Action: the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim; a thing done, an act. If there is one things our culture admires, it is action and achievement. That is what this last week of our Be-Loved series is about—love in action. It is about moving in partnership with God into the fullness of our destiny and purpose.
We’ve spent the last several weeks pressing into His heart and getting to know Him in every season. We’ve looked at the intimate opportunity of sharing His suffering, we’ve looked at finding Him hidden in the waiting, and last week, we talked about sharing His triumph. However, once we are secure in who He is, and who we are to Him, we also need to find out what we were created to do.
Unfortunately, we often put the cart before the horse and try to start figuring out what we’re supposed to do before we’re secure in who we are. Remember the big take-away from the very first lesson? Intimacy with God is never based on performance. We have to know who we are and whose we are—without a single achievement—before we can move into a place of true partnership with Him. Being able to fulfill our unique calling in the context of intimate relationship and partnership, is the very thing we were created to do.
It will look different for each of us. Remember when Jesus restored Peter? (see John 21). Peter was curious about things he had heard about John. But what did Jesus say? “You, follow me!” We need to finish the work we’re personally called to—not someone else’s. Learning to walk in the unique calling upon our own life, while allowing others the freedom to walk as He leads them, is critical to the maturing process of any sincere lover of God.
Luke 10:38-42 illustrates this point so well:
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Emphasis mine.)
Sometimes I think Martha gets a bad rap. She loved Jesus and wanted to serve Him–just like so many of us. But, also like so many of us, she allowed the service itself to block her view of the One she desired to serve.
Basically, she got her priorities messed up.
She got her priorities messed up, because she wasn’t yet secure in His love. Her cry of “doesn’t it seem unfair!” is pretty much the rallying cry of every orphaned spirit. Since Martha didn’t know who she was herself, she was not at all happy about allowing Mary the freedom to be who she was.
That was the real problem. It wasn’t that Martha was serving instead of sitting with Jesus–it was the attitude of her heart. She was wired to serve in practical ways. That’s a good thing. Mary was more of a contemplative and wired to serve Him in very different ways. That is also a good thing.
What’s not a good thing is when we try to impose our calling and predisposition upon someone else.
There is a place for all of us to serve. The harvest is plentiful. But the passage about the harvest in Luke 10 (and Matthew 9) says that we should pray and ask the Lord to send laborers into the harvest field.
-Not just those who want to go
-Not just those who are willing to go
-But those who are sent
There is a difference. If we jump into service without maintaining a close enough connection with Him to know we’re being sent, it’s kind of like unloading a barrel of buckshot. If you aim broadly enough, you just might hit something. You just might do some good.
But it will never be the best.
It’s a different story when we’re sent. Being specifically sent from the presence of God is like an arrow shot from His heart. It always hits the target. The fruit is always good.
We’re all in process. Wanting to serve God is a good thing. It means we’ve managed to find our way out of the “consumerism Christianity” that plagues so much of the western church. If we wait until we think we have it all figured out before we take any action, we might never do much of anything. We all learn and grow along the way.
But when you find yourself repeatedly stretched too thin, or burned out, or “worried and upset over all the details” –chances are you’ve forgotten “there is only one thing worth being concerned about.”
And that “one thing” is sustained and intimate heart-connection with the One we were created to know.
As Proverbs 4:23 says: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Mary got that. Martha struggled, but I think she got it eventually. We can get it eventually too.
You do have an assignment on this earth. Love does look like something. First of all, it looks like:
~Knowing who you are to Him
Then–from that secure place of identity–from that place of allowing yourself to “be-loved”–love looks like making Him known.
Love looks like making Him known for who He truly is by releasing an authentic representation of His love through your life.
When each of us fulfill our unique role in doing that....
The whole world will “be-loved.”
Here is the podcast link: Be-Loved week 5, “Love in Action”
And the SoundCloud link: