in the distribution to the widows. It was a good, biblical ministry that needed to be done, but not by them. They kept their focus on what God had called them to do, which was to give themselves to “prayer and the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4).