Let us start 2015 by looking at the Cross & learning 3 important lessons to set the tone for our year ahead!
In the cross, the vertical beam is a symbolic representation our relationship with God. The horizontal beam symbolises our relationship with our human beings.
We build and strengthen our relationship with God through Prayer.
We build and strengthen our relationship with our fellow human beings through Service.
Lesson #1: One without the other wouldn’t do.
We shouldn’t be people who only selfishly pray for our own needs and those of our families (perhaps once a week on a Sunday or at a prayer meeting?) and neglect to serve the people around us.
On the other hand we can’t only be involved in Service without Prayer. Or all our service will be human without any direction or anointing from God – service, which will bear zero fruit in the long run.
Let us genuinely meditate if we are only doing one without the other & make a conscious effort to start building the other beam in our lives.
If you only pray & don’t do any service, you could start small by checking what sorts of associations or ministries are already functional in your church and where you feel most inclined to help out. You could help the poor, teach children, do outreach programs – the sky really is the limit! But start somewhere! Remember if you only say you have faith but do not do any service, then the Bible has this harsh truth to say of your faith “Faith without works, is dead” James 2:17
If, like me, you already are involved in various ministries (ministry = service), then sit back and look hard at your prayer life. Are you praying as much as you should? Are you giving of yourself or of the Lord? The Word of God is very clear on just service as opposed to God anointed service: “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labour in vain” Ps 127:1.
Which brings me to the next point;
Lesson #2: Our Prayer time should be twice our Service time
If we look at the beams, the vertical beam is twice the size of the horizontal beam. From this we could infer that our prayer time should be (at least) twice our service time.
If you fall into the first category where you only go for a Sunday Mass or Worship Service for about an hour or two (depending on your church) a week, then start with Service for ½ hour or 1 hour a week.
If you fall into the second set of people I spoke of, then count how many hours of service you do a week. I do about 3 hours a week. Which means I should be spending at least 6 hours a week in prayer (one hour a working day not so bad – yet I’m not doing it!). The weeks we have outreach programs etc, I need to be spending even more time in prayer!
Remember though, the prayer : service 2:1 ratio is not a hard and fast rule. God looks at our hearts and if we have for genuine reasons not been able to reach out in service or not been able to spend time in prayer, God will not chastise us. Nor is the timing something we should do mechanically (set alarm, go pray, yikes!). Instead it’s more of a guide, to show us where we are and where we should be in our prayer and service. If our God Jesus Himself spent the whole night in prayer and a good part of the day reaching out to people, it’s a good indication that we should follow suit!
Lesson #3: There is only One God. All Human beings are equal.
The Us -> God beam is singular. There is only One God. We as Christians need to put aside all idols! Anything we’ve given priority over God is an idol – be it money, careers, vanities of looking good & creating a social image, relationships with our families. A good indicator of whether something is an idol in your life is the amount of Time and Energies you put into any of those things as Opposed to building a relationship with God.
The Us -> all other human beings beam is singular. We are all equal in God’s eyes. Just like a good parent would love all his/her children equally and impartially, regardless of their behaviour and achievements, similarly we should look at everyone as equal to us.
Romans 10:12 “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him”.
Do you look down on your maids or people in your society who you consider lesser than you, because of their lack of wealthy or looks or social standing? Do you run after people in power or people with fame & money? Neither of them are good.
Let us love all people like we love ourselves.
We see Jesus Himself telling us this in Matt 22:36-40 when asked,
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Jesus not only spoke these Words, but lived them, in His lifetime on earth and in the culmination of His life as seen on the Cross.
Most of us have a cross somewhere put up in our homes, every time we look at them, let us remember these 3 lessons.
Wishing you a blessed 2015!