“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
The zeal of Christ is what we should anchor our Christian devotion and service upon. When we observe his zealousness, behold his sacrifice, and realise its accomplishments, what more ought we to do than serve him whole heartedly. When you behold his zeal, its fire kindles upon you and you begin to burn.
Many times I see people in churches try to spur their brethren or members to a higher devotion in service, and trying to find an anchor on which they’d anchor their devotion, they start pointing to things that can’t even spur you to action. Sometimes you’d hear someone, trying to encourage people to evangelise, say in the cause of evangelism, you can get divine healing. Now they are presenting healing as a motive for devotion and service, but what if the people in question don’t need healing? They’d just sit there and do nothing, for evangelism is for those who need healing. Or maybe they need healing, but their being sick means little to them and won’t change no matter how much you try to convince them that they need to be healed. They’re quite okay with being sick and would rather live in that sickness than to go and preach the word. Other times they’d tell you about someone that was given a jeep while serving God. Or got a job, house, a toffee, or a plate of rice. That is what you get when you have carnal men going about a self assigned spiritual assignment. What if a man don’t care about these things?
In such cases, there is no good motivative factor for which a man would rise up and do the will of the master. When we do things for the Lord hoping to get something back (whether from men or from God), our motives are not pure. We are merely being selfish. Even though with this motive we accomplish all there is to be accomplished for Christ, it remains a sacrifice offered with a wrong motive. What can we expect from that? It’s simple, “The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?” (Proverbs 21:27). If we offer sacrifice in the wickedness of selfishness, that sacrifice is an abomination. Selfishness is the wickedness of idolatry, for we dethrone God from the centre of our lives and enthrone ourselves.
In his book, “Paradise Lost,” John Milton wrote, “…all who in vain things built their fond hopes of glory or lasting fame, or happiness in this or the other life; all who have their reward on earth, the fruits of painful superstition and blind zeal, naught seeking but the praise of men, here find fit retribution, empty as their deeds.” When we have wrong motives in service of any kind to God, our deeds are empty. We have nothing to wait for but retribution. I know that much of those who call themselves God’s ministers have led by a bad example in refusing to render service to God except they are paid. And they go as far as coining up doctrines to ensure that they are paid. Let’s not emulate that, but follow the perfect examples we find in scriptures in allowing zeal alone drive us on in service, and not seek for reward of any kind.
Jesus said, “But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:7 – 10). Not that he’ll not reward us, he is not unfaithful or unjust. In fact, the Bible is full of promises that the just will be abundantly rewarded beyond his imaginations, but when we serve, reward should not motivate us. Looking at his own zeal and what it has accomplished, let us lose focus of our own accomplishments for him seeing that it cannot even be compared. Unprofitable servants are we indeed, but we do not neglect to do our duty.
So I wish this appeal to fleshly things would stop and we begin to look upon the zeal of Christ and its accomplishments, and let it spur us to a full hearted and true hearted devotion to him. It flows naturally. It is either you don’t know of his zeal and its accomplishments, or you know about it but don’t really realise its magnitude so remain cold, or you know it and understand the immensity of its accomplishments and you in turn become zealous for him.
Understanding this, Frances Ridley Hevergal, wrote in her sweet inspiration-packed hymn,
“Half-hearted! Savior, shall aught be withholden,
Giving Thee part who has given us all?
Blessings outpouring, and promises golden
Pledging, with never reserve or recall!
“Half-hearted? Master, shall any who know Thee
Grudge Thee their lives, who has laid down Thine own?
Nay! we would offer the hearts that we owe Thee,
Live for Thy love and Thy glory alone.”
Sublime words of deep understanding those were. The passionate zeal of Christ and his accomplishments for us should be the very thing upon which we anchor our Christian devotion and service. May God help us to do just that and offer sacrifices out of a sincere motive in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayer: Dear Lord, give us a right anchor for our devotion and service to you. Let us not seek after foolish, vain, and carnal gain. Let us rather, let go of all things temporal to enable us serve you and be devoted to you, that we may gain all things eternal in Jesus’ name. Amen.