If you asked me to list some awesome, but unnecessary, things God did when creating the Earth, right near the top of the list (even ahead of the design of owls and the smell of really good fried chicken) I’d put the fact that water (even really dirty water) turns pure white at the top of waves and when it flows over rocks. Seriously–why should it do that?! That is nothing but pure style on God’s part.
If you asked me to list some of the awesomest Christian doctrines that are totally unlike other religions, right near the top of the list I’d put the fact that the playing field is totally level in everything that God really cares about.
Jesus said that the whole law and the prophets hangs on these two commandments–to love the Lord with all your heart all your soul, with all your mind and all your strength. And the second like it–love your neighbor as yourself.
The ramifications are, really, quite dizzying.
If, ultimately, ministry and worship can be simply defined as the Christian’s obedience to these two commands, then you can’t even begin to imagine a scenario where someone or something can preclude a truly born-again believer from being able to hit it out of the park at any bat. While education, resources, particular circumstances or environments can have a huge effect on the earthly impressiveness of our actions, God doesn’t concern himself with earthly impressiveness. Man looks at the outward appearance but our Lord Father looks at the heart.
The command is to love Him with all your (not someone else’s) heart. This is great news for the profoundly wounded and autistic brethren.
The command is to love Him with all your (not someone else’s) soul. This is great news for those raised in harsh, non-Christian environments who had a poor spiritual formation until salvation later in life.
The command is to love Him with all your (not someone else’s) mind. This is great news for the saints with low-IQs and others who had no opportunity for education.
The command is to love Him with all your (not someone else’s) strength. Let the poor and socially-marginalized brethren rejoice (and high-five the widow who had two copper coins someday)!
This means that nobody is on the B team. Everyone has as much potential to be pleasing to God as Billy Graham did when he walked into a packed stadium. This is because Billy’s rewards in heaven won’t be based on his stats–they’ll be based on his love. If Christian history tells us anything, it tells us that, unlike the case of Billy Graham, the two don’t always go together.
The Holy Spirit is not more inclined to indwell the beautiful, wealthy, strong or influential. A socially un-powerful person (too old or young, too poor or too weak, etc.) can actually care about someone (a rare and delightful gift) and leave a beautifully fragrant wake of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control wherever he goes in the power of the Spirit to the glory of God. A brother locked away in solitary confinement can delight in the love of his Father (we’re never solitary!) and can pray prayers that love through the thickest of walls in the power of the Spirit. Someone knocked unconscious and lobotomized by a persecutor can manifest just how much better Jesus is than the world (you can brain-damage a man, but not the Spirit who indwells him). The Holy Spirit can change a “vegetable” into a “testimony” without any additional assistance from us.
Kill him, and he now loves better than anyone left on the planet.
Think about the ramifications of this–if ministry and worship are merely the manifestations of real love in the context of real life, then a person who wants to engage in real God-honoring ministry and worship that matters or “counts”, can do it at any time and in any place God puts him (with whatever means God grants him).
I stop ministering when I go where He hasn’t called me to go or do what He hasn’t called me to. Sin. Ultimately, sin is the kryptonite of ministry and worship. What else precludes love?
What if I believed that I had no less potential to love than Billy Graham had when he walked into a packed stadium? How would today be different?
Why wasn’t my day more different?