Fervent in Spirit

The Apostle Paul makes a statement in Romans 12:11 that creates a healthy kind of tension. He says that we should be, "Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." The first phrase has to do with being organized in our work, which slothful people won't do. The second phrase with being zealous in the same work. There's the challenge—being both organized and zealous at the same time. Considering human nature, I think maintaining zeal may be the harder of the two.

There is always the danger of making organization an end in itself instead of a means to an end. It is not enough to want to do well. We must also want to do more. Certainly a well-oiled machine should be used to maximum potential. The tragedy today is that churches with unprecedented opportunity, with abundant resources, with mouth-watering talent and training, are doing less than the first century church which had none of these advantages! Could it be we have forgotten to be zealous? There are countless churches in America made up of people who are always studying, forever organizing, and doing nothing. Yes, we need to be organized—but not at the expense of zeal!

The tension between organizing and agonizing is a constant challenge. But you can do both or Paul would not have said, "Not slouthful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord."