Deuteronomy 6:4–9 ‘Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.’ (vv4–6)
A podcast by Christian artist Jonathan Pageau reminded me of the words of Ambrose of Milan, ‘It is a noble thing to do one’s kindnesses and duties toward the whole of the human race. But it is ever more seemly that you should give to God the most precious thing you have, that is, your mind, for you have nothing better than that. When you have paid your debt to your Creator, then you may labour for humanity.’ Written in AD 397, these words resonate today. There is a danger that we dethrone God to serve well-intentioned projects helping the needy. Whilst worthy, they remain impoverished gestures without devotion to God our Creator.
We will face confusion as Christians as we come under pressure to serve the needs of the marginalised at the expense of worshipping God, the pinnacle of all that there is and worthy of our praise. It’s perhaps easier to do good deeds than worship the unseen Creator, yet without God, we have nothing and remain nobody. All meaning is forged within God’s heart, and only as we ourselves are washed in the waters of baptism can we become a source of hope to those we seek to serve.
There are moments in our lives when we must put God ahead of the moral and ethical demands of Scripture, for in denying God we extinguish the light of God’s Word and the biblical ethical framework collapses. This has implications as we engage a secular world with the Jesus gospel.
SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Ps. 63:1–5; Prov. 8:12–36; Luke 9:57–62; John 15:9–19.
AN ACTION TO TAKE: Is prayer as an expression of your worship the priority in your daily life? If not, why is that? Loving God and surrendering entirely is the source of our strength in God.
A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, may I learn to worship You as my highest good, and the basis from which I can serve the world practically and effectively. Amen.’