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MINISTRY OR SHOW?! It is Whatever You Do to the Least of My Brethren, Not Whatever You Do for Show By Dr. Priscilla Otuya

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MINISTRY OR SHOW?! It is Whatever You Do to the Least of My Brethren, Not Whatever You Do for Show By Dr. Priscilla Otuya 

Introduction:

In the realm of Christian ministry, a preacher’s mission is fundamentally to shepherd their congregation, nurturing them spiritually, emotionally, and, when necessary, materially. However, a growing concern within the church today is the tendency of some preachers to prioritize grand public charity events over addressing the immediate and daily needs of their own flock. This shift from personal, hands-on ministry to large-scale, often publicized acts of charity raises critical questions about the true intent and effectiveness of such endeavors. Are these events genuinely intended to serve, or do they sometimes veer into the realm of spectacle? The Bible provides clear guidance on the priority of caring for those in our immediate community, as highlighted in Matthew 25:40: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.”

The Neglect of Immediate Needs:

The Scriptural Mandate to Care for the Needy

The Bible is replete with instructions on caring for those in need, particularly within one’s own community. James 2:15-16 underscores this responsibility: “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” This passage emphasizes the importance of tangible actions over mere words or intentions.

The Consequence of Neglect:

Neglecting the immediate needs of the congregation can lead to severe spiritual and emotional consequences. Members who feel overlooked or abandoned may struggle with their faith, feeling disconnected from a church that appears to prioritize public image over genuine care. Proverbs 21:13 warns, “Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.” This verse highlights the reciprocal nature of compassion and support within the faith community.

The Allure of Grand Charitable Events:

The Appeal of Public Recognition

Large charity events often attract significant attention, offering opportunities for media coverage and public praise. Matthew 6:1 cautions against such motives: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” While these events can undoubtedly do much good, they should not be used as platforms for self-promotion.

The Risk of Misplaced Priorities:

When preachers and church leaders focus excessively on organizing large-scale events, they may unintentionally neglect the day-to-day struggles of their congregants. This misalignment can be seen as a deviation from the pastoral role described in 1 Peter 5:2: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve.”

Returning to the Heart of Ministry:

Prioritizing the Local Flock

To realign with biblical principles, church leaders must prioritize the needs of their immediate congregation. Acts 4:34-35 provides a model for such ministry: “There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.” This passage highlights the importance of a community-oriented approach to charity, ensuring that the needs of the faithful are met.

Genuine Acts of Service:

True ministry involves humble, often unseen acts of service. Galatians 6:10 encourages believers to “do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” By focusing on genuine, heartfelt acts of service, preachers can fulfill their biblical mandate and truly embody the love of Christ.

Conclusion:

The distinction between ministry and show is a critical one for today’s church leaders. By emphasizing care for the “least of these” within their own congregations, preachers can ensure they are fulfilling their true pastoral duties. Grand events may have their place, but they should never overshadow the immediate, everyday needs of the faithful. As Matthew 25:40 reminds us, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” True ministry is measured not by public acclaim, but by the quiet, consistent care for those God has placed in our charge.

Bishop Dr. (Mrs.) Priscilla Otuya is the Presiding Bishop of House of Regents Ministries and the President, United Gospel Churches Association of Nigeria. (UGCAN)

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