We, the self-proclaimed God-followers, have gotten some things turned backward from the way the Bible instructs. We have been taught by our religious entities or church that serving God includes working our fingers to the bones on programs, dinners and such. In short, busywork! Is "busy" what God wants from us? Does he want us to feel guilty saying no to church work?
Luke 10:1-9 tells us Jesus sent 70 laborers into the field because the harvest is great. These appointed workers were instructed to go into a house, empty-handed and speak peace upon the house. Whether peace is there or not, remain in the chosen house eating what is offered. Go not from house to house. Heal the sick in the house and tell them "The Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." Here's the things I notice about these paraphrased scriptures and maybe how we should apply them today:
- The workers went to the people. They weren't told to go to church and wait for folks to come to them. They didn't go to church and pray or hope that God would bring new people to them. God sent them to the people.
- They went empty-handed without purse, bag or shoes and were told to not speak to anyone on their way. I believe this allowed the workers to remain anonymous and humble so when the workers left, the people of the house wouldn't remember them but rather remember they had been visited by God. Sometimes we are so adorned with "stuff" that's all people see.
- Visit with the people of the house you're in, whether they are at peace or not. Stay awhile. You want Jesus to take time with you, right? I do! I want him by my side in the sunshine and the rain.
- The people of the house feed you. Hot dogs and hamburgers weren't advertised to get people to God. Rather, God went to the people and they were deservingly fed for their labor.
- Heal the sick. Can we heal? Absolutely. The power of God through his Word can heal. These laborers simply said nine words, "The Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you."
Still busy? Still struggling to put some of the church work aside? Still feel guilty saying no because Jesus would be disappointed? Ask yourself this question: Are you disappointing Jesus, yourself or someone else? Then, let's look at the end of Luke 10 where Jesus visits two sisters, Mary and Martha. MARTHA IS BUSY! She even tattles on Mary hoping Jesus would tell her sister to get up and help her. Instead, Jesus tries to show Martha that it is more important to seek his words and sit at his feet than all her busywork. Mary chose that good part which is needful and cannot be taken away from her. Can we effectively serve God by SITTING at his feet? Yes!
We need to re-prioritize and quit all the busywork. I used to run around like a crazy person trying to help keep everything going at church. Don't get me wrong. God's church needs workers. I'm just not sure we're going about it correctly. And, God can keep things going with or without us. It became a pride thing for me which is sinful. "I did this and I did that and I did that too!" Jesus does the work, not "I" or you. We can't work enough to please Jesus. He doesn't require it. Salvation is guilt-free.
If we don't remove our own guilt, sit at his feet enjoying his majesty and rest a bit, we may find ourselves like Peter and the other disciples. When Jesus needed them most, in a garden at the most critical point of his short life, we'll be exhausted and asleep! I would hate to disappoint Jesus when he is counting on me and hear him say "What, could ye not watch with me one hour?"
The Happy Handicap