Romans 10:2--I can testify about them that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
They come to our house at least twice a year. They are polite and clearly on a mission. If I told you they travel in pairs, often on bicycles wearing white shirts and ties, you would instantly know I meant Mormons. If they handed out Watchtower magazines you’d correctly guess Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The central problem with these die-hard door-knockers is that their zeal is not based on a correct understanding or application of God’s Word. They have created doctrines that contradict or dismiss what the Bible teaches while at the same time honoring it as sacred and valid. Yet in missing who Jesus is, they deserve the prayers of every Christian. They don’t warrant the mocking, belittling or snide jokes that exit supposedly sanctified mouths. Such treatment in fact may spawn a dangerous broadcast—zeal is bad.
I've gone door-to-door in my city to invite people to church and if the opportunity arose, to share the good news of Jesus. I took my children with me and we had a blast. We were met by incredulous looks, by folks who could not believe we weren't either Mormons or J.W.s. Many people we met had never had a Christian come to their door. Some actually shed tears and asked to pray with us. Unfortunately, my kids and I were unable to recruit anyone else in our church to help do what used to be called, “cold turkey evangelism.” “We don't do door-to-door” was the common response.
Sometimes I wonder if zeal has become a word synonymous with wacky or fanatic. Yet, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, “Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord” (Rom. 12:11). The word “never” is an absolute, not a suggestion. The issue is not whether we have knocked on stranger's doors. That is an action that should follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit and not the badgering of the pastor. The question is have we lost our zeal? When people see your life do they conclude you are a devoted follower of Jesus? Do you stand out as different—in a God-honoring way?
We could learn a lot from the folks on bicycles. While we shake our heads, they are reaching people to their cause. That ought to shame or at least prompt a gut-check in us as to who or what we really serve. Whoa, this is convicting! Maybe it's time to hit the pavement again! I know my buddy Duppenthaler will go--any other takers?
Zeal without knowledge is fire without light.—Thomas Fuller, English pastor, (1608-1661)
External intensities marked the religious age in which Jesus lived, but they did not mark Him. Our Lord did not identify Himself with the cause of the Zealots: but He laid down His life as the Servant of Jehovah.—Oswald Chambers in So Send I You
Zeal is fit for wise men, but flourishes chiefly among fools.—John Tillotson, British theologian, (1630-1694)
©1999 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)