‘Back in the day’, we wrapped up the mentoring year by “guilt-ing” men into signing up to serve. The thought was, “you’ve been trained. Developed. ‘Discipled’ if you will. Now it’s your turn. Pick a ‘Kingdom’ job in your church or para-church ministry and go to work. Get involved and do something for Him!” To those whom much has been given, much is expected, right? The first obligation of the blessed is to be a blessing. And don’t forget about Jesus’ parable of the talents. Sitting out the game isn’t a good option.
But be careful with your heart.
Your ‘heart’ is where your desires or ‘wants’ come from. If your heart is for your wife, you’ll be all about her. Loving her, serving her, trying to help, giving her what she wants and needs. If your heart is for your work, you’ll show up early, stay late, think of ways to do things better, faster or cheaper. If your heart is for your kids, you’ll focus, listen, try to understand & help them.
It is so hard NOT to do the same thing when your ‘heart is for the Lord’. Men create a lot of things to do for God. Good things. We can get ‘duped’ into thinking God is the destination of all that activity. He may or may not be the inspiration, but be careful thinking He’s the destination.
Check this out…..
“I used to think the spiritual life was mostly about finding and using our gifts for God’s glory- my utmost of for His highest. More and more, I think it is not this, not first, not most. At root, the spiritual life consists of choosing the way of littleness. I become less so that Jesus might become greater. Its essence is ‘No’ – ‘No’ to ourselves, our impulses and cravings, our acts of self-promotion and self-vindication, our use of power for its own sake. It calls us to deny ourselves possessions, rights, conquests that we’re tempted to claim just because we can.” 1
When I read this…especially the part about “conquests that we’re tempted to claim, just because we can”, I shudder to think of the church buildings, capital campaigns, ministry projects and mission trips we’ve taken ‘just because we can’. It’s from our hearts…not His. And it’s tough, especially when the preacher is up there ‘pitching’ how important it is. How sure he is that it’s “God’s will” for you to participate in a large way.
Does God use this stuff, even when it doesn’t come from His heart? Sure He does. He uses everything. An old soul once explained Romans 8:28 (“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”) to mean “God don’t waste nothin’”.
But might He have directed us to something else…something better… if we’d given Him our heart? If we’d listened to His “still small voice”. If we’d asked Him to lead us to the “good stuff from God” and away from the “good stuff for God?
When your wallet is full, lighten it for the Lord, and especially for the ‘least of these’ in His name.
When your heart is full, give it back to the Lord.
“Here’s my heart Lord. Speak what is true. What would you have me know about this opportunity? What would you have me do with what you’ve shown me?”
Then do what He says with courage and conviction.
Question: Are you just going along with a program or project right now because it seems like a “good thing to do for God?” Will you step back, seek God’s heart, and obey His voice? Tell us here!
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