Misguided Service

I was reading my Sabbath school quarterly on my phone one afternoon and there was a section which talked about misguided service.  Many of us tend to let our service for Jesus get
in the way of our relationship with Him.  We are so busy feeding people, ministering to them, witnessing to them that we don’t have time for Jesus. I am guilty of this.  Right now I am so preoccupied with helping others that I don’t spend any time with Jesus.  I miss those times when I used to sit quietly in the mornings, doing my devotional, enjoying His company.  I would talk to Him and then He would answer.  It was the perfect way to start each day.  Now, all I do is think about other ways I can help people.

There is no question that Jesus wants me to serve others.  He made this clear when He said to me, “Feed My sheep” but He doesn’t want my service to take the place of my relationship with Him.  He must be first in my life. Before the disciples went out to serve people and to tell them about the Gospel, they first had to spend time with Jesus.  He had to develop a relationship with each of them.  The command, “Follow Me” came before “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere” (Mark 16:15).

Nothing gives me greater joy than to serve the Lord but I have to make time for Him.  He didn’t allow His service to humanity to interfere with His relationship with God.  Immediately after Jesus fed the five thousand people, He made His disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake while He sent the people home. Afterward He went up into the hills by Himself to pray.  Night fell while He was there alone” (Matthew 14:22, 23).  Jesus sought His Father’s company after He took care of the needs of the people.  He managed to do both.  He was busy but never too busy for God.

We need to get our priorities in order.  It should always be Jesus first, others second and self last.  Jesus put God first, others second and self last.  Right now I am putting Jesus in the middle.  I know He misses our time together.  Lately, I have this gnawing sensation that He is asking me to put Him first in my life.  The Holy Spirit is working on me.  I keep hearing hymns about Jesus and I think about Him constantly.  I want to be like Mary.  She was always with Jesus every opportunity she got.

When Jesus was having dinner at her house, while her sister Martha was fussing in the kitchen, Mary was with Jesus.  Following the resurrection of Mary’s brother, Lazarus, a dinner was held in Jesus’ honor.  It was at this dinner that Mary anointed His feet with expensive oil from her alabaster jar.  When Judas, one of the disciples complained that the oil could have been sold and the money go to the poor, Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Leave her alone. She did it in preparation for my burial.  You will always have the poor among you, but I will not be here with you much longer” (John 12:7, 8).  Jesus was more important to Mary than the plight of the poor.  This is not to say that she didn’t care what happened to the poor.  She wanted to spend time with Jesus.  She wanted to show Him how much she appreciated Him.

Like Mary we should take time to show Jesus how much we love and appreciate Him.  My relationship with Him is what led me to want to serve Him.  I wanted to share His love with others.  I wanted to be His hands and feet by going into the community and helping people like He did.  But, I need to spend more time with Him.  I can well imagine Him saying to me what He said to Martha.  “There is really only one thing worth being concerned about” (Luke 10:42).  My relationship with Him is what really matters.  Everything else comes after.  Martha put serving Jesus first while her sister, Mary put Jesus first.  I want to put Jesus first again.  How about you?

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