Monday, February 6, 2023

Hiring Out Your Quiet Time

Suggested Reading: Ezekiel 44:6-14

My wife and I share a dream, a dream that one day we will be able to walk in the door and our entire house will be clean, a dream that it will happen every day, a dream that we won't actually have to be the ones to clean the house, a dream that we will be able to afford a maid. We don't mind cleaning the house, but we could do without having to wash the dishes every night and it would be nice to have someone wash, fold, and iron the laundry for us. If only we had the money to pay someone to do it for us.

While many of us probably share that dream when it comes to housework, there are other areas of life where paying someone to do the job for you simply doesn't work. One of those areas is in our relationship with God. In Ezekiel 44:8, God was listing a number of complaints about Israel's faithfulness and he specified this one: "You have not kept charge of My holy things but have appointed others to keep charge of My sanctuary for you" (HCSB). The people had decided that it was too much of a hassle to do the things God had asked them to do, so they hired out people to do what they must have considered the mundane tasks. Somehow, they missed the point that doing the tasks of worship was just as important as the tasks being done.

Just as no one can exercise for you or shower on your behalf, no one can live a life of worship for you. Yet churches act like they can all the time by hiring staff to do the work of the ministry for them. They bring in a pastor who can reach the lost for them or visit their neighbors for them. But the task of a pastor is to "set an example" (1 Timothy 4:12) to be followed by the church, to equip believers to do these things for themselves.  Far too often, we want to hire someone to do the ministry that God has strategically placed us to do. No one else has the relationship with your co-workers that you have; no one else lives closer to your next-door neighbor than you. No one else encounters the exact same people that you do every day. God has given you your life story and then strategicaly placed you to encounter people with whom that story will connect. God has allowed you to see that family's need because you can do something about it.

We might be able to hire out our house-cleaning, but it is impossible to hire someone to live the life of service and ministry into which God has created and placed you. No one else can do it for you.

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