“Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live…” Ezekiel 33:11
I heard again recently, that old saying, “I’d rather burn out, then rust out.” It has a gallant, noble ring to it, for sure. Part of us responds with, “Yes, let me also go out in a blaze of glory!” The danger is that this sentiment can have more to do with our pride and personal ambition, then with what God is actually asking of us. It is the joy of being born again and loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, that empowers and propels us to love and serve our neighbours as ourselves. We certainly don’t want to fanatically, or sadistically, work and work and wear ourselves out for God, especially if it’s only so that we can look good in doing it.
Nevertheless, there is also the danger that we become so concerned about ‘burning out’ that we become callously unconcerned that great numbers of people are at risk of burning on and on in torment and suffering, eternally separated from God. General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, once stated that if the curtain of Hell could be pulled back for just a brief glimpse, Christians would turn the world upside down in an effort to reach others with the gospel.
I don’t think it was General Booth’s motivation, and I cringe at the thought of those who use the horrors of hell like a rod to beat Christian consciences into action. Sadly, however, many churches and some Christian organizations have experienced mission drift. It’s the danger of losing sight of the primary mission of the church, which is to proclaim and share the gospel. Jesus first loved and rescued us when we were hopelessly perishing, so with deep love and gratitude in return we are to be on mission with Jesus in reaching and rescuing others.
We are inclined to sleep and slide away from our primary mission. Let’s then remind ourselves, and encourage one another, to be ambitious for his glory alone and to never lose sight of the truth that God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
As we especially ponder, pray, and plan the events and ministries for the fall, may God stir us, wake us, and give us a loving, missional heart like his in all we do.
Thanks for meandering along with me,