I want to thank the faithful ones. Those who attend church weekly, contribute financially to various church endeavours, volunteer at church bazaars, serve on church boards, and take their turn volunteering in Sunday School. There is no doubt. Your faithful service blesses the pastors of your faith community. Perhaps you are a staff member of your local church. God appreciates your service, and so do those who you lead.
Perhaps some of my faithful readers fit somewhere above, and yet, if truth be told, they’d admit that they feel an undercurrent of dissatisfaction, along with a hint of shame. You might not disclose it to another human being, and you are hesitant to approach God with the question, but you wonder. “Shouldn’t there be something more to all this?” “Maybe I am doing something wrong, maybe I am not doing enough, maybe I should resign myself to being a good person, and that’ll be enough. Maybe my busyness counts for something.”
I have good news for you! God doesn’t just want to use you, then place you on His workshop shelf until the next time He needs you. He loves you. God is in the business of wooing your heart. You are not just a pawn that He uses for His Kingdom. Think of it this way: you might appreciate a trusty hammer in your toolbox, but you’ll never have a heart-to-heart relationship with that hammer. While God might invite you to work alongside Him, He always does so with an open hand and a smile. “Come, let’s work together, child!”
God does everything with one goal in mind: to capture the hearts of His creation and to be in an intimate relationship with that creation.
Father God sent His Son as His ambassador in the flesh. Jesus showed through His words and His actions just how much the Godhead loved us. During His time on earth, Jesus was the perfect representation of God’s great love, passion, and commitment, drawing all humanity into His heart. Everything Jesus said and did was in direct response to His Father’s wish.
Jesus developed deep friendships with His disciples. It was not until He had established those deep friendships that He sent those disciples out to do His works. Upon their return, Jesus drew His disciples back into intimacy. He was, of course, pleased by their good works, but He focused on their heart relationships with Him and each other, ensuring those relationships were the best they could be.
If my thoughts resonate with you, I urge you to return to your first love. Remember what first drew you to Christ. Return to that awe-struck wonder when you first realized that the God of the universe loved you so much that He sent His Son to die in your place. Remember that hunger that drove you to learn more about the God who loved you so.
Perhaps some are reading this today who have never given their heart to God. You call yourself a Christian based on your baptism as an infant or your membership in a church community, but you wouldn’t exactly call yourself a Christ-follower. If you were honest with yourself, you’d probably say that you stumble along, following your agenda, assuming that if you live a ‘moral life’, that is good enough. On the outside, you put up a pretty good front, but you struggle with jealousy, bitterness, unforgiveness, and judgmental attitudes. You feel like you’ll never live up to being good enough to gain God’s approval. There is truth in that revelation.
We have all sinned, and we all fall short of the glory of God – God’s original intention for us.
We can do nothing to bring ourselves up to be all that God intended us to be. That’s why our loving God came up with the most incredible rescue plan of all time. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection place us in the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father, but only if we put our trust and lean against His truth. We can do NOTHING to earn His approval and love. He already loves and adores us. He’s just waiting for us to accept that invitation. “Follow me.”
I invite you to take the time now and pray a simple prayer to God, surrendering your heart to His care. Admit your shortcomings and be honest in expressing the disenchantment you feel about the way your life is going. There is no magic formula to pray, and there is no eloquence needed on your part. Follow your heart and speak its truth. God is particularly fond of those who speak from their heart!
Luke 12:9-14 – He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
©2022 Katherine Walden