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FIRST-PERSON: Are you too busy to serve?

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (BP)–In the Book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ, the Lord says He is going to vomit one of the seven churches out of His mouth because they are lukewarm. Aren’t you glad you’re not a member of that First Baptist Church of Lukewarm? But, wait a minute, maybe you are a member of that church!

It’s pretty much a given to say that in most congregations today, 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work. So, most churches aren’t really dead; after all, 20 percent of the congregation is serving God. But the church sure isn’t on fire for the Lord. So, then maybe they’re “lukewarm.”

The simple truth is that most Americans are much too busy to serve God. We’ve become so complacent and comfortable enjoying God’s blessings that many have forgotten the first commandment. But surely you remember, right? “Do not have other gods besides Me” (Exodus 20:3).

So many of us have become so busy doing the insignificant that immorality and cults have grown to alarming proportions. And one reason for this is that often, advocates of depravity and cult activity are more zealous and dedicated to evil than some of us are given to good.

God doesn’t demand obedience, He asks for obedience. Could this be the reason so many believers don’t take God as seriously as we should? Considering obedience as “optional,” many become complacent about their lives as believers. And perhaps it’s for this reason that countless Christians simply ignore the very reason for their existence — to glorify God.

Without exception, God has a unique and meaningful plan for every believer, and it doesn’t depend on age, income or ability. In the Old Testament, Esther decided that she wanted to be used by God. And just as Esther did, every believer must decide either to be used by God or to be bypassed and another chosen instead.

What a disgrace it would be if we were to allow temporary comforts and laziness to rob us of true riches both now and for all eternity. “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, [it is clear] what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11).

In the parable of the sower (see Luke 8:1-15), Christ defined the thorns as worries, riches and pleasures of this world. At first glance, one might assume that committed service to God would yield peace — but peace that’s accompanied by poverty and blandness. At least, judging from the way Christians avoid total service to God, this would seem so. However, Jesus Christ said that total service to God would yield peace and blessings (within His will). “For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you” (Luke 12:30-31).

To a lesser degree, but just as misguided, there are Christians who apply themselves to fruitless efforts in the name of the Lord. They busy themselves to the point of exhaustion, going to conferences, countless church activities and serving on many committees. However, they are rarely, if ever, quiet enough for the Lord to direct them. Instead, they become irritable and often envious of others. Jesus told Martha, “You are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, she has chosen the good part and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).

As Christians, most of us wouldn’t refuse to do God’s will; it’s just that we think that sometimes His timing isn’t right. But when God calls us, He wants obedience first and worldly wisdom last. We have allowed the urgent things of this society in which we live to overshadow the important things. (See Luke 14:16-24.)

Just as God can multiply the fruits of our labor, He also can multiply the use of our time. Any good administrator knows that 10 minutes spent in productive effort is more valuable than two hours spent in confusion and frustration.

Therefore, one of the first things a busy, frustrated, overworked Christian needs to do is to dedicate the best part of the day, week, month and year to the Lord. Surely you can agree that we should never be so busy that we’re too busy to serve the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Howard Dayton is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries. Dayton and the late Larry Burkett joined forces in 2000 when Crown Ministries, led by Dayton, merged with Christian Financial Concepts, led by Burkett. The new organization became Crown Financial Ministries, on the Web at www.crown.org.

    About the Author

  • Howard Dayton