The Bible word “minister” means to humbly serve others with your life. It was our Lord who specified this definition.
“Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” ~ Matthew 23:10-12
“But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” ~ Matthew 20:25-28
By example of himself, Jesus said a minister is one who serves others, and gives his life to save others. So let us clearly understand the purpose of a minister, before we start talking about the requirements to be a minister.
The Bible identifies numerous ministerial gifts, and different offices. A particular minister may have an office, but should never be expected to have all the gifts.
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” ~ 1 Corinthians 12:27-31
Note: The “more excellent way” which was better than even any office or gift: is the way of divine sacrificial love! Therefore in the next chapter, chapter 13 of 1st Corinthians, the Apostle Paul details “the way of sacrificial love”.
God chooses particular ministers for certain responsibilities/offices in the church. And he also chooses whom he will give each gift to. The office and the gift are separately given according to God’s choice, so those holding an office are not uniformly gifted. This creates a church body that is humbly dependent upon one another, and helps to keep one from becoming lifted up over another.
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” ~ Ephesians 4:11-12
Overseers: Pastor, Bishop, Teacher
Let us define some Bible terms first.
Pastor, elder, overseer, and bishop are common Bible terms for the one responsible for overseeing a work. Additionally, the term elder and minister are more generally used to describe the same. But note this “pastor” office was listed after: apostles, prophets, and evangelists, and that the terms elder and minister we’re also used to describe: apostles, prophets, and evangelists.
Elder – In Christianity, an elder is a person who is valued for wisdom and holds a position of responsibility and authority. Elders are mentioned in a number of New Testament passages. Individuals such as James had a significant role in the Jerusalem church and the Council of Jerusalem. In reference to churches in Antioch, Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe: Paul appoints elders as a key step in organizing a new local body of the church and also instructs other overseers: Timothy and Titus, in appointing other elders themselves.
Note: throughout history the term “bishop” has been especially used by a corrupt ministry as a position of power and abuse. Consequently, for some the word Bishop has become a term that they chose to avoid. But it is nevertheless a biblical term. And the office was never intended to be abused.
Thayer’s Bible definition of Bishop:
- an overseer
- a man charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by others are done rightly, any curator, guardian or superintendent
- the superintendent, elder, or overseer of a Christian church
In Acts 20 we find Paul giving a final exhortation to all the elders at Ephesus. His concern was that they did not neglect or abuse their office and responsibility before God and the people they ministered to. Paul was faithful to declare to them the full teachings of the gospel, which, by the way, is also a responsibility of a pastor.
“Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” ~ Acts 20:26-31
Note: the Apostle Paul explicitly states that it is the Holy Ghost that placed them in this great ministerial responsibility. Therefore they had to be qualified by the Holy Spirit first, to have ever filled the office of an elder.
Paul further gives us clarity on the requirements for this oversight ministry in his epistle to Timothy.
“This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” ~ 1 Timothy 3:1-13
So we clearly see that there are requirements for being an overseer of any work (an overseer of: a congregation, an evangelistic outreach effort, a missionary leader, etc.) These requirements give us a picture of the principles that are expected to be working in an overseer’s life and testimony. Let us detail these requirements again:
- Blameless – “that cannot be reprehended, not open to censure, irreproachable” meaning that there are no proven accusations against him.
- Cannot have multiple wives. But he could be unmarried as Paul, Timothy, and others were.
- A diligent and hard worker.
- Hospitable and kind
- Able to teach (Note: this is the only required gift for this office. All the other requirements are addressing the minister’s character.)
- Has self control over the flesh and his attitudes.
- Not covetous or greedy. Content with what he has.
- One that loves and cares for his family and leads them in an orderly manner.
- Not a beginner, or new to the faith, or too young to humbly assume a mature adult position.
- And he must have a good reputation outside of church, in the neighborhood, at work, etc.
It is important to note again the only required gift: being able to teach.
People sometimes try to keep a minister from filling the office of an overseer by requiring certain gifts that the Bible does not require. And at other times people would love to choose a pastor that has many gifts, but yet ignore one of the other requirements of his character. An overseer is not “the people’s choice” but rather “God’s choice!”
And so we again see these almost exact same requirements reflected in Paul’s epistle to Titus.
“For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” ~ Titus 1:5-9
Any true preacher of the true gospel is going to face opposition and false accusations. It has always been that way, and will be until the end of time. And because there are both true ministers and false ministers: we need a way to discern between the two, and to deal with accusations when they come. Therefore the Apostle Paul left us some advice.
“Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” ~ 1 Timothy 5:19-20
Yes there are accusations that every minister will have to deal with. And when a minister has been proven to have sinned, (and especially if that minister will not be honest about their sin), there has to be a public rebuke so that all may take heed and warning. True salvation delivers the soul from sin. Therefore a minister of the gospel must be delivered from sin themselves.
