Love the Lord your God with all your heart
One of my favourite TV programs as a child was Cracker Jack. I still remember the kids at the end of the program – standing in a row, with their arms outstretched. They were ready to balance whatever was placed in their hands….in a matter of minutes they were holding a multitude of toys and also the odd cabbage, which was the penalty for getting something wrong. As the game progressed, often what the children were trying to hold onto rose way over their heads and you couldn’t even see who they were anymore. At that point, they would often start to tremble and then everything would come crashing down around them, narrowly escaping breaking the odd toe.
In Ministry, we have something much more precious than toys and cabbages placed in our hands. One person, then another, then another, then another and another…… We long to hold each person well and aim not to lose a single one. How many can we love well, before we feel as if we are way over our heads and everything comes crashing down around us? There isn’t much risk of getting a broken toe but the risk of getting our hearts broken and burned out in the process is real.
Time to pause take a deep breath and consider that before we are called to love anyone, we are first to “love our Lord your God with all your heart”. It is only while our relationship with God is right that we can possibly love all those who are placed in our hands. “We love because He loved us first.” (1 John 4:19).
Everything we do must begin and end and flow from God’s love for us and from our response to love Him with all our hearts.
Can we humanly do this?
No, we will always fall short…. but we were never asked to do this humanly, we were asked to do it supernaturally. On the day of Pentecost Jesus opened a valve from heaven and that valve has remained open so that the Holy Spirit can come upon us and permeate our whole being. He melts our hearts and empowers us to do what otherwise would be impossible. We all need Him. His rain from heaven waters all our dry places, floods our valleys, fills our pools and washes away hurts and refreshes our ability to love as what falls on us flows out from us. Without the Holy Spirit we would have to settle for a natural human level of love, with Him there is no limit.
Today you may feel as if you are in way over your head and ministry is all becoming too much. Your heart may have become hardened because you fear being hurt again and you’re burnt out. It is time to nurture your relationship with God. Here are a few suggestions-
- Return to your first love and focus upon Him and Him alone.
- Find your place of worship, where it’s not about others but all about God, where He gets all of you.
- Let others minister to you and be filled again by the Holy Spirit that you are overwhelmed by His love and delight in you. Let Him take you to a place where you can love Him once again with all your heart.
Only from this place can we be ready to love whoever He places in our hands without the need to receive anything from them in return as we will have all we need in God.
Love our amazing all-powerful God with all your heart.