Christian Work vs. Christ
Whether you are involved in Christian ministry like me, or you are working a secular job (also like me) but accomplishing great things for God, here’s a caution I received today from good ole Ozzy (not Osborne) that applies to us all. The caution is toward the tendency to emphasize Christian work over Jesus – the tendency to focus on the work of the ministry more than on Christ Himself.
Let it be said first off that, yes, He left us here on this earth to accomplish great things for the kingdom of God. We shouldn’t debate that point. However, our focus on Christian work should never take precedence over our knowledge of Christ. We must never be more intimately acquainted with our work than we are with Christ. I know it happens because I personally deal with this. I constantly have to shift my focus away from Christian work and back on Christ. And I’ve seen it happen time and again with friends in ministry.
Paul, the man who accomplished more work for God than any other who has followed him said that. He said his goal was to know Him. His goal wasn’t to do great things for God, though that followed. His goal was knowing Him. It was only after knowing God and then continuing in his knowledge of God that Paul was able to then focus on the work of God. I get it backwards sometimes. I put the cart before the horse.
To illustrate: On several occasions when we’ve traveled I’ve lead worship in settings where I had no idea who my audience was. I had no prior connection with these people. I was given no instruction ahead of time from the pastor or man in charge about what to expect from the congregation. On most occasions I can honestly say that it failed miserably. I put the cart before the horse. I tried to lead a congregation into the presence of God without knowing who they were, what things they were dealing with, or where they were in their standing with God. In many cases, I regret to say that I cared less about my audience than I did about doing my job. My focus of the task preceded my knowledge of and care for my audience.
In a spiritual sense, God is my audience. And every time that I begin to focus on what I do for Him rather than simply on Him, the act always goes bad. And so God patiently reminds me over and over again that He is to be the object of my devotion, the goal of my knowing, the end of my striving – not the stuff I do for Him.
Thanks Ozzy for the reminder.
“In Christian work the initiative is too often the realization that something has to be done and I must do it. That is never the attitude of the spiritual saint; his aim is to secure the realization of Jesus Christ in every set of circumstances he is in.” —My Utmost For His Highest