I found this piece tucked away in a safe place in my Bible. When I read the words, I remembered the time when I wrote them. It was a sad time in my life but the message in the words still rings true.
Have you ever had someone ask you who you were, and then began to explain the things you do? "I'm a printer, I work at Wendy's, I'm a nurse...." Sometimes, we don't even give our name. "Who are you? - I'm the plumber." The funny thing is we do it without even thinking about it.
Someone asked me once where I was spiritually. I began to outline the things I was doing in the church at that time. "I teach this Sunday school class, I'm the chairman of that board, I sing in this group, I'm leading that church seminar." In my mind, I was.... rather "Ray" was a list of things I did. My relationship with God had become defined by the things I did in my service to God.
He brought me up short by telling me I had not answered his question. Nothing I had told him truly shed any light upon the original question.
The things I listed were all good things. They are responsible, service related tasks, and vital ministries in the life of the church.
However, knowing a person serves in one of these capacities tells me nothing about their relationship with God. Sometimes people serve in the church for many wrong reasons. Some want to impress others ("Look how good I am....") Some don't care what people think, but want to win God's favor ("Maybe God will love me more if I do this....") Still others believe it will atone for the bad things they've done in their lives ("To show my repentance, I'll serve in this committee....")
We were not such wonderful servants, faithful followers, and holy ministers of God's church that Christ died for us.
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
It's never been about what we do. It's what Christ did that enables us to have a loving personal relationship with God. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever serves the church, sings in the choir, leads a ministry shall have everlasting life? No! Whosoever believes in Him might have everlasting life, and that abundantly!
We serve because we love the Lord, and we believe and accept in our hearts the sacrifice of Jesus, and we want to show our appreciation for God by telling others about Him and honoring and worshipping with our praise and our actions.
We love God because of who He is.
Where am I spiritually? This has been the most difficult decade of my life so far. Emotionally, I have been all over the place, but I can honestly say one thing. I love the Lord God with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my mind. He has never left me since that day at an altar in March of 1971 when I accepted Christ as my personal Savior, and I truly believe He never will.
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