Do We Serve God, or Does God Serve Us?
Devotional Thought fo the Day:
18 And I told them how God had been with me and helped me, and what the emperor had said to me. They responded, “Let’s start rebuilding!” And they got ready to start the work. Nehemiah 2:18 (TEV)
1 Don’t let your life be sterile. Be useful. Blaze a trail. Shine forth with the light of your faith and of your love. With your apostolic life wipe out the slimy and filthy mark left by the impure sowers of hatred. And light up all the ways of the earth with the fire of Christ that you carry in your heart. (1)
When elected President of the United States of America, John F. Kennedy directed the citizens of the USA to ask themselves a question. Occasionally, I’ve heard that question adapted to the church, especially when a church is low on funds or wants to start a new ministry. The adapted question reads something like this:
Ask not what God can do for you, ask what you can do for God (or at least for His church).
When I hear such motivational malarky (an old-fashioned word for bullshit) it irritates me slightly. Okay, more than slightly. Not because God’s people shouldn’t be active in ministry, they must be. But the reason for such activity is not to do something for God as if to earn His favor. Or to do something for God, as if to repay some debt. Our living as Christians isn’t something that has to be manipulated.
I’ve heard a similar question asked about church. Do we go to church to serve God or to let God serve us. Matter of fact, there are great debates about this, with judgment being poured out on those who think otherwise. Both sides take up their positions, prepare their defenses, pump up their disciples, and start tossing cliche’s and one-line statements of wisdom.
It is the same question – do we serve, or are we served? Is it all about pleasing God, or do we expect to be made happy.
It is neither. Both sides of the question have overlooked the obvious.
it is not about who does what for whom.
It is about communion. It is about knowingly living in the presence of God. As Nehemiah wrote, “God had been with me”. as St Josemaria wrote, “with the fire of Christ you carry in your heart” For them, what is to be done pours out of that intimate relationship with God. Not from demanded obedience, but from hearing Him, (Greek and Hebrew scholars who are struggling with this, go look up the word for hear.)
Whether it is giving a thirsty man a cup of cold water, buying a homeless lady breakfast, visiting that person who is bedbound and can’t live a normal life, or kneeling and receiving the body and blood of Jesus, given and shed for you; our actions aren’t about who benefits. it’s not a God scratches our back, we will scratch His.
It’s about walking with God, about rejoicing in His presence. To use an old phrase, it is about abiding with Christ or practicing the presence of God. (Except it isn’t practice!)
It is a Heavenly Father, walking through life with His children, even when our Father has to pick us up and carry us, because the road seems too tiring, to long.
So don’t ask what God will do for you, or what you will do for God. Don’t go to church expecting to be served, or struggling with whether your service will be acceptable.
Simply be in the presence of God, enjoy His company, let Him be your Father and know you are His children.
The rest? It will become obvious.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 171-173). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on March 21, 2015, in Devotions, Poiema, The Way and tagged Abiding in Christ, cHesed, Christ, Christian service, Church, Communion, good works, JFK, Manipulation, motivation, St. Josemaria Escriva. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.