IT'S ABOUT A RELATIONSHIP
Revelation 2:1-7 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Ephesus was the home of a fantastic ministry. Despite harsh persecution, the church planted by Paul endured opposition, spread the gospel, and was quick to challenge false prophets. But 30 years after the apostle left, John’s revelation included a stern warning for those believers.
Imagine how the words of Revelation 2 must have struck the Gospel, Christ said, “But I have somewhat against you . . .” That phrase was no doubt extremely disconcerting. The Lord warned them that they had left their "first love". In other words, all of their work was being done with wrong motives.
Christ called the Ephesians to remember their love for Him and their delight in His salvation. Service is no substitute for a close, personal relationship with Jesus, but modern believers continue to fall into this subtle trap. The commendable things that we do count for nothing unless they stem from a vibrant personal connection with God. Our work can’t be effective or fruitful unless He is in it.
In fact, God is more interested in you and your personal relationship with Him than in a thousand lifetimes of good works. He desires to be the satisfaction and delight of His children so that their service is a result of loving devotion, not of duty or vanity.
There are plenty of wrong reasons to labor for the cause of Christ. However, God is satisfied only with service motivated by true love for Him. He wants those with selfish intentions to return to their first love. In that way, hearts and minds can be renewed, and service to the Lord will be more fruitful.
If you are serving in your church for applause, or because your Pastor asked you to, or because it's your "duty and responsibility" .. don't waste your time and effort. Serve because you love Jesus! Serve to glorify Him!
For He, and He alone is worthy of praise and honor.
Keep Lookin' UP! and Listenin' for the SHOUT!