Monday, January 17, 2011

Who God Is: My Joy

While I was doing my assignment in a coffee shop awhile ago, I couldn't help but hear conversations of people seated nearby. I was surrounded by people in their early 20's, both male and female, on fire for the Lord. At my right was a group of ladies sharing their joys of how God has blessed them in their lives. I heard them sharing stories of faith and blessings. I also heard them pouring encouragements to one another. One of the girls even proclaimed that she is now going full-time for the Lord. Although she admitted that she was a little bit fearful, her face, her words, her emotions showed that she was overwhelmed with joy. It was such a delightful sight.

Behind me was a group of four young professional men with their Bibles open. I heard one of them sharing about God's love. I didn't pry anymore on the details. But I guess, he has received it and is now very happy to share it. Beautiful.

I realized that many of us have forgotten about this pure joy. We have long outgrown the exciting passion that we once had experienced when we were newly reborn. Now, this is what my detective eyes have observed over the years. One of the main reasons why many of us do not experience this anymore as the "flame dies down" is mainly because we have become burdened and tired in our Christian life. Instead of taking our rest in Jesus who offers rest for the weary, Jesus has become the reason for us to be weary.

We join the ministries because we think it's for our own "growth." We serve with all that we can because God deserves perfection, if not, excellence. We plan an activity for Thursday and hold another activity on Friday, thinking that it is all for God anyway. We prepare the food so that no one will get hungry. We invite and welcome people in the registration table. We hurriedly coordinate who's next-in-line in the program. We get so busy. There must be no dead air. If someone couldn't serve as an officer, we join the team, because they need us.

We are ending up like Martha. Living the life of Martha is tiresome. Martha was the one who prepared for the whole fellowship event in her house. She had to make food from scratch for at least 12 (probably hungry) guests. She kneaded the dough with her bare hands. She had to make trips to the well for some water. She was basically "organizing the event" on her own.

Martha called her sister to help out. When Jesus heard her, you'd probably think that he would smile courteously and say "Thank you for welcoming us into your home, Martha. Go Mary, help your sister." But no, Jesus was against that idea. He said "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed-or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42). What is better then? What is that ONE Jesus was talking about?

To choose to be with Jesus.

Mary was at the Lord's feet, listening to Him. This is more important than serving. Jesus himself said so already! If you are part of any ministry, and yet have little to zero prayer life, I suggest that you take a retreat, meaning stop first from ministry and have a moment to listen to Jesus. Those in ministry, who are not Martha, will understand.

The joy in life, or in a church dwindle away when more Martha rise in action. Going to church, serving in a church, ministering will become a burden, instead of products of abundant joy. And because most people are tired from serving, they do not have the innate contagious joy that will draw believers and nonbelievers to God. If God for them is already burdensome, won't those who do not know God see Him as such as well (or worse)?

If you are convicted by this entry, let go of everything that you are doing. There is something more important. Take this time to pause and listen to what God has to say.

May you (re)discover the Joy in God today! God bless you!

Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. ~ Ecclesiastes 5:1

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