The Apostle Paul gave his life to the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ because Christ had given His life for Paul. And that one truth compelled the soul of the Apostle to give his all for others:
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Cor. 10:15 ESV).
In my own life, I was an orphan reared by my Aunt Eva in a rural, poverty-stricken area of the South. Though she had taught me the Gospel, the pain of my early life led me to ask the great existential questions of life: “Who am I? Why am I here? Why did this happen to me?” The answers to those questions were as close as the old family Bible that Aunt Eva read to me every night. The healing of my soul was as close as receiving the grace of God offered through Aunt Eva laying her hands on my head and praying for me every day. Yet my sinful heart traded in my spiritual heritage for a ticket on a prodigal journey that took me far from God and the answers that would bring healing.
One day at around 24 years of age (and going on 40), I heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ clearly presented by Dr. D. James Kennedy. In that one moment I was a new man. There was an old Mike Milton before I heard and a new Mike Milton after I heard. I began to devour the Bible and to read the great spiritual classics like Bunyan and Spurgeon, the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Puritans. Truly I was drinking from the truth of Christ that was transforming every area of my life. This impacted my family, my life in the Christian community, and as Christ’s ambassador in the world. I had what I had longed for: a reason for being here. It was to bear witness to Christ Jesus to every man and to bring His Kingdom truths to all of life: the arts, business, education, government. He was and is Lord of all.
Our labors for the Lord—whether serving as a pastor, as a Sunday School teacher, or helping to bring the Gospel to the poor and downtrodden—must always begin out of our own sacred encounter with the resurrected Christ.
Is your labor for the Lord born out of such an encounter with His glorious grace? Or do you find yourself setting goals and your own standards and expectations and just trying to live up to them? Laboring without thanksgiving to God for what He has done for you will eventually leave you tired of the work. Laboring out of a a living internal furnace of love and gratitude to the Lord Jesus for His grace will supply joy in defeat; hope in despair; and Gospel confidence even when faced with overwhelming odds against you.
Thus, Paul would write his “epistle of joy”—Philippians—while he was imprisoned. Thus the early Christian martyrs were known to sing hymns as they huddled together in the amphitheaters as the beasts approached them and the crowds reproached. So, too, must we be optimistic in our day. For as evil as a culture may be, God’s grace is greater still. I believe that if God can use His truth to transform one life He can and will use that Truth to transform a world.
And that is what this ministry is all about. One life. Three lives. Ten thousand. A city. A nation. The earth. Truth for the soul becomes Truth for the Arts, Truth for Science, Truth for Education, Truth for Economics, Agriculture…”All for Jesus…” A veritable life-long pursuit of bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ in every sphere of life; for He is worthy; for Jesus Christ is Lord of all.