Are you dead in your ministry?
I admit that I have a tendency to do what they call "spiritualize" particular scripture passages. This may not be such a good thing, but it is a natural way for me to meditate on them.
This is not the same as interpreting them according to my own ideas--which is not okay--but it is a way of listening to see if God is speaking to me in them.
I do believe there are numerous places in scripture that are meant to be taken literally, but, because of the variety of writing within the books themselves, there are also books or passages that emphasize a particular message or point which may use figurative language.
An example of me spiritualizing scripture can be taken from the Book of Revelation, Chapter 2. The introductory passages are particularly powerful for me, even though they are addressed to the church in Ephesus.
From my perspective, I can relate these to ministry. Ministry can be challenging at times, making it difficult to stay uplifted in spirit. The words in Revelation here, are so helpful. We are reminded that God sees our endurance, our suffering, and our lack of weariness, and that is all well and good, but, as indicated, that is not the most important thing.
What we do have held against us is the loss of the love we had at first. We must realize in ministry how far we have fallen if we do a lot of work, but do not put love into it, or work out of a place of love.
Look again at the powerful words in Revelation Chapter 3, addressed to the church in Sardis. No mincing of words here! "I know your works, that you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Be watchful and strengthen what is left, which is going to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent."
Are you dead in your ministry? Are you angry or worn out? Do you find yourself growing cynical because you have seen and experienced too much of humanity?
The first step in returning to "the love we had at first" is to acknowledge the change in our attitude. Be aware, be watchful, protect yourself from falling.
If we turn off the distractions we invite into our lives, and we turn ourselves more and more toward God, he will restore that light we once had. He will renew our faith in Him, and in humanity.
None of what we do--absolutely none of it--matters if we do it without love.
As always, I welcome your comments.