Friday, February 14, 2014

Devotion

Have you ever said a word so much that it lost all meaning? Have you ever thought you knew what a word meant until you saw someone else do it better then you ever could? While the first question might seem childish, try it. Say the word, devotion about 20 times. It should start to sound funny. Now think of any circumstance where this word describes your action or reaction.

I liked to think that I was devoted to the ministry I attended for so many years. I volunteered in various areas of the ministry. I taught classes. I attended classes and I was beginning to look forward to being a part of the staff. Even when other ministers were leaving the parish for whatever the reason, it had nothing to do with me. I enjoyed the place I was in. I kept myself away from those that liked to gossip and focused on whatever task I was assigned to. My purpose was doing the will of God, not man. Then, without me knowing it, some of the stink that caused certain ministers to leave was coming for me. My thoughts raced, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat, my peace was definitely troubled. I tried to find where I left it (peace), but didn't know. Taking a leave of absence from my regular duties in the ministry didn't help. I continued attending services prayed and worshiped the Lord.

One of the things that I would not entertain was leaving the ministry. There was no reason for me to. I loved the church I was attending. The people got me and I them. Finally, I was not an outsider. Every spare moment I was doing what I could to build up the ministry, win more souls to Christ, and help maintain those already won. All of the things I was doing I assumed were good, but the peace didn't return. I still couldn't sleep nights. The doctors didn't have any answers.

A young man in the military was about to complete his duties. His goal was to marry his childhood sweetheart and become a minister. Later, he dreamed of having his own ministry. He did all that he desired to do and began a family too. He knew the only way to make these things the Lord blessed him with successful was to be steadfast in God's word and what He would have for this man to do. He studied incessantly. When he finished hours in verse, he would then study the Hebrew language and then the Greek so he could have a better grasp in all aspects of scriptures. He made other ministers seem simple in how he could articulate the Word and its meaning while they preached superficial sermons that have been heard over and over again. In his mind, he had it all. Then, seemingly out of no where, his wife - the woman he knew throughout his childhood, had something to tell him. She was very serious and he knew what she had to say was going to change everything. She began to tell him that she felt neglected. She told him that all of his time has been spent with the Lord. She asked, when would she be of interest to him again. The pause was long. More about them in a moment.

There is another man I have mentioned before. He and his wife are inseparable. She has some debilitating disease where she is wheelchair bound. He is the one that cares for her and wheels her to wherever he goes or where she would like to be. Both seem very happy. They have been married for a number of decades and for me, they embody the definition of devotion. One day he was rushed to the emergency room. One of his vital organs was in distress and the doctors didn't have a good prognosis of his outcome. While admitted, he couldn't just rest. All he thought about was getting back to his wife. On the other side, she was in turmoil wondering when he was going to get back to her. Both being educated but neither of them are thinking that his commitment to her could send him to an early grave. He left the hospital early against the advice of his doctor. He claimed that changing his diet is all he needs to get his health back.

Being devoted to one another is a wonderful thing. Its hard to come between two people that know each other so well. One cannot be tricked by the gossip or envious murmurings of an outsider. Nevertheless, God being who He is, will show up if the life of this well intention person is not balanced. Joyce Meyer, a well known television evangelist has ministered this message a number of times. For me, it became applicable when I saw how much time I spent in ministry as opposed to my family or hobbies or taking a vacation, or just doing nothing. As much as I loved how it was structured and the demands for discipline, I did notice the pastor and his family made time for each other and had substitutes stand in when they took time off. I didn't do that. I kept thinking of the verse where the reference was to someone who had fallen out of the boundaries given and needed to be fed with the milk of the Word again (Hebrews 5:11-13 AMP). I also had on my mind the verse where God refers to the member as one who has had an elicit affair with the world (James 4:4 AMP). This could not be me and I was doing all I could not to be placed in that category. Never did I think I was disappointing God anyway.

That young man that became a pastor, his wife left him. She was having an affair with his best friend. He thought they were devoted to each other but because his focus was completely on well intentions of being a good pastor, he neglected being a good husband. His devotion caused him much devastation. Does she have some fault in her actions? Of course and she will (if not already, if she has not repented) receive consequences for those actions. Nevertheless, this all could have been avoided.

It is good to be a devoted member in the body of Christ. We are all called to pray, worship, and give God the glory. We are also called to live a life of abundance. This is a life that is full, free, with nothing missing and nothing broken. We can travel, write, conduct business, and everything else our heart's desire. We must also be aware that all that our heart's desire has to be on a schedule in order for there to be balance. If you are not the type to have a daily planner, then don't forget to keep the Sabbath holy. Its a beginning, then give God all of the rest. This Valentine's Day remember to prioritize and keep it that way. God likes things in order and so should you.




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