The Gospel Prioritises Worship Over Work (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
This week with the new year coming I’ve been spending lots of time brainstorming and planning for 2022.
Lots of questions come to mind in seasons of planning like this
- What went well (and didn’t go well) last year?
- How can I do better?
- And what should be my ministry goals?
Along with this I try to create daily schedules that revolve around ministry habits. This doesn’t mean I can’t change the schedule, but it helps to have an idea of what would come next each day.
Things like evaluation, ministry schedules, and goals are very important because they help me become efficient. Or accomplish more things in less time.
When efficiency becomes the goal of ministry however, it creates serious problems.
Part of the new year is defining success, or asking “what will make this year successful ministry wise? The temptation with this is to focus on activities, such as the amount of hours spent working, or how many new ministries have been launched.
This is dangerous because it forgets God cares much more about my worship than my work.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is a very well known passage of Scripture because Jesus quoted it as part of the greatest commandment along with, “and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
These verses help us understand that God cared much more about the Jews heart relationship with Him, or level of commitment than their outward obedience. This is because it was possible for them to continue obeying the outer rules of the law such as giving sacrifices or attending feasts, and have a sinful heart.
Throughout Scripture God always placed a priority on worshipping Him above all other things. The first of the ten commandments is “thou shalt have no other God’s before me.” And through the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, God calls outwardly religious people to turn from their hidden sins.
Applying this to life and ministry means success should be defined not by how many hours I serve, but how close I am to the Lord.
Obviously this doesn’t mean I become lazy and never do any work…..
Instead it means that worship comes first.
Practically this calls me to prioritise habits that focus on spending time with the Lord.
- Deep Bible study
- Uninterrupted prayer
- Reading strong Christian books
- Furthering my theological education
- And Memorisation of Scripture, along with journaling
To describe it a different way, I must serve the Lord with a full spiritual cup. It’s only as my own cup has been filled by quality time with the Lord that I’m truly able to serve others effectively.