For the first sermon of 2014, our pastor preached about two words that captured his personal desire and his aim for the church this year:
“READY” and “BURNING.”
As he offered time for response, I considered my spirituality. Why don’t I feel like I am “burning” for God? With my role on our worship ministry, past experience as a lead worshiper, and a blog name like “SonWorshiper” you’d think maybe I’d be all God, all the time.
But that’s not how my days play out.
All too often, I keep God in the “church” box. I block off calendar events based on what area of responsibility they fall under – work, church, personal, family. Frequently it seems I adapt my actions the same way.
I’m at church, so it’s time to be smiley, helpful, and religious.
I’m at work, so it’s time to focus on results, effectiveness, and the mission.
I’m in public with my kids, so it’s time to be the nice Dad.
I’m at home, so it’s ME time, stop interrupting my video games!
I thought about the intermittent spiritual fire I experience — naturally I was thinking about that because it was church and you spend church time thinking about churchy things you don’t have to think about throughout the week. I came up with a picture of my problem.
The pastor’s chosen verse mentions servants who keep lamps burning, ready and waiting for their master. Fire is necessary, to stay burning.
And today, fire is so easy to come by. Flick a lighter and I’ve got it. Turn a switch on the gas stove and the burner comes to life. I’ve got lighter fluid and matches, or a long-barreled lighter, so I’m ready to barbecue.
Fire is available whenever I want, so the thought of it going out doesn’t bother me.
As a Christian in America, spirituality is everywhere. Need a pick-me-up? Put in a Christian CD, or download a song off iTunes. Or listen to one of the many Christian radio stations.
Get devotions from anywhere online. Have them e-mailed to you. Or get a spiritual tweet. In fact, follow a bunch of your religious favorites, and your Twitter feed will be full of nuggets of wisdom to digest whenever you need a spiritual snack.
If you want more to think about, read a blog or ten. Watch the Christian channels on Cable. Check out some YouTube videos of worship songs or sermons. Download a cool app with a Scripture reading plan or flash cards for memorization. Or if you feel old-school, pick up a Bible and a highlighter.
It’s all around us, so it’s easy to take for granted.
My oldest son is on a Man vs. Wild kick, and he has even built himself a survival kit. This calls to mind my own survival training for the Air Force.
When you’re out in the cold, with limited supplies, suddenly fire matters. It’s your life.
It takes time to build. It takes effort and vigilance to maintain. You don’t let it die, or you die.
Why do I think my spiritual fire is less important?
What do you think? How does one stay burning for God? Or is that even necessary?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment.