I see many people in “ministry” feverishly consumed by the Lord’s work. Every waking moment is spent striving to achieve more in the Kingdom of God. This is very honorable. The center of our lives should revolve around Christ’s work, but I also see many of these same people burning out and leaving ministry as time progresses.
We easily forget that the main thing in life is not merely about bringing more people to God. The main thing is first being near to God ourselves, AND THEN bringing more and more people near to God. Christ’s work is not the main thing. Christ Himself is the main thing. This is the gift He desperately wants to give us!
If we are so busy about God’s work, that we miss God, we are in essence making much ado about nothing. This would be like us being in an airplane that has lost its oxygen levels, and running the aisles screaming about how people should put on their oxygen masks because they give life, while we ourselves are not wearing a mask. If in the midst of this, we are not wearing a mask, we are not receiving precious, life-giving air, while pleading with others about receiving it.
Dying a slow death ourselves, while trying to save lives, seems honorable, but it is unproductive in the long term. We will burn out, and our spiritual lungs will be poisoned by the carbon dioxide of a fallen world. In essence, we will spiritually die. If we do this, we lose the sum and substance of our message. We nullify our message by our own experience and image. This sort of lifestyle is like an infomercial with a Sumo Wrestler who is selling Slimfast. –Talk about not believing in your product! This is counterproductive.
Jesus is Life! That is the whole point of the Gospel. (-God’s “good news”.) To call others to Him, but not experience Him ourselves, does others and us no good. It is severely counterproductive.
The life of service to Christ is always a delicate balance of being filled up, and being spilled out. When we commune with Christ, beautiful things happen. We are filled up for our own delight in Christ, to bask in His light, and glory in His glory. We are also empowered to call others to do the same.
What we could not do ourselves, Christ does through us. He is the source of Life, not us. When we are filled with Him, He is too big to handle, so He naturally pours out onto others. It is just simple physics.
If the water is poured out of a vessel without being replenished, the vessel dries, and loses its purpose. On the contrary, if a vessel is only filled to its fullness, but never filled to overflowing, then that water will become a stagnant, Dead Sea of indifference. However, if water is continuously poured into a vessel. The vessel is always full and always overflowing!
We are vessels that Christ Himself fills, and spills forth onto others. When we deeply relate to God, we are constantly being filled and constantly overflowing. It is never about just being filled, or just being spilled. The life of growth in, and work for, Christ is a marriage of these two. When we remain in Christ, The vessel is always full, full to overflowing in Christ.
Do our lives support our product?
Be filled! Be spilled!
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
-Jesus Christ. (John 15:5 NIV.)
Jared Norton 2006.
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