This one goes out to those so busy doing things in the Kingdom that they no longer have time for the King.
I was 16 when I became part of the Music Ministry Core Team in my local church. I was the youngest and probably one of the most active. At the same time, I was also heading events for our campus cluster in La Salle. And for the next 2 years of my life, I was caught up in leading Victory Groups (aka cell groups), doing admin work, planning events, volunteering, and counseling that time for God somehow became an afterthought. I had this notion that doing good in ministry meant I was doing good with God. It was okay to lose time communing with God since I was using the time up in ministry anyway. I assumed that since I was blooming and flourishing in the ministry, I was automatically blooming and flourishing in my personal relationship with God.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
You can be thriving in ministry and yet not be thriving in God. You can be so great in evangelizing and volunteering but still lose God along the way. It’s kind of scary because Christians can hide behind ministry, hide behind discipleship, and even hide behind reading the Bible. You can be active in each and every one of these and still end up being stagnant in your relationship with God.
Now please don’t get me wrong, I love ministry. I am still very, very active in ministry. In my current season, I am basically a full time volunteer in church. It is a vital part of our walk with God, and faith without action is dead. However, I feel a need to address the fact that as a people, we measure the relationship of a person with God based on their ministry activity too much. We need to understand that we can be promoted in leadership positions and still reach a plateau in our relationship with God. We can do everything to serve and still be lazy about pursuing the heart of God.
It’s so easy to get passionate talking about what God is doing, about what you’re doing for God, but have you ever gotten passionate simply talking about God for who He is? The amount of time you spend doing ministry for the Lord, have you ever spent the same number of hours not just simply reading the Bible or praying, but actually sitting at the feet of the Lord, waiting on Him, and seeking His heart?
Luke 18:38-42 speaks of Martha, woman active in doing things for God, and Mary, a woman active in waiting at the Lord’s feet. And Jesus said, one thing is necessary, and Mary has chosen what is good. Now it wasn’t that Martha was doing anything bad. Jesus understood doing, He himself did so much ministry. It’s just that she lost the essence of God. Jesus was there in her home, His presence so manifest, and she was still focused on doing rather than simply worshipping. It was Jesus + ministry, Jesus + service. But Mary understood that she only needed one thing, she only needed to wait on Jesus. She allowed herself to be captivated by the One who sat on the throne and not be caught up in things she can do for the Him.
Please do not be deceived in thinking that knowing a lot of things about God is enough. Do not fall into the trap of believing that doing a lot of things for God is enough. I understand that you just want to express your love for God by using your gifts, and that’s lovely. But God could care less about how skilled we are for our greatest gift to God isn’t our gifts, it’s our hearts. And we give our hearts to Him by waiting on Him, seeking His heart, discovering the facets of His character, and loving Him simply because He is.
God doesn’t seek people who can give Him presents wrapped up in neat bows. He enjoys broken perfume bottles before Him, His feet being wiped by a bawling woman’s tears and hair. He waits for people who will wait on Him.
Doing ministry does not always mean having intimacy. But having intimacy automatically means you understand God’s heart to do ministry. Then, our obedience to God comes not from rules, but from trust and relationship. Do understand, Christianity is not a program. Anyone can follow a program. Every other religion in the world also has pamphlets and trainings and excellent services. The one thing that makes us Christians stand out from all these is His presence, our reflection of His glory. And it is the depth of your intimacy that will dictate how much you reflect Him.
That’s why intimacy will always weigh more than ministry.