Distracted by Service

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

  • Hebrews 12:1-3

“Beware of anything that competes with your loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of true devotion to Jesus is the service we do for Him. It is easier to serve than to pour out our lives completely for Him. The goal of the call of God is His satisfaction, not simply that we should do something for Him. We are not sent to do battle for God, but to be used by God in His battles. Are we more devoted to service than we are to Jesus Christ Himself?”

  • Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

It is a bit tricky to keep your eyes on Jesus when your world is crumbling around you.  You are met with the issue of whether your service to Jesus is causing the crumbling structure of your life.

I have known several marriages to end because one of the two partners was always at the church, always going on mission trips, always working on one church project or another.  When you are doing all this while your life is crumbling, do you do it because no one else will or can?

If you answered “Yes,” you must first examine yourself.  Are you doing this to prove to everyone else at the church that you are indispensable?  Are you known as the go-to person when this or that needs doing?  Does that make you feel needed?  God is almighty.  He does not need you.  If this church activity is causing strife at home, maybe you need to ask the next question.

Is the program necessary?  If not, do not waste your time.  If it is necessary, announce that you are taking a sabbatical and see what happens.  There are probably people waiting in the wings for you to slow down.  They might even do a better job.  Do not take offense by that remark.  These wing waiters have watched you do everything for a while.  If they are good at observing, they know how you solved problems, but they also know the problems and may have figured out a better way to avoid the problem in the first place.  While you may be the champion at putting out fires, they may be the champion at avoiding the fire.

You say that you have asked for help and no one came forward.  These wing waiters are made from a different bolt of cloth.  They do not want to interfere.  You are so well organized, they feel that they will just be in the way.

To be honest, when I have stepped away and someone else took over, I did not hang around to see what happens.  They will do it differently.  To me, they would be doing it Wrong.  If I made suggestions, they might either resist, causing friction, or they acquiesce, meaning that I am still in charge and they are simply my puppet.  I prefer a clean break.  If they ask questions, outside the ‘group’, I will answer them honestly.  Within the ‘group’, my reaction has been that it is their ‘group’ (committee, team, project, etc.) and it is their decision.

I remember when a church that I attended tried to retrofit the “Purpose-Driven” model to a church that was completely not purpose driven.  There was too much excess baggage.  It would have been better to scrap everything, including the membership roll and start over.  Over half the programs did not work, but for those sacred cows, they argued that it is not about the numbers.  Yet, other projects or programs were dropped without a second thought due to the numbers.  The key was, anything new, kill it; anything resembling a sacred cow, worship it.  Are you at your wits end trying to keep a sacred cow alive?

If it looks like I have wandered from what Chambers said, it is because I have lived it in one sense and seen it destroy families at the same time.  Someone else will come forward.  You do not have to do it alone.  If no one comes forward, try not having that activity for a while.  If God is to be glorified, it will survive.  If God is not to be glorified, why are you doing it?

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

2 Comments

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  1. We have many callings from the same Lord. We are called to faith, of course, but we are also called to family relationships (son or daughter, husband or wife, father or mother), career (whether in the church or elsewhere), citizenship, neighborliness, and so on. When we use our church tasks to avoid faithfulness in another calling, God is not pleased. In Luther’s day it was life in the monasteries that took people away from other callings; now it is meetings and mission trips and the like. You are correct in showing how loyalty to Jesus is not best served by always being in the church. J.

    Liked by 1 person

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