Keeping Your Vineyard

16 08 2008

Here is a compelling observation by Hudson Taylor commenting on Song of Solomon 1:6 – “…they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.”

Our attention is here drawn to a danger which is pre-eminently one of this day: the intense activity of our times may lead to zeal in service, to the neglect of personal communion; but such neglect will not only lessen the value of the service, but tend to incapacitate us for the highest service. If we are watchful over the souls of others, and neglect our own – if we are seeking to remove the motes from our brother’s eye, unmindful of the beam in our own, we shall often be disappointed with our powerlessness to help our brethren, while our MASTER will not be less disappointed in us. Let us never forget that what we are is more important than what we do; and that all fruit borne when not abiding in CHRIST must be fruit of the flesh, and not of the SPIRIT. The sin of neglected communion may be forgiven, and yet the effect remain permanently; as wounds when healed often leave a scar behind.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the busyness of ministry while allowing our own walk with Christ to suffer from neglect. How often have we found ourselves on the verge of complete burn-out because we have over-extended ourselves in seeking to serve others while our own prayer life and daily communion with the Lord is all but non-existent. No wonder we become exhausted and discouraged! We are like marathon runners who pass by the water table and pass out from dehydration. If we are not drinking ourselves from the Living Water, the well that we have to offer others will quickly run dry. Not only that, but we will find ourselves far more vulnerable to sin and temptation, even in the midst of ministry.

Check your vineyard. While seeking to tend the vineyards of others, has your own vineyard become withered and overgrown with weeds? If so, you may need to take some time off to re-group and re-establish the priority of seeking close communion with Jesus daily. Remember the challenge of Hudson Taylor – “What we ARE is more important than what we DO!”