The number one, most important, most precious, highest valued, top priority, most treasured thing you or I can have in this life in intimacy God; the Father, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Communion with God and intimacy with God is at the very top of the list for those who follow Jesus. If we are trying to do “the work of ministry” without communion and intimacy with God, then we are trying to drink from an empty glass. Communion with the Father is what was severed in Eden because of sin, and communion with the Father is what is restored through Jesus. Communion – intimacy – presence – speaking – conversation – love – these are the cornerstones of faith.
So, what value is there in the work of ministry? Much! Jesus calls us to go, preach the good news of the Kingdom of God, heal the sick, cast out demons, pray, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead. Jesus gives us a measure of His authority and power to do this, and tells us that these demonstrations will accompany the message. But the work of ministry always points people to intimacy with God. Reveal God through the spoken Word and demonstrations of His power, so that, they will see Him experience Him, know Him, love Him.
Whenever we wander into the territory of loving ministry more than intimacy and presence, we are loving religion. If religion is what you’re drinking from the glass, you’ll never be satisfied. Whenever you start with intimacy and presence, the rest takes care of itself.
This can even be true of the act of praying. Praying is part of intimacy and presence, but many believers have made the erroneous mistake of praying to get something from God instead of praying to be with God. Listen to this great quote from Helen Calder:
“Prophetic intercession is a ministry of faith. We do not always know the reason for the prayer burden that the Holy Spirit gives us; neither do we always learn the outcome of our prayers. But we do know that God is faithful. And – that the greatest reward of prophetic intercession is intimacy with the Holy Spirit.”
Even when we pray, intimacy, not the outcome or the answer, is the goal.
You can’t be refreshed from an empty glass.
If there’s no water in the glass there is no quenching.
If you have no intimacy with God and His presence you’re just bringing up dust from the well.
Drinking from a full glass:
1) Stillness – we really need to learn to be still and know that He is God. You can’t be still while you are perpetually moving. You can’t be still while you’re doing ministry “work.” The glass has to sit still under the flow of the water to be filled. Be still before God; still in your mind, soul, body, and watch Him work.
2) Listening – If you really want to hear what God has to say, then you have provide a quiet space for Him to do so. You must be as desirous of intimacy with God as He is to have intimacy with you. A life of noise and filled with noise will drown out the voice of God. Silence.
3) Present-ness – You can’t build any earthly relationships when you are always absent. We know how to put people and activities on our calendar, but what about the Lord? Your availability is key. Stop trying to multi-task a relationship with God. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who wasn’t paying attention to you?
4) Stop and Reprioritize – If you are engaged in “ministry” without the blessing of intimacy as its source, you may want to consider temporarily laying down your “work” and get your priorities right. Ministry is not a vocation. Ministry is birthed from intimacy and presence, and the purpose of ministry is to draw others to intimacy and presence. Stop working for God … He doesn’t need your work … He needs you to be fully surrendered to Him and dwelling in His presence. Ministry will find its truest form in your life if its supported by presence.