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” ~ 1 John 3:9-10
Now in reference to a minister’s ability to teach: a minister must take heed to only teach what God has shown him or her through a careful and prayerful study of the Word of God. You cannot completely just depend upon a “preachers course” or what some well meaning person taught you. A minister must be convinced in their heart of the truth that they are preaching before they would ever try to teach it to someone else. Because every minister will be held accountable by God for their opportunity to have studied and proved the doctrine themselves.
“Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:14-15
Yes, there is a shame that a minister may have to take and admit to themselves, if they later discover they have not been teaching correctly a certain doctrine of the Word of God. This can happen to any of us, and we need to be humble enough to admit it, once we discover it is so. And because there is no one that has perfect understanding in all truth, it will eventually happen to everyone of us. So let us be careful how we study and understand the Word, so that we can avoid this as much as possible. And may we never get to the place where we cannot be corrected.
A Minister that carelessly overrides this responsibility and teaches from their own opinion without any concern for careful study, will find themselves in serious trouble with God. Especially if they have been warned by another minister of their need to be careful. Jesus’ last warning in the Bible, is specifically about being careful with adding to or taking away from the teachings of the word of God.
“我向一切听见这书上预言的人作见证，若有人要加上这些事，神必将这书上所写的灾祸加在他身上：若有人要从这书上删去这书上的预言，神要从生命册上，从圣城，和这书上所记载的，除去他的一部分。” ~ 启示录 22:18-19
Let every minister prove to themselves first that the Word they teach is true, and that it is working properly in themselves. No other teacher or preacher will stand for us at the final judgement bar of almighty God. We will give account for ourselves, and have no one else to blame. So as a minister, let us be very careful what we teach!
“Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” ~ Titus 1:9
Sound doctrine (sound teaching) is critical to be able to have the Holy Spirit convict and convince another person of the truth. Because the Word of God is only used properly as the “sword of the Lord” when the Holy Ghost has full control of the minister teaching it.
Now, there are also elders who have other responsibilities related to the gospel.
“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” ~ 1 Timothy 5:17-18
So this scripture clearly implies that there is a type of elder that exists that may not labor in the Word and doctrine, and yet they are still an elder of the church. They labor in other ways to support the gospel purpose, and therefore they are due respect and honor for their labor of love sacrifice. The Bible also calls these elders: deacons.
“Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 3:8-13
- one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master, a servant, attendant, minister
- the servant of a king
- a deacon, one who, by virtue of the office assigned to him by the church, cares for the poor and has charge of and distributes the money collected for their use
How a Minister is Supported
Peter also identified himself in general as an elder, even though he was an Apostle.
“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” ~ 1 Peter 5:1-4
Receiving much money or having power over others should never be the motivation of any minister! But yet, it is very typical (but not always) that a local pastor would be supported full time by the local congregation he ministers to.
“Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” ~ 1 Corinthians 9:6-14
And yet, the Apostle Paul at certain times would work so that he would not be a burden to the rest of the saints.
“For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 2:9
“Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:8-12
The best way to finance any local gospel work, is through the offerings of the people of the local congregation. This helps greatly to keep the local congregation seeking the Holy Spirit for how to use their resources for the Lord, rather than seeking direction from an external financial support group or board.
Support for Missionaries, and the Foreign Missionary Work:
Paul was a missionary. He traveled far and established the church in many foreign lands. As was quoted in scripture earlier, Paul often worked to support himself in those foreign lands. And at other times, after establishing a number in the truth, these local Christians would help to support Paul and other ministers that were working locally among them.
And there were times when other foreign churches would financially support Paul as he labored in new territory.
“I robbed (took money from) other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.” ~ 2 Corinthians 11:8-9
Paul’s foreign support in Corinth was for himself, while he labored among the Corinthians, so he could devote his time to the spiritual work there. But the Corinthians mostly supported themselves, as all local congregations should do for their own local work.
A missionary financing program run buy a missionary board from a foreign country typically produces problems, if they also exercise decision making control for the work in that foreign country. There is no example of financing a missionary work like this found in the New Testament. And throughout history when missionary boards have adopted this approach, it has always led to other pressures that would conflict with the will of the Holy Spirit in the foreign missionary work. If you truly do the research, (looking for spiritual success), you will find this to be true. They may have successfully established hospitals and schools according to their own purposes. But a revival of souls getting saved is always killed when man control steps in.
Christ never planned that there would be a earthly headquarters to the direct the work of God anywhere else. So when any missionary board determines to control how missionaries will spend and use money overseas, the Holy Spirit will eventually get pushed out of the way in that decision making. And this can unknowingly happen even when very sincere people are on the board.
Decisions about how to spend money are best kept with a local ministry that is being led by the Holy Spirit in the local work. And any money offering from a foreign source, should normally be for specific needs at a specific time. Needs that are identified by the local working ministry. Any dependency beyond this, will tend towards people looking to a foreign money source for directing the local work. And then they will learn how to not depend upon the Holy Spirit. (Note: there could be an exception to this, but this is typically the best practice to keep God in control.)
