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Ministry or Idolatry?

Yesterday I was having lunch with a dear friend and she shared a quote that she read recently:

"Ministry without intimacy is idolatry."

It hit me square in the gut! I have been mulling over it ever since. Idolatry is an ugly, uncomfortable word, especially when applied to our ministry service. And while initially I wanted to reject the idea, I couldn't deny the ring of truth in my spirit.

I was convicted of all the times in the past I have served out of obligation or expectation, instead of it coming out of my love for God and longing to connect with Him. I'm not proud to admit it, but in those times I have struggled with resentment and bitterness while serving.

But really God wants my service to be an outpouring of what He is doing in my heart and life! When that is not happening, then what is my real motivation for serving? Is it love for God or is it to please others? Or even worse, is it self-serving - to make myself feel good or as an attempt to earn my salvation?

In the last few years, I have experienced what it is like to serve out of overflow and abundance as God has brought so much healing to my heart. The experience is night and day compared to doing ministry out of obligation. That's not to say that I don't slip back into old habits sometimes, but I think this quote will be a good one to keep in my back pocket for days when I'm struggling.

What about you? Does this quote challenge or convict you? Do you feel like this is something you have struggled with in ministry? How have you seen the Lord help you serve Him out of a place of intimacy?

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