Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fan It Into Flame

I find it disturbing when church becomes a thing we tolerate. Some people treat it like a dentist appointment; they go but only because they must. Church becomes a social obligation, something to be done with the family, something we do because it has always been a tradition since childhood. There is not excitement, expectation or joy in the act of worship but it is more an interruption to our week. Even a watered down version of this sentiment is sad because it is evidence that such people who fill churches have never encountered Jesus.

It is a far cry from how Jesus described a person who had discovered the Kingdom of God:

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." (Matthew 13:44-46)

From everything Jesus describes, the discovery of the truth is an exciting event. Here he describes it as discovering a great treasure. Of course we will do whatever is required to possess it. In other places he describes discovering the love to cause all other love we may have to pale in comparison. In fact, Jesus says that all other love will appear like hate in comparison. He refers to the Kingdom provoking such a love from us, it will consume our heart, mind, soul, and strength. It is no small thing when we discover the truth of Jesus.

It is sad when we start losing that excitement and anticipation. It is sad when we start going through the actions with no real heart for the matter. It is sad when we sit, feeling empty and alone when there is such vibrant life taking place all around us. The reason this happens is because we forget that such a treasure requires us to forsake everything else to possess it. We start off well but then we start trying to have the best of both worlds. We start to compromise our love. We try to take back some of what we had sold to possess the treasure.

It's craziness. There is nothing we have given over, to possess this treasure in the first place, that is worth losing the treasure to try to repossess. Would we really give up the love of a good woman for a hockey game? Would we really give up the love of a good man over "girl's night out"? The answer is yes, if we were foolish enough to allow our love to fade so that it took second place to other interests; selfish interests. The more we allow this to happen, the more we allow that love to take second place, the further we move away from it.

Over time treasure can lose its value to us when we allow it to lose its significance; when we forget how precious it was to possess; when we stick it in a closet somewhere instead of keeping it on display. The value of the Kingdom of God only remains significant as we grow in Jesus. When we allow other things to become of greater value, greater importance, the significance fades. We may continue with the act but there is no substance to it. It never comes to an abrupt end; it always fades with the passage of time and neglect. The power becomes less, the love diminishes, the significance weakens, and other, less powerful, less important things takes its place in our hearts and minds.

To retain the excitement of what we have forsaken everything to possess we must keep our love for it alive. Do not stop diving head first into worship. Make worship part of your day, the most significant part of your day. Make it exciting. Dance! Sing! Pray! Study! Surround yourself with fellow disciples of Jesus. I say disciples instead of believers because anyone can believe and yet not be in love with Jesus. Disciples are people of action, and they are exciting to be with:

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Just as including your spouse in your day keeps your love alive so does including Jesus in everything you do. Talk to him throughout your day. Ask him for council in the decisions you have to make. Thank him throughout the day for everything you experience and receive. Talk about him with people, whether they are disciples or not. Be excited about talking about Jesus. Ask him to open your eyes to see his hand and presence in everything around you. As you do these things and more, the treasure you possess will not only remain exciting to possess but will grow in value. Do not allow such an exciting thing to diminish in worth through the neglect of time. Fan it into flame, pour your heart into it, give it center stage in your heart and you will soon discover that Jesus will glorify himself through you. There is no greater honour than this.


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