Just a warning: today’s QUIET post will be my rambling thoughts of what God has revealed to me through church today … so either get cozy and be prepared for my babblings, or spare yourself now and move on to the next post! 🙂
Today’s sermon certainly quieted my troubled heart!
You see, for many years, “ministry” to me equaled burdensome work! It was something God seemingly required of me – however, I felt like unless I was sacrificing something or continually pushing myself out of my comfort zone, that my “ministry” wasn’t enough. God does tell us that we should die to ourselves daily – and I know that sacrifice can be part of service … but in my messed up thinking, my work wasn’t good enough unless I was – I suppose – miserable. How’s that for confused!?!
I don’t really know what that thinking stems from? The fact that I never felt adequate enough as a child, that I could never really please my parents completely (in my mind)?? Or the churches that I grew up in that had lists of rules I had to follow to be considered righteous and worthy?!? I don’t know … maybe it is just Satan twisting God’s Word and me gullibly falling into his lie?
Anyway, in recent years, I have learned that I am enough … a work in progress, yes … but before God, complete in Christ.
The Bible mentions that fact that “faith without works is dead” in the book of James. I know that my works do not save me; they should be a natural result of my faith. Today our pastor led us to 1 Corinthians 13 (the “love” chapter) in talking about why we work for Christ, and as he read it instead of substituting the KJV word “charity” with “love” like many people/Bible versions do, he substituted it with the words: “motivated by love.”
For example, verse 3:
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and [am not motivated by love], it profiteth me nothing.
In my mind, it clicked! Although I sacrificed my comfortable life to follow my husband’s calling, and through I serve people who don’t appreciate it, but am not motivated by love, IT DOES NOT PROFIT ME ONE BIT!!!!!! If LOVE isn’t my motivator, than why bother? Why suffer? Why serve at all?
Some religions and cults require their people to work for their salvation – the good works must outweigh the bad ones in the end. Of course, the Bible teaches that Jesus offers us salvation as a free gift, simply by believing on Him. I know I am not working for salvation … but I think I work too hard for righteousness.
The point is God wants us to be righteous and complete in Him … and it isn’t as complicated as I made it! HE gives me the strength and ability to do good works. They aren’t for ME but for HIM. His task for me isn’t the same as the task He gives to you … and that is ok! In the end, my works will be judged (if they are wood, hay and stubble or gold, silver, precious stones- I Corinthians 3:12-13) – but not because I did or didn’t do them but I think really by what motivated me: was I doing my “ministry” because it was on my to-do list and I felt obligated … or was my “ministry” because I loved God and loved people?
The overwhelming theme in my life these last few years – the thought that God keeps bringing me back to is love, specifically God’s love. He wants me to succeed in my Christian life – and while life in general can be hard, some periods of time are VERY hard – serving Him shouldn’t be hard! Even the self-sacrifice and the giving up of control … even that can be easy when we just let go and trust him.
To end, I leave you with a hymn that John Newton (the “Amazing Grace” author) wrote in 1779:
Quiet, Lord, my froward heart,
Make me teachable and mild,
Upright, simple, free from art,
Make me as a weanèd child:
From distrust and envy free,
Pleased with all that pleases Thee.
What Thou shalt today provide,
Let me as a child receive;
What tomorrow may betide,
Calmly to Thy wisdom leave:
’Tis enough that Thou wilt care,
Why should I the burden bear?
As a little child relies
On a care beyond his own;
Knows he’s neither strong nor wise,
Fears to stir a step alone:
Let me thus with Thee abide,
As my Father, Guard, and Guide.
Thus preserved from Satan’s wiles,
Safe from dangers, free from fears;
May I live upon Thy smiles,
Till the promised hour appears;
When the sons of God shall prove
All their Father’s boundless love.