Recently I went back to a church that I hadn’t been to for a while, and overall I really enjoyed it and got a lot from it, some bits will take some getting used to but I enjoyed it and I connected with God personally. I left feeling excited by the word, I loved being in a room of people that (at least outwardly, who I am I to judge motif) seem to really love worshiping God, I left more on fire for Jesus than normal and the rest of the day went really well, I got done all the things I needed to do and then went to my own ‘regular’ church service at night. The issue was that things didn’t start off particularly positive for me at my own church. There are inevitable a few frustrations that come when you are serving in a church and others don’t pull their weight leaving someone else to pick up the slack because it has to get done. On the other side of the coin I did enjoyed the service more than normal and felt people were connecting with God far more than they had been for a while so it was great, but unfortunately the frustrations of ‘service to the service’ left more of a bad taste in my mouth than the comfort of worshiping at my ‘regular/home’ church. It leaves me with the question ‘How often does service to the church really distracts us from connecting with God?’
Even in typing that I can clearly see that if I were Satan that would be a perfect place to attack me, ‘Take an original gift of love to God, frustrate it, turn it to bitterness and resentment, then blame the service as the distraction as I slowly steal away faith, then get him to write about it, pull out of all service to the church, which will result in less attendance because of the fear of forced service out of duty and slowly take back the ground Jesus has gained’. Satan’s smart like that, I’m not dumb enough to miss that fact but it is still really frustrating to ‘serve the service’ (because someone has to do it) and have that overshadow the good things God has done in your midst.
Hense the reason we went to the other church, it was nothing special, just the fact that we could sit in the presence of God, worship uninterrupted and without the weight of expectation, absorb the word without distraction, respond without the need to be conscious of surrounds and time. We went to church for the first time in a long time not because we had to or it was ‘the right thing to do’, we went because we wanted to.
Even as I run out of time to write this I get more frustrated at having to go to work do to exactly the same thing, serve so that others may benefit, stop what I am doing so that I can go set up for something that should be an uplifting time of worship but instead has me starting my week bitter.
I’ll continue this thought at some stage, maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to share the answer to being ‘better not bitter’ but for now all I can ask is the strength to serve even when it is the last thing I want to do.
Lord God I ask that you would help me to serve you and not ‘serve the service’, Lord I ask that you would give me strength to put behind me the frustration that have gone before and to rise above to serve you as an act of worship, not as an act of duty. Give me moments of rest to just worship and not fret, give me time to just sit in your love without burden. Lord you desire our love not our service, Lord me find a place of balance where service can not bring down the greatness of who you are and what you’ve done for me. Lord help me to focus on the ‘better’ not the ‘bitter’.
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.
Just a Thought