The topic I am going to write about here is not one that I've mastered. This is a fairly new idea for me – a struggle that maybe you've never faced. Or perhaps it's something you're in right now and don't even realize it. But please don't just accept my ideas. Examine the Word of God and see if they apply to you in your own unique circumstances. That's all I ask. =)
One of the blessings of living in the 21st century is that it is so easy to do things for God. Don't get me wrong – serving God can be one of the most difficult things you'll ever do. There's a good chance that He might ask you to do something that's painful or difficult. But think about it – we can share the Gospel without even leaving our homes. With access to the internet, the world of blogs, and social media, we can have best friends we've never met. That also means that we can pour out our lives into others in easier ways than ever before.
I love doing things at home. Thus, I have found myself in an ever-increasing amount of "ministries" online. I blog. I write. I email friends (saved and unsaved). I take online college classes. And I can serve in even more ways at home – being a good friend, sister, daughter.
Is it possible that having the mentality of "give, give, give" can actually lead me away from Christ?
Oswald Chambers said,
"Christian work may be a means of evading the soul's concentration on Jesus Christ."
I think that sometimes we measure our level of faith by looking at the work we do for Christ. We serve in this way...and that way...and even that other way. We must be fantastic Christians!
Sorry to disappoint you: Our relationship with Christ is not measured by how much we do for Him.
My friend Jordy recently explained an aspect of life in this way. Too often we do things for God. We write blog posts...for God. We join ministries and share the Gospel...for God. These are good things! But how often do we serve...with God? With diligent prayer, seeking His face, and walking by His side? Do we serve in that way?
All this serving, this "give, give, give" attitude, has overwhelmed me. I serve God in so many ways. Doesn't that mean that my relationship with Him should be at its finest, shining for all the world to see?
Instead I'm tired. No, I'm exhausted. I've been living life for God instead of with God.
It reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha from Luke 10:38-42. Siblings were hosting an honored guest: Jesus Christ. As Jesus entered the house and began conversing with them, one sister sat by His feet, listening intently. Mary hung on to every word, treasuring them in her heart. The other sister – Martha – rushed to and fro preparing supper. Her serving made her lose sight of what was important. Instead of building a relationship with the King of Kings, she busied herself serving Him. In the end, it was Martha who was rebuked, not her "lazy" sister Mary.
But I've realized that so often we are like Martha. We are serving God when we could be living life with Him.
Serving is a wonderful privilege. God wants us to be a blessing to others, share the Gospel, and bring hope to the hopeless! Doing that should bring us joy and excitement. But if you're burned out or feeling tired, perhaps it's because you've been serving God so much that you haven't taken the time to really get to know Who He is.
Sitting at Jesus' feet is more important than "making Him happy" by doing things for Him.
Remember what Samuel told Saul?
"Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice..." - 1 Samuel 15:22
And what did Jesus say was the most important commandment to obey?
"Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'" - Matthew 22:37
My question stands: Is it possible to serve God wrong? And my answer would be yes. If we are serving God instead of loving and building a relationship with Him, we are serving Him in the wrong way.
Dear friend, this is my plea for you and for myself. Don't let serving God overcome your desire to build a relationship with Him. Let us serve God with Him instead of for Him. Allow Christ to become your best Friend, the One you delight in.
How has God opened doors to serve Him and others? Do you find yourself doing things for God or with Him? How might one change their focus? Comment below!