Stop Serving God. Just Stop.

Posted on July 5, 2012


It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  Seven months. Phew.  I’m still touched by how many of you subscribe and comment.

You encourage me. May you continue to grow in the Lord.

Call & ResponseNot as easy as it looks.

I’ve never met a Christian who didn’t want to serve God. It’s built into us. He saved us. Serving God is the least we can do.

At some point in our life, the feeling becomes very strong. Something deep inside starts to bubble and churn around. Typically, believers refer to this as being “called” to serve God.

That’s a great way to describe it. That’s how the Bible puts it. At first, we get a little call. Then it strengthens. I’ve heard that it can get so strong that it’s almost audible. Then, by the Lord’s mercy, we respond to God’s call.

What’s the typical response? Depends.

Some preach the gospel to their family and close friends. Some start to study the Bible diligently. Others volunteer at their church or begin to help the underprivileged or imprisoned.

Some dear brothers and sisters quit their jobs to go to seminary, start their own ministries, become missionaries. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve seen it before.

That’s the typical response. But is this the right response? Are they…

Ministering to the House or to God?

Serve God, serve God’s house—it’s all good. Right? What’s the difference?

Big difference. Many precious believers today love God and are ministering with all their energy. But they are ministering to God’s House, not to God.

I’m talking about the focus of their work. Their focus is on serving God’s house, not God Himself. And that’s unfortunate. Here’s a story to illustrate my point.

The Levites and the Priests

There were two main groups of people in the Old Testament that served in the temple: the Levites and the Priests.

There were a lot of Levites. A whole tribe of ’em. Originally, God wanted them all to be priests. But when Moses was up on Mt. Sinai in Exodus 19, the children of Israel decided to worship an idol.

Who jumped in to help with all their idolatry? None other than the Levites. Wrong move.

God said that they were no longer allowed to be priests. Instead, they were tasked with overseeing and taking care of the temple. That included helping people prepare their sacrifices, cleaning the temple, and other maintenance jobs.

All good things, for sure. Still, they could never come near the things of God.

But the Levites who went far from Me…they shall minister in My sanctuary… And they shall not come near to Me to serve Me as a priest, nor come near to any of My holy things,

Ezekiel 44:10-11a, 12

Who did God choose to be the priests? One Levite family refused to help the children of Israel with their idolizing. They were designated as the priests.

But the Levitical priests… they shall come near to Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to present to Me the fat and the blood, declares the Lord Jehovah, It is they who will enter My sanctuary, and it is they who will come near to My table to minister to Me,

Ezekiel 44:15-16a

This small family became the priests. They served and ministered to God directly. They handled all of the holy things of God.

How to Serve God: Stop Serving

After being called, most believers decide to do something for the Lord. They do something that they think will please Him. Actually, they may only be serving as a Levite. They may be serving God’s House, not God Himself.

God wants priests (Rev 1:6) who minister directly to Him. This is what satisfies Him.

How can you minister to God instead of the house?

“come near to Me to minister to Me;”

Ezekiel 44:15

Learn to come near to God. It’s tough to serve someone without coming to where he is.

Come near and stop what you are doing. That’s not easy. At least not for me. Maybe I’m the only one with this problem. It’s hard for me to stop, especially when what I’m doing feels so right and is so fulfilling.

But I must stop. Not an option. Not “extra credit.” To serve God, I must wait for His command.

What should I do after I stop? Check out this post for the details.

God will speak. It may not be immediate, but He will speak. He may tell you to do the same exact thing you’ve been doing. It may be something completely different.

As you build up this habit of stoping, your service will change. To everyone else, it may look the same. You may still be speaking the gospel to your friends. You may still be studying the Bible. Outwardly, there may be little difference in your actions.

But inwardly, you will be completely different.

This content is taken from a booklet by Watchman Nee entitled “Ministering to the House or to God?”, published by Living Stream Ministry.