Sometimes my wife, Rose, and I have intense discussions about how awesome of a husband I am. Well, actually, that’s usually my side of the argument. Her side can sound a little different. I am learning that I don’t get to decide how good I am doing, she does. Her side usually includes challenging my schedule and words like “never at home” seem to often get repeated. Submitting to that evaluation can be tough. It makes me feel exposed and vulnerable.
In the beginning of The Book of Revelation, Jesus is evaluating His bride. If I stood before Jesus and He recognized my hard work, tenacity, support and fortitude; I’d feel pretty good. I put a high premium on hard work and finishing tasks. The Church at Ephesus had all these positives, but Jesus commanded them to repent. Why?
Although they were busy, they stopped loving.
A Christian leader I greatly respect recently made the assessment that the greatest temptation and threat we are facing in the modern church is the trap of busyness. More so than the sexual temptations of our day, he identified busyness as the trap robbing us of our destiny. Our calendars are full and we often move through them like prickly dried husks: easily scratched, easily offended, and easily burnt. Especially during busy seasons (a euphemism for misplaced priorities, I think). Or maybe that’s just me.
The being vs doing distinction can be a gut punch to those of us in the Technical Arts. We are naturally often more Martha than Mary. We want to argue that we are wired this way, although that does not let us off the hook. I have to confess that I often use my technical area of ministry as a way to avoid people. Instead of greeting people and ministering God’s love, I prefer to piddle in the sound booth, fiddling with some incredibly important, completely irrelevant preoccupation. My rationalization is that God knows I love Him and am doing this work for Him. He can respond with a reminder of His words to Peter, “If you love me, take care of my sheep.” (John 21) or “I hold this against you, you have forsaken your first love. (Revelation 2)
In neither of these stories is there a hint of condemnation. Jesus’ confrontation offers new life.
Jesus desires a relationship with you that is so extraordinary it will last forever. He created you to love you!
I encourage you to submit to the evaluation. My Easter prayer for you is that God would breath new life into dry husks, new fuel onto dwindling flames and restoration where there is emptiness; but even more, I pray that we would reject this trap of the enemy that robs us of our joy and destiny.