To be honest, it has been an interesting journey over the past 43 years. I have served for over twenty years in Pastoral ministry, over eleven years as the director of a prayer ministry working with churches and intercessors all across the country. Now seeking to begin a ministry on my own is a daunting undertaking, especially in these times, and with so many ministries trying to speak out their own particular calling and burden. Your Servant in Christ Ministries is really born out of my heart to love the King, and serve His Church. And if you read through our website, you will find that the first thing that I seek is to help people fulfill what Jesus called the “First and greatest commandment,” to love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind (Matthew 22:37).
Why start here? Isn’t this self evident? If we desire to be on the road toward personal and community transformation, wouldn’t loving the Lord, of course, be our primary motivation? Am I assuming that we don’t? Do I risk offending sincere people by making some kind of assumption that our love is askew? Well…. maybe. Even as I asked those things of myself, it was almost like I was offended at myself for asking the questions! Of course I love the Lord! But let’s step back and look closer.
Jesus’ command to love the Lord first, is directed not so much at our emotions as our will. It means that we esteem Him above all other things in our hearts, our souls and our minds. I start here because I know in my own life, and as I have observed life and ministry over the years, that this is probably the easiest part of our Christian life to let slip. My total devotion to the Lord is most likely the first to be subdued by duties, other affections, appetites, and ambitions. How sad it is to look across the Christian landscape and see time after time, lives ministries, and churches that have been overcome by keeping the “machine” running, or keeping up appearances. How easy it is for us to expend more energy defending territory or trying to take more territory than in cultivating our love for the Lord. The very successful church in Ephesus had, over time, allowed the right doctrines, and discernment to allow that “first love” to fall into disrepair. Why should be think that we would be any different? If we are honest with ourselves and before the Lord, we know we are just as vulnerable.
Next week I want to look at what this loving the Lord will ALL our heart and soul and mind might look like, but let me conclude with one simple question. It is a question that was posed to the Apostle Peter by the risen Lord Jesus Christ. It is a simple question, but it is the most profound and deep-reaching question that we must continually ask of ourselves. No matter how successful, or busy, or sincere we are, we must always be confronted with this question over and over again. It is Jesus’ question, “(put in your name)… do you love me more than these?”
Get in a quiet place, shut out the distractions for a while and answer this question for yourself today. “Do you love me more than these?”
Then let’s come back and talk some more…