Process of Elimination
Many times when circumstances in life overwhelm us our first inclination is to eliminate the things we consider “extra” in our schedules to alleviate the chaos. This seems natural doesn’t it? Eliminate the excess to make room for the more important. Unfortunately, what I have noticed is that many times the first thing to go is our service and more importantly, our service to God.
I’m guilty of it. I know what it is like to feel overwhelmed with so much that you feel like you can’t even breathe. So naturally, my service was the first thing that I have tried cutting back. But when I did, I still felt overwhelmed. Leading worship wasn’t the thing that topped me over.
What I noticed is that I had cut back on the very thing that I love offering the Lord – the one thing that makes me tick—music. For you it could be catering, watching children, working a camera or being a sound engineer, playing an instrument – anything that you love doing that you know you can offer the Lord. I know personally as a musician, if I am not involved in something music related for a while my spirit begins to feel very heavy and it affects every other area of my life. It is as if using the gift God has given me fuels me to keep going to take on everything else.
For those of you who are a part of the worship ministry, I’m sure you have experienced that. You walk in to practice with your spirits down and heart heavy from a tough day at work or home. You are there because you committed to it, but you don’t really feel like being there. Then when the night is over, after you have just let it go as you redirect your focus from the problems of the day to Christ – you feel more refreshed than ever.
So why is it when life overwhelms us we eliminate the very thing that fuels us to keep going? Perhaps our mindset about serving is wrong? We think serving is an option and begin to do it out of convenience. Before too long, we have made our “gift” of “serving” all about ourselves instead of an offering to the One who first served us. Don’t you think that if serving is really about God and glorifying HIM as we use our gifts, then that would be the last thing to go?
So here’s the question that hit me, “Does God ask us to serve Him out of convenience? Would that fully express our love and appreciation for Him?” I know this hits deep, but was it “convenient” for Jesus to die the most painful death and take upon Himself in His complete perfection the nasty stain of the sins of the whole world? No. It was not “convenient.” It was a dreadfully painful sacrifice that impacts the eternity of every single person who chooses to make Him the CEO of their lives. Don’t ignore this question, really think about it.
When we give to God, God gives back to us without fail! When we burn energy for Him, He gives us more fuel to keep going and more! I have experienced it first hand, time and again.
Cutting back on commitments is absolutely necessary sometimes to make sure that there’s something of us left at the end of the day. If we spend ourselves on so many different things, what will we have left to give God? I certainly do not want to offer Him my left-overs. The lesson here is about priorities.
When we serve we please the heart of God because that is a part of His nature. As we are created in His likeness, it brings Him joy when He see’s us giving of ourselves to serve Him – especially when we use the gifts He has given us for HIS glory.
John 3:16 begins with, “For God so loved the world that He gave…” He gave us His Son so that we could live in His presence forever when we acknowledge we are sinners (imperfect), believe that Jesus is our Savior and that He died and rose again, and we confess Him as Lord and ruler of our life.
I challenge you to take an inventory of what the Lord has given you. It could be tangible things, but really think about it. On top of giving us the gift of eternity, He gives us breath, relationships, He provides for our needs (what specific needs has He provided for you lately?), He gives us His Word, His love, His presence, His grace, compassion, mercy, strength for each day, comfort…the list goes on forever.
The next time you are tempted to cut out serving from your schedule, pull this list out and remind yourself that HE gave first – not out of convenience but out of pure, sacrificial LOVE. We can never out-give God, but He is completely worth every ounce we have to give HIM.