..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Keeping Your Own Vineyard

"They made me the keeper of the vineyards
but mine own vineyard I have not kept."--
Song of Songs 1:6

Its always "them" isn't it? "They" made me do
it. In these tumultuous days it is vital that
we seek God no matter what "they" want us to do.
We must keep our own vineyard, our spiritual
life, or suffer the consequences.

It is so easy to let our time and energies
be dissipated in the vineyards of Babylon or
even in religiosity which is really anything
spiritual that we engage in that God has
not called us to.

Americans seem to value busyness, multi-tasking,
juggling, running, and the excitement of being
on the road. It makes us feel like we are going
forward. We carry that mentality into our spiritual
lives and mistakenly think that "doing" is
better than just "being" with God.

No doubt, life sometimes comes at us fast, but no
matter what, we DO have control over the spiritual
vineyard of our own life. We can choose to tend it,
for it needs constant care, or we will reap a
neglected, weed-filled, and unfruitful spiritual life.

We make choices and those choices, once made, dictate
much of how we will spend our time. "But," you say,
"I must work, the children need time, there are
responsibilities to be kept, meetings to attend, etc."
Yes, we live in the world but we carry our spiritual
vineyard within ourselves. It is with us 24 hours
a day. No matter what circumstances you find yourself
in, even if they are a result of poor choices,
you can cultivate your spiritual vineyard.

There is special temptation for those who lead
others spiritually. It is easy to forfeit your
own spiritual life to keep the ministry afloat.
You can be ministering out of an empty shell--
from a dried up vine. It is vital that those
who take care of others spiritually start
by keeping their own walk with the Lord
the first priority.

We cannot help others unless we are being helped
by the Lord. We cannot feed others unless the Lord
is feeding us. We cannot give to others what
they need until we have received what we need from
the Lord. We can do nothing apart from Him!

The temptation to not tend our own vineyard
is the most serious temptation we face in
this hour. Something is occurring in the Spirit
that requires ALL of our attention. Our individual
or corporate lives could change in a second.
Are we prepared? Is your lamp full of oil?
Are you ready for whatever will come?

Abraham was called alone. Before we can be
called together we must know what it is
to be called alone. We must know how to
commune with God. We cannot just accept
what our spiritual leaders say, however
good, without we ourselves seeking God
with and for them.

There is no substitute for time spent alone
with God: not sermonaudio; not Christian
music, not conferences, not even church.
There are things in our hearts that demand
that we give God our undivided attention.
Alone. By ourselves. In our prayer closet.

Hearing God can and does take time. Why
does it seem easier and more satisfying
to keep the vineyard of committees, however
wholesome; of ministry, however prestigious;
even of overindulgence in spiritual meetings,
however stimulating? Why is it so hard to go
into our houses and sit alone with God?

Martha was a practical pragmatist but she
missed a greater point: it is more important
to sit with Jesus when He comes, then it
is to worry about "them." "Them" and "they"
must be put aside so it is all about
tending only to Jesus. Jesus tells the indignant,
and other-vineyard tending Martha, that Mary
has chosen the better, though socially
less acceptable part.

As we sit alone with God, He tells us what
He wants from us. What He wants us to do He
provides time to accomplish. Its as simple as

Ask God each day what it is that He would
have you do. It goes without question that
you should make the time to sit with Him,
so that you will know.

Tend your vineyard. Sit with Jesus no matter
what "they" say.

No comments: