One of the great joys of being a pastor of New City Church is getting to spend time with both younger and older men and women. The various stages of life present wonderful opportunities to preach and apply the gospel. Over the years it has been super encouraging to see God's beautiful design at work in men and woman, as image bearers. Regardless of age and life stages I have witnessed godly and passionate zeal in his people to work and serve to build God's kingdom and bring Him glory. However, I have I witnessed in others and in myself, this mindset where only high positions of leadership, fancy programming or ridged spiritual disciplines are the only profitable ways to serve and further the kingdom. As a result people tend to check out from the things that they have now trivialized or labeled as "of lesser importance."
The great preacher and theologian Jonathan Edwards wasn't immune to this. He wrote in his journal, "I judge that it is best, when I am in a good frame of divine contemplation....that ordinarily, I will not be interrupted by going to dinner but will forego my dinner, rather than be broke off." OUCH!! "Sorry sweetie but I can't come to dinner with you and the kids because I'm throwing down in prayer!" In his mind I am sure this seemed praise worthy and very righteous as do the things that we put into the super spiritual category. In reality it's a tragedy. It's a churched up way to disregard other things that are holy works as well.
What must it communicate to a wife when her man can't put his phone down because he's checking emails or he's always in a meeting or mentoring someone else? I will tell what is true both biblically and experientially in my own life....it is not a good thing she is feeling! It is heart breaking for children to hear that dad can't hang out because Jesus has him doing "holier" things for the ministry/church. Or how horrible must a friend feel when we can't meet them for coffee in the midst of a bad week because we have a bible study to attend? How do we reconcile this as the people of God?
For the believer all things are sacred. This includes dinner with the family, snuggling with children, watching a lot of Netflix with your spouse and holding hands. Men this includes washing some dishes and helping out around the house. This means being at baseball games or taking the family bowling. This means that it's ok to miss a bible study to go sit with a friend that is depressed and hurting over a life circumstance. This is good, profitable and holy work that God is present in and working through to achieve what we say we want....to glorify His name and build His kingdom.
So take a moment and honestly evaluate your life. Are there things you undervalue because of zeal and passion? Are you the person, like Edwards, that uses spiritual excuses for not being a good spouse, parent or friend? If so repentance is the first step. This needs to be followed by the practical. Don't take your iPhone to the dinner table. Guard your schedule and keep family a priority. If you have to get up earlier or stay up later to participate in spiritual disciplines like prayer then so be it. We must, in the power of the Holy Spirit see everything in life as sacred and as opportunity to, as The Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it, "glorify God and enjoy him forever."