Daily Devotional with Pastor Jon

August 14

And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.

Leviticus 10:1

“Come unto Me,” Jesus said, “all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; . . . and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29). Why, then, are so many “mature” Christians burned out by their ministry to Him and their service for Him?

I believe Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, give us the answer. Having been eyewitnesses to the glory of God filling the Tabernacle, and having seen the flames, having smelled the smoke of the fire from Heaven mystically and miraculously igniting the sacrifice upon the altar, it is understandable why Nadab and Abihu would be eager to join their famous father in ministry, to play a pivotal part in the “holy happening” unfolding before their eyes. After all, they had gone through the process of preparation and surely now was the time to begin, their time to shine. So they lit their censers and set out to take part in the celebration.

The problem, however, was that Nadab and Abihu lit their censers with strange fire. Strange fire is from any source other than the altar which burned continually and which speaks of Calvary.

For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. - 2 Corinthians 5:14–15

What Christ did on the altar of Calvary was that which motivated Paul day after day, year after year - for the love of Christ is a fire that never burns out.

Some people involve themselves in ministry simply because they want to be part of the action. But when the action shifts somewhere else, they shift along with it, leaving ministry behind. Others have a need to be used, so they serve the Lord to fulfill their own need. But when they’re needed somewhere else, ministry takes a back seat. Still others serve the Lord out of concern for the lost. But when the lost don’t respond as quickly as hoped, they eventually give up ministering altogether.

Ministry for ministry’s sake, ministry for fulfillment’s sake, or ministry for others’ sake is all strange fire that will eventually burn people out.

The only fire that will never burn one out is the fire from the altar of Calvary. Those who, like Paul, are constrained, motivated, and compelled by the love Christ demonstrated on Calvary will still be serving Him with passion, with effectiveness, and with intensity when they draw their last breath this side of eternity.

How can one keep from the Nadab and Abihu mentality? The simplest way is to go to the altar - the Lord’s Table - over and over again and remember what Christ Jesus did for us. When we bow our knee and commune with the Lord, when we handle His broken body and drink of His shed blood, all the dials are set back to zero as we remember the price He paid so willingly and lovingly.

This Daily Devotional is an excerpt from the book "A Pillar By Day" by Pastor Jon. "A Pillar By Day" is a collection of 365 short devotions from the Old Testament books of Genesis through Deuteronomy. If you would like your own copy of "A Pillar By Day" you can order one from the SearchLight Store.

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