They made me caretaker of the vineyards, But I have not taken care of my own vineyard. (Song of Songs 1:6 NASB)
We have arrived at the third of three disasters that have presented themselves in quick succession to our Maiden. Keep our paradigm in mind, the Maiden is an individual, passionate—and at this point in the story—newly ignited, Christ follower.
Disaster one – she looked in the mirror and didn't see what He saw. In the light of His glory and grace she felt dirty.
Disaster two – she ran into the men and women of the bucket brigade who were put off by her passion and zeal, and did what they could to dampen—or drench—her spirit.
Today we find that our young woman is thrust directly into ministry. I hinted at this in an earlier post, but today we see the fruit of too much ministry and not enough intimacy.
Does this sound like anyone you know? (Check the bathroom – they might be in the medicine cabinet looking out.)
- Every time the Church doors are open she's there.
- She volunteers for everything in the bulletin:
- Nursery work
- Set up and tear down after the pot luck
- Teaching Sunday School
- Chaperoning the Sr. High retreat
- Painting and Maintenance day
- Spring cleanup
- Leaf raking
- Filling the communion cups
- Cleaning up the communion cups
- Dusting the pews Bibles (you wouldn’t want dusty pews Bibles would you?)
- Collecting the art work left behind by the little ones after church.
- She even signs up for creating sign up sheets.
Then she faces the problem of what to do next week.
You get the point. She is immediately overworked, and what happens next? Her spirit begins to call out for God. She remembers her intimate encounter with the Lord, and thinks “This is not what I signed up for.”
Her vineyard goes uncared for and begins to show signs of neglect.
Those who should be stoking her up and feeding her passion, are actually (and I assure you this is unintentional) drawing her away from what makes her so valuable to the Body of Christ – her connection to its Head.
In the song, her vineyard or garden is her personal spiritual life.
We (maidens) must make our own relationship with the Lover or our Soul of paramount importance in our lives.
We (church leaders) must make ‘How to love God well’ a major part of instruction for young believers. We must guard against allowing anyone to become over committed to program. When program trumps Spiritual life, program must die. Let's stop sacrificing young God lovers for the sake of keeping programs in place.
The first time I taught through this Song in a Sunday School setting, when we came to this third disaster in the maiden's life, there was a couple in the class who had been working with pre-k children in the Sunday School program since their college student had been pre-k.
They were so hungry, and their own vineyards ached for nourishment. Don’t get me wrong. They were not back-slidden, just desperate for some teaching that did not involve crayons. They craved something to dig their teeth into, that would help them tend to their own spiritual lives.
Does your vineyard need tending? Don't be afraid to set something down so you care for your own spiritual health.
Thanks for stopping by.
See you next week.