I hate that sinking feeling of when I have realized that I completely misunderstood what it is that I am supposed to be doing. I think it has happened in every new job I have ever had. It’s easy to get side-tracked. Even as a pastor, my focus should be to always help people develop and deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ – whether through worship, prayer, devotions, and/or ministries. But, then suddenly I find myself worrying about the stuff that has nothing to do with people’s relationship with God; for example, the mundane maintenance of the church building. I am sometimes reminded from others that it isn’t my job to worry about those things. But, it’s hard to stay focused on what we are “really” supposed to be doing.
In Isaiah 1:11-20, I think the people of God thought they were doing what they were supposed to be doing. They were worshipping, had meetings to discern how to grow God’s Kingdom, and brought burnt offerings to the Lord. But, then God comes to them and says, “Quit your worship charades; monthly conferences, special meetings, and weekly Sabbaths!” (Isaiah 1:13-14 – The Message). The people of God misunderstood! They misunderstood what God wanted from them!
So, what did God want? God wanted their hearts! God wanted them to fight for justice – fight for the poor, the sick, and the hungry! And, God wants your heart too!
It’s easy to get side-tracked, thinking that what we are doing is worthwhile, only to realize we are not doing what God is calling us to do. It does no good to come to worship on Sunday, only to leave and live your life in the same way you did the day before. Giving your heart to God requires a change in the way that you live your life!
Let us pray, Gracious God, it’s easy for us to get side-tracked and not do what you want us to do – to give you our hearts and fight for justice in the world. It is not an easy task and difficult to focus on. Help us, Lord. In your name we pray, Amen.