Beautiful words stir my heart. I will recite a lovely poem about the king, for my tongue is like the pen of a skillful poet.
“Formerly, I was a church choir director.”
“Formerly, I was a pioneer of prayer movement in the campus.”
“Formerly, I was who lead my best friend to believe and accept Jesus.”
“Formerly, every Sunday I was teaching the Bible study class.”
“Formerly… Formerly… Formerly…….”
Have you ever heard the words like these from someone who enthusiastically and proud told about the experience with God in the past? Ago, Sometimes ago, many years ago! But now…???
Sometime ago I was talking with someone who I think wasn’t an impassioned Christian. Need very hard effort and pray to take her to Sunday worship. Yet, I was surprised when she told that formerly she was taking a ministry as a church singer for many years and diligently attended a Bible class. As if heard the alarm (warning sign) beeps in my heart!! I immediately looked into myself, which until today has over twenty years of actively serving as a volunteer at one of the Church ministry department. I pondered, how my spirituality within the period ten or twenty years from now? Will my passion for the Lord will fade just like her…???
Many Christians have for decades followed the lord and diligently serve in God’s work but along with increasing the age, it turns out the passion to know God precisely decreases. They become a Christian who no longer places Jesus as the top priority, even no longer presume that Sunday worship as something important and needed. Unnoticeably, has been many years God’s position replaced by sundry of busyness in career and business, family interest, also with all life’s comfort and pleasure. It is surprising when knew that formerly they are Christians who with a burning passion to serve God, even actively preaching the gospel personally. Where is the first love that formerly moves them to hit various obstacles for the sake of fellowship with God and serve God in joy?! It is impossible the fire of love that revealed by King David in Psalm 69:10a, with phrase: “For zeal for Your house has consumed me,” could suddenly dimmed.
Such changes certainly not necessarily happened. Whatever or whenever the turning point, there must be a process that consciously or not, has been going on for so long. It could be in the form of a sad event, the deep hurt and disappointment, the various activities and busyness of work and business, or several of pleasures that captivate our attention more than in fellowship with God. If all that is not immediately rectified completely with God, then sooner or later it will erode the love, faith, and commitment to God. Finally, without realizing God’s position has shifted and eventually they trapped in a lukewarm condition. They are still referred to as a Christian, but have lost the personal intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ. But are we realize that among all the things which could be mentioned as the cause of the spirituality degradation, there is the most dangerous thing that can lead us away from God is the ministry itself!!!
We quite often heard about Martha and Mary in Luke 10: 38-42. Marta was a good host. She did her ministry diligently to prepare all the needs of Jesus and his disciples at her home. Maybe she was busy preparing the food, beverage, and managing the home to be comfortable for Jesus and the people who gathered to hear Jesus’s teaching. Marta always think, organize, and prepare everything necessary in order to “Sunday worship” running smoothly, orderly, until all present blessed and well served. Therefore Martha’s role was extremely important, but we all know that Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”(Luke 10:41-42)
“Hi all servants of God, including me, where does our heart today?”
“Is in every ministry that we do, our hearts are still filled with passion and love to the God we serve?”
“Is intimate moments with God in prayer and His Word is still the moment we’re looking forward with enthusiasm more than when we serve God’s work?”
If the answer is “no” or “mediocre”, it means the alarm has sounded for us! Be careful, our spiritual lives are in a dangerous condition! It means the time has come to fix ourselves and rebuilt the altar of the Lord in our lives and return to the first love to God.
Look at the Ephesians; they are viable and diligent congregation in their entire ministry. But although God knows all their toil, God rebuked them, “I know your deeds and your toil and [a]perseverance….. and you have [b]perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen…” (Revelation 2:2-5a)
Physically the Ephesians is still active and eager to do ministry and worship, but in fact their hearts away from God. If so, can we do the ministry, while our hearts are far from God? Yes, we can!
The more mature in age and personality coupled with the increasing number of experiences in ministry, a servant of God certainly has matured in the ministry. A good servant of the Lord certainly understand the meaning of doing a ministry with full responsibility, punctual, neat, and the results were satisfactory. They can set the time with the orderly, able to cooperate with the team, even believable responsibility increasingly greater. Or in other words, be a professional God’s servant. The professional God’s servant can serve God’s work well even though there is no spiritual life in themselves. It is the dangerous professionalism because it can deceive themselves and others. We think our spiritual fine, when in fact is not!
Altogether there is nothing wrong with professionalism in the ministry. It must! If the world of work we have to act professional, in our ministry should also be professional. But professionalism without love there’s no point! As great as any that we do: could speak in tongues of men and of angels, prophesy, have all faith so can move the mountain, to be burned, but do not have love, it is nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
Once again, let’s look into ourselves. Will there still be alive and impassioned love in our hearts? If the answer is “no” or “mediocre”, it means the alarm has sounded for a long time but we ignore it!!!
Then, what should we do now?
And repent and do the [a]deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. (Revelation 2:5b)
What do we did at first when we fell in love with God? Always thirsty and hungry for closely allied with the Lord and do everything with love overflowing to God.
DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE ALARM SOUNDED! But let us continue to build an intimate relationship with God. God is love, only through fellowship with God then we will be filled with the love. If our lives overflow with love of God, then love will flow when we serving. Thereby, our ministry is not only getting qualified, but also has the power to transform lives, as well as deign and pleasing God.
We do not know the limits of our age. But if God allows us to live and serve Him until a few years to come, dozens or even tens of years to come … I hope … those who serve the Lord with us today, we can find them in the spiritual state that the increasingly fiery, mature, and be faithful in their calling. Perhaps they are no longer as active as before and no longer serving the Lord’s work in the same field because of the limitations of age, but the fire of their love for God even smolder till the end!
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; (2 Peter 1:10)
By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words
Picture by: Sella Irene