Friday, October 21, 2011

Velcro Devotion in a Teflon World

Once more, we're featuring a "Guest Writer," you might say.  This is such an important topic, and it was one we would have been addressing sooner or later.  The fact that Lisa Crum, (songwriter, inspirational writer, and pastoral assistant), wrote this as one of Streaming Faith's devotions, well...  Apparently it needs to be addressed now.

In these last days, it seems harder than ever to find people who will serve in any capacity—much less ministry--with lasting devotion. In the era of contractual service, we seek an “out clause” in almost everything we say ‘yes’ to. Marriages dissolve once the honeymoon is over; parents abandon their post and leave their children to be raised by the grandparents (an alarming trend); and, few places of employment are left where someone can hope to work clear up until retirement. We all tend to want to milk the best out of something and then discard it once it’s no longer profitable or fulfilling to us. It makes me think of the Winans’ song, “Bring Back the Days of Yea and Nay.”
Deuteronomy 15:16-17 relates to someone who had sold himself (or herself) into servanthood. “But if your servant says to you, “I do not want to leave you,” because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, then take an awl and push it through his ear lobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life” (NIV). It was an understood law that in the seventh year, that person would be set free from the master, at which time the master awarded a blessing for the service before releasing the servant. Now, I’m aware that sometimes it’s entirely fitting for someone to operate in a season, or an agreed time of service, and then be released from it. What I do want to encourage, however, is for a special remnant of people to catch the vision of becoming a servant for LIFE.

Can we say to the Lord, “I will faithfully tend this patch of Your field, in good times and in bad, in season, out of season, when I’m praised for it and when I’m an unsung hero too. I’ll be so predictable and so constant, You and my leaders won’t have to wonder if I’ll show up to serve…it’ll be a given!”

Do you consider God’s work and His priorities something that you do ala carte, or is it an integral part of who you are? You may never be called upon to go full-time into ministry, but if He were to ask, would you be willing? What material possessions, hobbies or other preoccupations would you find hard to push aside in favor of going to a higher level in your commitment to the Lord and His work? Do you ever feel offense rising within your spirit whenever the pastor or a leader asks you to give up some of your closely guarded leisure time for a worthwhile investment in kingdom work?

Most of us who serve in the ministry do so on a purely volunteer basis; but may we, from this day forward, never look at it as a “favor” that we do for God. Whether the time we invest in ministry is a few minutes a month or several hours each week, may we treat our offering of ourselves in this way as a holy thing unto the Lord…because it is.

God knows there are times in your life when you're only able to give less of yourself—He knows babies will be born, times of sickness may temporarily slow your pace, aging parents will need care. He is not a tyrant Master! That said, in whatever capacity you choose to give yourself to kingdom work, I pray that, beginning today, you will do so with joy and with excellence, and with a renewed sense of zeal for His purposes.

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