Ilumination

Service Without Intimacy

August 4, 2021

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SERVICE WITHOUT INTIMACY

SCENE ONE: 1st Kings 1: 1-4.

Abishag was a beautiful young woman.
She was a Shunammite virgin.
She was chosen for a task: to render a special service to the King.
And she carried it out perfectly.

Abishag became very close to the King.
She slept on the same bed with him.
She cherished him and ministered to him.
She rendered him service: body heat.
She would sleep on the royal bed, holding the king close to her.
She would hug the king, her arms around him, her legs intertwined with his…

BUT THE KING KNEW HER NOT.

Abishag’s parents were proud of their daughter: after all, she worked in the Palace!
It gave them some degree of societal respect.
Her friends and peers envied her.
She got to meet important people.
She got to talk to the King every day.
She was actually closer to the King than anyone else- even the Queen!

BUT THE KING KNEW HER NOT.

Government officials would come brief the King on what was happening in the kingdom daily.
Ministers, Special Aides and Assistants and Heads of Government Parastatals would come for meetings in the King’s bedroom. Abishag would hear top government secrets and decisions.
She was privy to loads of information that the average person could not hear.
She even got to know when the decision was taken for Solomon to be made king before Solomon himself (1st Kings 1:15-30).

BUT THE KING KNEW HER NOT.

There was NO INTIMACY between the King and Abishag, despite the service she rendered to him, despite her commitment and devotion to him, HE DID NOT KNOW HER.

Imagine that!

You are the first person to get to Church every service day and the last to leave.
You sweep the hall and arrange the chairs.
You open the windows for fresh air to flow in.
You set up the instruments and P.A. system.
You check the fuel in the generator to see if it would be enough in the event of a power failure.
You are the one that practically sets up the service for the Pastor, working tirelessly behind the scene.
You don’t have a pulpit ministry, but you are very vital for the smooth running of things.
Your commitment, loyalty and dedication to Church is unquestionable.

BUT THE KING DOES NOT KNOW YOU!

SCENE TWO: Luke 10: 38-42.

Jesus and His disciples came into town.
Martha received Him in her house.
She was excited to have Jesus around, so she decided to have a reception for Him:
“I will cook different delicacies for Him and His crew”, she thought.
So she went about the task with zeal…

As she cooked, she looked around for her sister, Mary. She realized Mary was not in the kitchen!
Woah!
She came out and saw her, sitting on the rug in front of Jesus, listening to Him talk.
Martha got upset!
Does Mary not know there is WORK to be done?
How often does Jesus come around?
We have to render Him SERVICE!
What Jesus needs is SERVICE, not INTIMACY!
Mary should know that!
Martha told Jesus, “Sir, there is so much SERVICE to be done, I can’t handle it alone: please excuse Mary, let her come help me to SERVE! This is not the time for INTIMACY, it’s a time for SERVICE!”

Jesus smiled…
“You don’t get it, Martha. I came to your house for INTIMACY, not SERVICE. Mary got it, that is why she’s sitting here, listening to me talk. That is what I cherish: INTIMACY! I want to be more INTIMATE with you- I’d rather have that than any SERVICE you render me! Mary has chosen INTIMACY over SERVICE and it will not be taken away from her! Don’t sacrifice INTIMACY on the altar of SERVICE!”

We do this too often in our Christian walk these days, putting more emphasis on SERVICE over INTIMACY. We task people with too much SERVICE: there’s always something to be done in Church and in our lives every day of the week. People get so busy with SERVICE, they don’t have time to be intimate with God.
They are like Abishag and Martha, cumbered with much SERVICE. They have no idea the King does not know them.
We need to reappraise these things.
We must understand that the King is more interested in INTIMACY more than SERVICE.
We must understand He’d rather have quality (INTIMACY) over quantity (SERVICE).
Rendering SERVICE to Him (like Abishag and Martha) is GOOD.
But INTIMACY with Him (like Mary) is BETTER.

Do not be too busy, cumbered with SERVICE that you forget or ignore what God really wants from you: INTIMACY!

May we not get our priorities wrong in Jesus’ Name.
Amen.

Shalom,
Haruna Daniels

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