In the first three chapters of Ezekiel we see his call to ministry. Ezekiel was given a specific task for a specific time, but we can all learn from his call to ministry. When I say ‘ministry,’ I don’t just mean vocational ministry, although that is included. If you are a believer, you have a ministry. You have friends and family that need to hear the gospel. You should have a local church where you can encourage others, pray for others, and use your spiritual gifts. Every believer has a ministry and we can learn a few things about ministry from Ezekiel’s call.
Here are five things we can learn from Ezekiel’s call to ministry:
Our Ministry Starts with us Beholding God
Chapter 1 begins with an incredible vision of God. As Ezekiel saw a vision of God in this way, he fell on his face (1:28). For us, we have the Scriptures that reveal God to us. We should be seeing and beholding God, and as we do we’ll be reminded of who we are. If we are not walking with God in this way, it will affect our ministry. If our hearts are not growing warm in fellowship with our Creator, then they are likely growing cold.
‘Success’ Isn’t Numbers, It’s Faithfulness
Ezekiel was told from the beginning that the people he was sent to preach to would not respond (3:7). I don’t know about you, but that sounds very difficult to me. Too often, we define ‘success’ in terms of numbers, budgets, or other tangible figures. By those standards, Ezekiel would be a terrible prophet. However, God defines success in whether or not we are faithful to Him.
You might share the gospel with someone who rejects. You can’t make people believe, that is the work of the Holy Spirit. Our job is to continue sharing the gospel with anyone Lord puts in our path. Don’t put a pressure on yourself to do something that you have no power to accomplish. Be faithful to God.
We May Not Always Like What God Asks Us to Do
After the vision and call, the Spirit takes Ezekiel back to the Chebar canal. One would expect to see Ezekiel on a ‘spiritual high.’ However, we see that he’s overwhelmed! We see a similar situation in Jeremiah when he cries out to God, “I did not sit in the company of the merrymakers, nor did I rejoice; under the weight of your hand I sat alone, for you had filled me with indignation” (Jer. 15:17).
God may call us to do things we don’t like at first. Pray that he changes your heart and desires, but in the meantime our call is to obey. God may have you minister to that family member that you don’t like speaking to, or he may ask you to minister to that boss/co-worker that you really don’t like. Whether we like it or not, we are to obey.
God tells Ezekiel that the people won’t listen, but he is to continue to proclaim His word. He warns him, “And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions” (2:6).
In our country, we don’t expect persecution. However, we continue to see change and more explicit hatred for Christ and his church. We don’t know what the future holds, but Scripture tells us to expect persecution. Like Ezekiel, it may be words and looks, but let us resolve in our heart to stick to God’s message no matter the consequences.
We Will Be Held Accountable
In the second half of chapter three, God warns Ezekiel that he will hold him accountable for his ministry. If the wicked don’t listen to Ezekiel when he preaches, then they will die in their sin but Ezekiel’s hands are clean. However, if Ezekiel doesn’t warn them, they will die in their sin and there will be blood on his hands.
Our job, as we noted above, is to warn people of the judgment to come and give them the hope and good news of the gospel. Not everyone we share with will believe, but if we’ve told them then we’ve cleansed our hands. However, if we shriek from warning them, and they die in their sin, then there is blood on our hands. Let us feel the weight of this warning and let it drive us to share and be faithful to the message God has given us.