Friday, March 28, 2014

Routine or Relationship

     I had the privilege to grow up in the home of a sergeant in the United States Army. If there is anything you can say my home had growing up, it was discipline and structure. My dad would not settle for anything done half-heartedly or half-effort. He wanted everything done the best that it could be done; if I did not do it up to his standards, I would then have to go back and re-do the job until he was pleased. This not only applied to the work I did with him around our house, but it also applied to anything I did with him while at church. I remember so many times trying to rush through a job whether it was vacuuming or cleaning windows and him sending me back to do it again because he knew I either rushed through it, I did not care about how I worked, or I did not really want to do the job anyways. In spite of all my present grumbling and complaining, my dad was teaching me a very valuable lesson which I still hold on to today in the work I do or the work that someone else does under my watch. That lesson was to do your work because you love Christ and want to please Him instead of just doing a job because my dad told me to do it. He told me so often that we were doing what we were doing for Christ and not for men. As an older person now, I have put that lesson that my dad taught me into a saying that I use often and one that I teach to the teens of my youth group. That is, "Do what I do for Christ out of a Relationship with Christ and not out of a Routine for Christ." All I do in the Christian life should be because I love Christ and not because it is on my to-do-list. 
     You might think that I am not for to-do-lists or routines. That is a wrong thought; I am for routine. I am for to-do-lists. My pastor gives me a to-do-list and tells me to have a routine for different items. Routine and discipline are important and needed, but they ought not be the main reason we do what we do in the Christian life. Two verses in the Bible that come to mind to help emphasize this truth are:

"So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do." -Luke 17:10

"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love." -Revelation 2:4

     When we do what we do out of a routine, we basically just do what is needed. In other words, to quote Jesus, we do "our duty." If we as Christians just do our duty to do what we are commanded, we are unprofitable to Christ. Christ has called us to an abundant life. Christ has called us to a life above normal, above status quo, above duty only, above a routine. He has called us to a life far greater than ourselves. To live this life the right way, we cannot just do a duty or routine. 
     Jesus scolded a church for their lack of a relationship. He praised them highly for their stand, their service, and their spirit; but he rebuked them because they lost their love. They became more concerned with their reputation and their routine of doing right that they neglected and disregarded their relationship. They lost their love for the Saviour. They got so busy doing right that they forgot the One Who is Right. Do not let your routine take precedent over your relationship. I have a relationship with my wife so I want to do everything I can to make her happy and pleased. I do this though not for my benefit but for hers. Our relationship with Christ is no different. We do what we do out of love for His benefit and to please Him rather than pleasing ourselves. May God help all of us guard against having a routine instead of having a relationship in the days and months ahead. I truly believe that more Christians can make a greater difference in this world if they truly do what they do out of a right motive.      

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