3 October 2016
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11 NIV11)
As Sandy mentioned in a previous minister’s letter at St Michael’s we are aiming to be more intentional with how we disciple by breaking up the year into four E’s. Engaging and Evangelising unbelievers, then Establishing believers and Equipping them to serve Jesus.
During this time, as we head into the summer months, we want to to Equip all of St Michael’s to be involved in lifelong service of Jesus. Some of us have been serving Jesus for a long time, how do we maintain our zeal for Jesus? Or better than that how do we grow in our eagerness and earnestness in living for Jesus and advancing his cause?
The answer according to Christopher Ash, author of the book “Zeal without Burnout”, is sustainable sacrifice. He uses Romans 12:1as his basis;
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
He writes, “A ‘living sacrifice’ is a strange expression. It means a sacrifice that goes on and on being offered, so long as life lasts.” In his book he covers a number of means to ensure a lifelong ministry of sustainable sacrifice. Underlying those means is the fact that we humans are mortal beings dependent on God and therefore need sleep, rest, friendship and inward renewal. He also identifies that what we don’t need are ungodly motives for serving Jesus like selfish ambition and the desire for praise from people.
Christopher Ash sums it all up really well in the conclusion of his book encouraging all Christians to say to ourselves the following:
“I am —and will never, this side of the resurrection, be more than —a creature of dust. I will rest content in my creaturely weakness; I will use the means God has given me to keep going in this life while I can; I will allow myself time to sleep; I will trust him enough to take a day off each week; I will invest in friendships and not be a proud loner; I will take with gladness the inward refreshment he offers me. I will serve the Lord Jesus with a glad and restful zeal, with all the energy that he works within me; but not with anxious toil, selfish ambition, the desire for the praise of people, and all the other ugly motivations that will destroy my soul. So help me God.” (p114)