In Romans 15:16, Paul referred to himself as a laboring priest of the gospel of God offering up as sacrifices the Gentiles who turned to the Lord. The Greek word for laboring is from the same root as energizing. As we spread the gospel in the campuses, surely we want to be as prolific as Paul was. How could he have done it? Paul himself said that he labored more abundantly than others, yet it was not him but the grace of God which was with him (1 Cor. 15:10). Where then did he get grace? What was the source of his energy?
Of course, grace comes from God. But look at Hebrews 4:16: "Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help." We see that God wants to give us grace and He even set up His throne for this. No doubt the throne is for God's administration but by calling it the throne of grace, God seems to be telling us that giving grace is His administration. This is His business operation, His divine enterprise. He is wholly occupied with the distribution, the dispensing of His grace! Thus, on God's side everything is ready. Moreover, the throne of grace is in a place called the Holy of Holies which signifies our human spirit. By telling us to come forward to the throne of grace, God prescribes the way we obtain grace- pray in spirit (Eph. 6:18). We must pray not according to the reasoning in the mind but following the sense deep in the spirit. In this way, His people can find grace for timely help. No wonder a servant of the Lord said that the way to minister as a priest is simply to come forward to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace for timely help. To be a priest is to be a partaker of grace so that he can be energized to present sinners as satisfying offerings to God.
First Peter 2 likewise speaks of offering sacrifices to God: "You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (v. 5). The sacrifices here include the sinners saved by our gospel preaching. How are they offered to God? There is the need for a priesthood, a group of priests, who have been built up as a spiritual house, for they are living stones. When we trace this to the verse prior to this, we see that they can be living stones because they are those coming to Him, a living stone (v. 4). Again, we see this matter of coming to the Lord. Both Peter and the writer of Hebrews say come, meaning they are both with the Lord where He is. The Lord is the living stone, so full of life and so good for building. By our contacting Him and being with Him, He makes us His reproduction- the living stones! Being enlivened and built together, we can thus be laboring priests of the gospel offering sinners as sacrifices to God.
Everyone involved in the gospel outreach in the school campuses must be a person spending time with the Lord to be an energized priest. Whether one is zealous or nervous, everyone must pray. Open to the Lord and let Him make you genuinely living, vital.
May you be an energized priest on campus to lead your friends, classmates, schoolmates, and even teachers and school administrators to Christ.
* Hymns is published by Living Stream Ministry.