The Idol of Christian Service

As a Christian minister, I am called to carry out the work that has been prepared for me before the foundation of the world. Actually, every Believer in Christ has, certainly not just “professional Christians” like pastors and the like, as it is through the blessing of service that we become most Christlike and, thereby, most glorifying to God.

However, I am reminded today just how dangerous that work can be. I’m not talking about the dangers of the world, like taking the Gospel to areas that are opposed to Christianity (though those are certainly very real dangers). I’m talking about the more subtle ones; the ones that are much more dangerous – one can kill your body, the other can kill your soul. I’m talking about worshiping at the idol of Christian service.

I read a variety of devotions from time-to-time and so, today, I was looking at My Utmost for His Highest. In it, Oswald Chambers warned of the dangers of worshiping the work. He warns us to “beware of any work for God that causes or allows you to avoid concentrating on Him. A great number of Christian workers worship their work.” What an important thing to keep in mind because it is so easy a trap to fall into.

I can’t count the number of times I have had a particular issue, problem, or opportunity to dominate my mind, so that I get up in the morning, get myself ready, scurry off to the office and get to work on it. It may be the middle of the afternoon before I ever even think of God…and I’m a pastor!! The problem is that I’ve allowed the work FOR God to crowd about my devotion TO God. When that happens, I not only dishonor God, but I allow myself to be stripped of the very power and insight that will allow the work to not only go smoothly, but successfully.

There are any number of idols that we can fall down before whether it is money and possessions, relationships or opportunity. One of the most dangerous is that of Christian service. At least with the others, there is a pretty good chance someone can point out the idolatry. With Christian service, the more you do it, the holier you look…which can be incredibly deadly.