September 20

Written by Bill Grandi on September 20th, 2019

My title for this devotion is To be WITH vs To do FOR.

This past Sunday I preached on the letter to the church at Ephesus. They were commended for their works, toil, patient endurance and orthodoxy (stood up against false teachers). But they were condemned for one biggie: “they lost their first love.” Their “do for” was greater than their “be with.”

In Matthew 22 (where I was reading today) Jesus is asked by a young lawyer what the greatest commandment was.  Jesus did not say, “Work your tail off.” He did not say, “Go out every night and win souls.” He did say, “Love God with all your heart, soul and mind.” I think Jesus is saying in a silent way, “I’m first. All else is second.” He is placing value on knowing Him, on being with Him. We have skewed that into “doing for Him” rather than “being with Him.”

In 2009 we had our first Day of Service (DoS). It was necessary and pulled us out of our funk. After our move in 2010 to our building, it took us a year or two to implement the DoS again. Since then we have even added another one so that we have been doing 2/year. But I have felt misaligned lately about the DoS. Like DoS had become more of a drudge than joyful; more corporate than personal. After Spring’s incomplete day and the finishing projects which came a couple months later, we were looking at another week in November. I found myself unsettled even more. “What Lord? What are you saying?” The answer came as I studied for that sermon, preached it and reflected: “Stop. Stop ‘doing for Me’ and start ‘being with Me..” So the DoS will not happen this year. And it just hit me that maybe it will be replaced by an afternoon of quiet reflection and prayer at the church building.

“Father, it is much more important to be with you than to do for you. Help me to learn that today and in the ensuing days. May my relationship with You be THE most important one I have.”


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ryan S. says:

    I have been thinking a lot about this lately myself, doing vs being with.
    Sunday mornings for me have another work day. I start early (though not as early as you) at 7:30 and typically don’t leave the building until close to 1:00. Planned meetings can take this later to 2:00 or 3:00 at times.

    I find I spend more time focused on the task at hand than taking time to just be with.

    It’s not easy to take a break from something that from the outside seems to be a worthwhile cause. However, if the Love of Christ is forfeited in the drudgery of the work, then perhaps a break is needed.

    Praying that your (OVCF’s) first love is rediscovered during this time.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I’d say you can come back here and rest but I know you can’t. 🙂 🙁 And you are right: it isn’t easy to take a break. And I appreciate your prayers for us to rediscover our first love.

  2. What you’ve stated here, Bill, is of utmost importance in our life with the Lord. Are we spending enough time simply being with Him? Works will come, yes, they will, but they can’t take priority over loving God.

  3. floyd says:

    “Be still and know that I am God.”

    That’s a hard one. For all of us I think.

    Putting God first is the beginning of absolutely everything else in our life falling into line…

    Good reminder with your actions!

    • Bill Grandi says:

      It’s a hard one for me also Floyd. I keep thinking of “Seek first…” and thanks for recognizing my heart.