Have you ever noticed that we all have a tendency to fixate on what skills someone has? Think about it. If you are skilled at something, you want everyone you are talking with to know you have that skill. It may be as simple as, “I’m a creative,” or as complex as, “I’m a neuro-surgeon.” Regardless of who we are, we want to be known for what we produce.
There is nothing wrong with having skills, in fact, they are God-given. The desire to be known for what we produce is a form of legalism that can often be seen in our approach to the Lord.
Recently I was reading through Mark 3 where Jesus chooses His disciples. In Mark 3:14 we read that Jesus appointed His disciples: “…So that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach.” In other words, Mark states Jesus’ two purposes, 1) Being with Jesus 2) Doing what Jesus does.
The simple truth is God wants us to be before He wants us to do.
However, we want to do in order to be. We still want to relate to God on the basis of our achievements rather than on the basis of the relationship created by His achievement. This doesn’t mean that we cease our labors; rather, we anchor our labors in simply being with Jesus. In being with Jesus, we become more like Him, and in being more like Him, we do what He does. Our work for Jesus flows out of this relationship.
As a closet legalist, I need to be reminded of this truth repeatedly. Jesus didn’t just call His followers to preach. He first calls them into relationship.