"I am doing real ministry for the Lord. Look at the sacrifices I have made. Oh, and don't forget my kids. I mean they are in the cold, the heat, and anything in between all for the sake of the gospel. I have given up my plans for the holy sanctuary with new carpet and perfect seating for metal fold up chairs, poop on my shoes every other week, no covering and random communications that don't often register in my realm of understanding. Man, I am deep. It doesn't get any more like Christ than this!"
I don't for a second want to remain in that thought process. Because I can look at the person next to me and think I am doing more than them and so God is pleased. Whether you serve people in a trailer, on the street corner, in a house, in the smallest building or the largest, at the end of the day the Lord looks upon your heart(1 Samuel 16:7)! While we may look at ourselves and say "I am doing great things praise the Lord," God is looking at the heart of the matter. What is our heart speaking when our outward actions are all correct? This is the point.
I am ever before the Lord asking Him to keep me humble and looking to Him. That what I do as a result of my relationship with Christ is simply that... A Result, A By Product Never the Product Itself! The product itself.... intimate relationship with Christ, forgiviness of sin from the Father, a pardon and an embrace. Christ is the product. So, my prayer is don't get it twisted, Nicolle! I look through scripture and I see people who got it twisted because they looked at the by product. See Matthew 7:21-23. People were coming to the Lord saying "look we did this and that in your name". They thought because there was a result they were good. However, the truth was their hearts were FAR FROM GOD.
Such a dangerous place to be.
I think it is dangerous because you can be fruitful like the individuals in the text Matthew 7 and God's response could still be "DEPART FROM ME! I NEVER KNEW YOU!" That is very heavy to me. At the same time I know God used a donkey. So the Lord's purpose will be accomplished no matter what. The question is, "Are you a tool or a child?" I could pick up any tool to hammer a nail. My goal is the nail not the hammer. However I can't just pick any one to be my child. I only have three. As of this date that number is set and was set before the beginning of time. I have love and great concern for the child and not so much with the tool. The other difference between the child and the tool is relationship.
So I say to you and especially to me, "DON'T GET IT TWISTED!"! Continue to seek relationship with Christ so that your service to others is properly placed. It is a by-product, NOT THE PRODUCT ITSELF!