Religious activity is not always a measure of spiritual vitality.
1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write… 2 I know thy WORKS, and thy LABOUR, and thy PATIENCE… 3 And [thou] hast borne… and for my name’s sake hast LABOURED, and hast not fainted. 4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love (Revelation 2:1-4).
Could so much activity be borne out of anything else but love for God? Could love for activity, or activity merely for the sake of activity, become an obsession? Is it possible that sometimes, gain rather than God is what propels some activities?
Today, we have a revival of religion and of associated religious activities in the land. Every church is always busy with one programme or the other, with their many (appropriately designated) “activity groups,” such as the choir, the prayer band, the fund raisers, and so on. With individuals, it is little different: preachings here and there, business and religious programmes in and out of town, etc. Yet spiritual ‘alive-ness’ is not ‘certified’ by religious activities, for, as the Master points out to the church of Sardis, one can be very full of activities and yet be very, very dead; so dead that one does not even know that one is dead (Revelation 3:1).
The size of our works is not always a measure of the size of our spirituality. It is possible to be very busy yet be very lost; to be “not far” from the Kingdom of God yet be outside still (Mark 12:34).
Spiritual activity not borne out of love for God lacks fragrance. God judges our works by our hearts. He does not judge our hearts by our works.
“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works...” (Revelation 2:5). Spirituality does not prohibit activity; it does not mean not working. After all, the first commandment, according to Mark 12:30, is both “to love the Lord thy God with all thy HEART, and with all thy SOUL, and with all thy MIND” (which may mean spirit-service), and also to love Him “with all thy STRENGTH,” which certainly means work. However, works without faith is dead works, and faith without works is dead faith (James 2:17; Hebrews 9:14).
From The Preacher’s diary.