Summer is winding down and for whatever reason that always means we get increasingly busy. Even for those who aren’t in school or have school aged children. I don’t know if the relaxation of the summer just starts to fade and its merely a feeling or if it is a fact, but the fall just seems to be a hectic time of year.
I just recently changed jobs and subsequently added a 45 minute commute to my daily routine; which also includes being a mother, being on the ministerial staff at my church, being a personal assistant (outside of my salary position), and just being a woman. Often times people will ask me, and if I’m being honest I can tell you I have to ask myself sometimes too, “why do you do so much?” “Why don’t you let someone else do it?” I have all these ideas and desires for ministries and outreach programs that I want to start and have been brainstorming and planning for and it got me thinking: why do we as believers do what we do? In order to answer this question, I started with taking a look at my church family. This week in particular we were having Vacation Bible School, so it was the perfect time to observe.
As I looked around the room, I began to notice those who were dedicated and those who weren’t. Those who were focused and excited to be there and those who seemed distracted from the time they walked in the door. I watched my mother, who coordinated the Vacation Bible School program this year, and I could see her dedication; but because I know her I could also see how tired she was.
We go to church to be replenished, to be in the presence of God. The word says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20), but that is more for our benefit. What are we doing for God beyond that? I’ve come to the conclusion that somewhere along the way, the church has lost sight of it’s “why”.
“Do you love me?”
The Bible tells a story of a time when even the disciples lost sight of their “why”. After traveling around with Jesus spreading the gospel to many, witnessing, and performing miracles, Peter says (this was after Jesus was crucified) “I’m going fishing”. He went back to his old job in a sense, and the other disciples decided to go right along with him. They fell back into their routine, so much so, when Jesus appeared to them, they didn’t even recognize Him. Once they finally realized who He was and spent some time with Him, He asked Peter “Do you love me?”. John 21:17 states “The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’” Jesus did not say this to hurt Peter; what Jesus was doing was reminding Peter of his “why”.
Jesus pretty much said to Peter and all of the disciples, “If you love me, don’t sit around and soak up my goodness and keep it for yourself, continue my work. Feed my sheep. Spread my love to the world. Tell some people about me. Make a difference in someone’s life.” Yes, worship; yes, have a prayer life; yes, go to church, but are you feeding His sheep?
Your purpose as a believer is more than what you do on Sunday morning or in the company of your church family. As believers, our purpose is to continue the work Jesus started. That is our “why”. We were placed here to share God’s goodness and love with others, not just in what we say, but in what we do. Its not good enough to just tell people about God, we have to show them His light through our actions which will always speak louder than our words. My life didn’t start to really change until I stopped doing ministry and I started living ministry.
“If you love me, don’t sit around and soak up my goodness and keep it for yourself,”
James 2:14-17 states “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” As dedicated as I am to being a mother, a good employee, and hopefully a spouse one day, I am also more dedicated to the work that God has called me to. I am a mother even when I’m tired, I’m a good employee even if I don’t feel like it (most of the time lol), and I am a workman for Christ always and in all ways. I don’t just limit my service to going to church; I get my feet on the ground and am getting my hands dirty. I am putting the extra time in because that is what Jesus did.
I love you on purpose…