Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Keep it Straight and Simple


 I have a tendency to complicate things.

I have said that if there is a hard way to do something, I will find it. This is especially true if it has anything to do with mechanical "thing-a-ma-jigs" or numbers. Either one tends to short-circuit my brain.

Unfortunately, I also seem to complicate my life of faith. Lately I have been reading in Genesis and have so enjoyed the simple and straightforward faith of men like Noah and Abraham. They believed God, and they obeyed Him, even when such obedience drastically set them apart from their world.

And back then they had less peripherals to bolster their faith. There were no churches, weekly Bible studies, Bibles, radio evangelists, contemporary Christian music, e-devotionals, small groups, or a myriad of volumes on any topic of spirituality you can imagine. Perhaps that is why Jesus encouraged us to have faith like a child (Matthew 18:1-4). A child receives a word and believes it, usually with no questions asked, nor seeking for more assurances.

Last weekend I sent out an e-mail update, sharing what God has been teaching me concerning not confusing my priorities of ministry and my relationship with the Father who called me here. Here are some excerpts:

"This morning I read: 'Beware of any work for God which enables you to evade concentration on Him. A great many Christian workers worship their work.' (From "My Utmost for His Highest" - April 23)

"Ouch. That hurt.

"Finding value in what I accomplish is often a trap for me. At times I think, 'I am missionary. People are supporting me so I can get things done here. They need proof of their investment.' However, the truth is I am called by God (not by others) - just as you are, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ. God calls me foremost not to a task, a role or a mission, but to a relationship with Himself. And the overflow of the relationship with my Heavenly Father fuels and directs how I use my time, energy and resources. Lately, I have been reminded and challenged by these truths, especially as I enter a busy season here on the island.

"This past week marked the beginning of a new school year for many students, including our own who are attending Lingira Living Hope Secondary School. It is with excitement and some trepidation that I think about stepping back into my roles at the school - working in the financial office, teaching computer classes, and befriending and mentoring the girl students through the weekly Bible study and in some one-on-one discipleship. Honestly, sometimes I get overwhelmed - by the needs, by the culture, by what may be expected of me, by expectations I put on myself. 

"But again I am reminded, God is not looking to me for the results, but to be faithful in my relationship to Him, and in what He has called me to. Phew, that is a stress reliever.

"'There is no responsibility on you for the work; the only responsibility you have is to keep in living constant touch with God, and to see that you allow nothing to hinder your cooperation with Him...We have no right to judge where we should be put, or to have preconceived notions as to what God is fitting us for. God engineers everything; wherever He puts us our one great aim is to pour out a wholehearted devotion to Him in that particular work. 'Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.'" (From "My Utmost for His Highest - April 23)

In the busyness of life, don't forget your first priority - your relationship with your Creator. Everything else is secondary."

God has been confirming this lesson in so many ways recently that I could probably write several blog posts, but I will stop here. 

Wherever you are at, remember to first put God first.

Image Source: Microsoft Office Clip Art

6 comments:

  1. Ruthie, this is so true in my own life. And being distracted from the ultimate priority of my relationship with God? Happens more than I'd like to admit. Thank you for making me re-evaluate!

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  2. You are expressing very straight truth. With all the books, shows, songs, computer contacts and on and on, in some ways we are "ahead" of any of the past Christians who couldn't read and didn't have electricity in their lives. In other ways, we're worse off. It simply isn't simple. As you said, being a child is a good thing in terms of trusting and growing in the Lord. Life is complicated.

    Good thinking/sharing, Ruthie.

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  3. Mikaela, you are welcome! I have had a lot of "reminding" lately, but am so thankful God is gracious and patient!
    Joanne, when I look at Jesus' ministry and the ways God worked in the Bible, and even today, He often chooses to use simple means, yet they allow for greater demonstrations of His power. It is good to be reminded to keep things simple. Thank you for your comment!

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  4. Thanks, Ruthie. This is such a good reminder, and one I especially need. I tend to be very goal-oriented, but that means I focus on getting "____" done, instead of focusing on why I'm doing it (because Christ has called me to it, and I love Him). I appreciate this post and your email!

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  5. Yes, the simple. The straight and the narrow.

    That's our best path.

    Blessings.

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  6. Sarah, thanks for the comment! Indeed, it is better to focus on "being" than "doing."
    Very true, Darlene, Jesus did call us to walk the straight and narrow path. Thanks for the comment. :)

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