This has proven to be true at least a thousand times, and yet people continue to keep making the same mistake. As the money flows, so does the control. So it is best to limit support to “point in time” needs or projects, requested by the missionary ministers. Otherwise it can create an unhealthy spiritual relationship where the missionary spiritual work slowly dies because the local ministers are no longer depending upon God and his Holy Spirit. Instead of maturing into spiritual warriors, they get weaker as they become dependents. And a dependency model will always eventually come to an end, so it is not practical to create it in the first place. There is an old saying: “Give a man a fish, and he will later need another. Teach a man how to fish, and he will learn to provide for his own.”
So what are the examples in the Bible we have for how to handle these financial needs? As the gospel was spread to the gentile world, the Christian Jews in Jerusalem we’re suffering greatly under persecution. Many had been disowned by their families. Some had been thrown in prison. And because of this and other persecutions, they were greatly in need of basic financial help. The Apostle Paul informed various congregations among the gentiles, and a number of these congregations responded to this specific need.
“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.” ~ 1 Corinthians 16:1-3
This is a healthy way to support an immediate need. It is by responding to a specific call for help. In contrast to a push of money into a foreign work with a predetermined objective from a missionary board, which gives direction on how to spend that money.
Actually the best way to do missionary work, is for God to call a missionary to labor in the gospel in that foreign land. And any financial support following that missionary, should be left to the liberty of that missionary (working with the Holy Spirit and the local needs) to determine how best to use the money in the missionary work.
This is all so important, because one of the chief requirements of the ministry: is that they are both called and led by the Holy Spirit!
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” ~ Romans 10:14-15
The Calling of a Minister:
A minister must be called. It is God’s choice whom he calls, and to where he calls them to work. We cannot make that choice ourselves or else we will cause trouble! We will not have the grace nor the wisdom to accomplish the work that needs to be done. Too many have taken up the Bible on their own to do a work, and they have miserably failed.
Jesus instructed us to pray so that we would seek the Lord, and ask God to do the sending, and to show us where he would send us.
“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” ~ Matthew 9:36-38
And then we also have a specific example in the Bible of Jesus actually sending his ministers into a harvest. His instructions were very specific about: who he sent, how he enabled them, and where he sent them.
“And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:  But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” ~ Matthew 10:1-6
Jesus himself spent a lot of time praying and communing with his Father before making his choice for who his Apostles would be.
“And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles” ~ Luke 6:12-13
And yet, a minister called by God, can still go bad and backslide!
“Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.” ~ John 6:70-71
Because of the reality of false ministers, Jesus also gave us some direction on how to discern the difference.
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” ~ Matthew 7:15-20
So with the directions given us by Paul (already quoted in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9) we have help to know the good fruits that Jesus said we should look for in a true minister.
The possibility of a minister backsliding is so real, that the Apostle Paul expressed how careful he was that it did not happen to him.
“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.” ~ 1 Corinthians 9:16-18
Paul was concerned that he did not abused his power in the gospel, because he had seen too many do just that. The gospel is a powerful thing! It is God’s Word, and as such, it can be abused by those who desire to leverage the gospel for their own advantage. Throughout history, and especially today, there have been many more ministers that have abused their authority with the gospel, than those who have humbly ministered the full truth!
One way a minister can abuse his power, is by administering it for his own ease and benefit. Rather than the minister changing himself to live at the same level of the people, and to culturally understand and adjust to the needs of the people he or she is ministering to.
“For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” ~ 1 Corinthians 9:19-27
If Paul did not make the effort to change himself to follow the cultures of people he administered to, he feared he potentially could become a castaway himself. That would happen by him making it easier on himself, and because of that, making it unnecessarily harder for those he preached the gospel to.
Now if you are called, you will also have the grace and the spiritual authority to do the job. Because God does not choose as man chooses. Consequently we must pray and wait on God to make the right choice. Schooling and study can help educate everyone, and a minister needs to be able to be taught first. But the calling is of the Lord!
In the Old Testament, we even have the faithful prophet Samuel being corrected by God, so he would not look at the outside, but to let God make the choice by what God sees on the inside.
“And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him. But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” ~ 1 Samuel 16:6-7
Finally, a minister must be filled with the love of God, and they must be faithful. Paul claimed that God placed him in the ministry because he was faithful to all God showed him to do.
“According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;” ~ 1 Timothy 1:11-12
In this faithfulness, a minister cannot get caught up in a bunch of strife and arguing. He must stay focused on the needs of the souls he has been called to help. In love he must meekly work with the ignorant and those who are very weak and vulnerable to Satan’s devices. This takes nothing short of the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ working within the minister.
“But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:23-26
The calling of a minister is a very important one, and should never be lightly entered into. Much work, suffering, discouragement, and trouble will oppose the minister who answers the call. Consequently the minister must be completely consecrated to the calling, and continue to bear his cross daily. But the eternal reward is by far much greater than the difficulty!
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” ~ Romans 8:18
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:58