Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lessons from the Sabbatical--October 3, 2013

Today I was confronted with my self-sufficiency and how it impacts the church we serve. This didn’t come from a situation, but as I was allowed time to ponder on something I was reading, I was reminded of a train of thought that I let go of several months ago.

I’m reading a lighter book for me at the moment. You will usually find me breaking a sweat over John Piper or reading through the copious footnotes that go along with John MacArthur, but I was given a book at a retreat and thought I’d give it a try. I’m reading The Well, written by the lead singer of Casting Crowns, Mark Hall. It is surprisingly refreshing but painfully convicting at the same time. Just my kind of book!
The chapter I am on right now is dealing with the hole of resourcefulness, or simply put: When I rely on me and leave God to the side. He talks about this from a personal point—how we tend to run our lives without God—but then links this to the American Church today.
“Our ingrained independence and self-sufficiency make it difficult for us to learn to wait on God, listen for His voice, and submit to His guidance.” –Mark Hall
And that’s when I found myself in the Hole of Resourcefulness. I have no problem showing up on a given Sunday, making coffee, folding bulletins, leading Kids’ Church, making announcements, answering questions, and host of other things while ignoring the One Who Called Me to service. I have fallen into a pattern of serving out of self, but that well runs dry constantly. I am drawing strength from a source that honestly has nothing to give on its own. Sure, I can go through all the motions and answer “fine” whenever someone asks me how I’m doing.
But I’m not fine. I’m tired. And you’re getting served by a woman who took no personal time with God this morning.
The whole thought process took me to Isaiah 29:13.
“Then the Lord said,
‘Because this people draw near with their words
And honor Me with their lip service,
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote.’”
My pattern of serving solo could easily fit into the “tradition learned by rote”. My ability to sing the words of songs in church while so distracted with things to do can be categorized as “lip service”. I’m just there, taking up a chair, but my heart is so far from the Source of my Strength. It’s not always like this, but lately it’s more the rule than the exception.
Hence another reason for the Sabbatical. It’s not just Trey who needs a rest; it’s me as well. And I need to gain some perspective along the way. It’s only Day 3, but I am already getting so much heart instruction simply because I have the time to be still.
And Today’s lesson is: God may have given you ability and experience to do His work, but you won’t be effective if you leave the Gift Giver behind.

No comments:

Post a Comment