You know, when the Lord decides you need some pruning so that you can do some growing He really doesn't mess around. I've been getting pruned lately. It's been painful, humbling and freeing all at the same time. It has also made me assess my preconceived notions of what valid service to the Lord is.
I think that a lot of us see valid service as being anything that is done in, around or for the benefit of the church. Many times it has a title or lable attached, such as, pastor, Sunday school teacher, elder, deacon, deaconess, Bible study leader, etc, etc, etc. Certainly it is an honor from God if you are in any of those positions...however they are not the only areas of valid service. What about the person who cleans the church every week, or folds and stuffs bulletins, or makes coffee and cookies, or wipes a runny nose, or helps an older person across the parking lot? "Yes, you say. "that's valid service!"
Alright, we agree that those small areas of service are just as much ministry as the more prominent areas. Now, does ministry only take place at the church building? "Well no," you say. "there are those who visit the sick at the hospital, or the person on the prayer chain, or taking a meal to a family in need." Yes, I agree, those are valid service too.
Okay, what about the Mom at home, trying to raise her children to be Godly in a world that is doing everything it can to contridict the Bible and what it teaches? Is that ministry? Is that service? What if that Mom decides not to do church service but simply concentrate on what she has before her at home? Is she still doing ministry? If she chooses not to be at church every time the doors are open is she any less spiritual than the person who is at church every time the doors are open? If what she does is not as obvious to everyone around her is it still ministry? Is it still service?
These are questions that I have been wrestling with lately and here is the conclusion I have come to. (Actually, I have not come to these conclusions on my own...the Lord led me to them, to reinforce His call on my life, for this season of my life.)
Yes, it is still ministry and service if I choose to do it in my home and for my husband and children.
No, I'm not any less spiritual if I don't do it at church. I'm not any less spiritual if I'm not at church every time the doors are open.
So the Lord has been pruning church activities out of my life. It's kinda weird but I like how it is challenging my preconceived notions of what ministry and service are. I'm doing exactly what the Lord has called me to do. To raise my children in the grace and admonition of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 6: 4 - 7 tells me, "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."
I'm clinging to these words as I walk this path the Lord has layed before me.