This morning, a line from Oswald Chamber’s “My Utmost for His Highest” challenged me. Chamber wrote:
The aim of the spiritual saint is ‘that I may know Him.’ Do I know Him where I am today? If not, I am failing Him. I am here not realize myself, but to know Jesus. 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; [their] aim is to secure the realization of Jesus Christ in every set of circumstances [they] are in.
Ouch. Talk about a morning wake up a call.
Chambers doesn’t hold back on the punched. Pulling from Philippians 3:10, Chambers writes that our chief vocational calling is to know Christ. Everything in our lives, and our ministries, falls second to our primary calling of knowing Jesus and growing in our relationship with the Lord.
How easily we can forget this. How easily I can forget this.
In our modern way of ministry and life, it is easy to think that my primary objective is to be “doing something.” The busy pastor, or servant, is the one who is the most productive and doing the best job for the Lord. At least, that is what we convince ourselves. We can get so caught up in the busyness of ministry that we forget that our main purpose is to know Christ. Pastors are going to be busy, but being busy should not be our aim.
Sometimes, the reason we forget our first calling, our First Love, is the need to be valued and appreciated for the hard work of ministry. We want people to see us out and about and doing things so we can hear people say, “Job well done.” This is a temptation we can all fall into. When it no longer becomes about Christ but about our need to be honored, we miss the point of true servant ministry.
We cannot expect to be fruitful servants of the Lord, no matter if we are pastors or lay people, if we are not growing in our love of Christ. Loving Christ, first, should be the object and devotion of our days. True ministry is about our first calling (loving Christ), which produces the fruits of our second callings (our specific vocational callings).
Today is a great time to examine your callings. Are we truly seeking to know the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength? Or, are we too busy working for the Lord that we forget who the Lord truly is?