Jason Vincent - "The Depth of our Service and Life's Echo" - 2011

My meditation has been a little on the depth of our service, of our roots, as we heard yesterday, too. How do we know how deep our roots go?  I was so glad for a conversation I had with someone the other day, because it helped me also just to understand about depth.  The most important thing when we come to a meeting is to have made contact with God. We should never come to a meeting and try to bring an impressive message.  If we can make contact with God, there is a depth because that contact affects our spirit. It affects our attitude and it will influence our words. Depth cannot be seen in words alone but we can see it when it is accompanied by the spirit. Our words accompanied by choices reveals the depth. I'm so glad to see people that I saw five years ago or more, and they're still continuing.  That shows me there is a depth in them. Maybe sometimes you've sat in a meeting, too, and listened to words.  You've realized that those words aren't just a theory. Those aren't just words of experience, they're not just words of philosophy, but those are words that come from the grace of God. The spirit reveals the depth.

In Mark 4, there is that verse that says that some fell on stony ground where it had not much depth of earth.  Immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth.  When the sun was up, it was scorched.  Because it had no root, it withered away. Think about that seed that was sown on stony ground and it says that there was no depth. To me it was a picture again of what was above the ground was more than what was below the ground. What was being seen, the appearance, was more than the substance. When that is so, when the appearance is more than the substance, where the roots are, then it won't last. When I see people taking steps deeper into the will of God, when I see people that are surrendering to the will of God, when I see people that are continuing in the will of God, it speaks to me of a depth. There is no ways we could have come to this point in time without there having been depth because we have passed through tests, have passed through fire and by the grace of God we are still here. He has given us grace because we have put our roots deeper, that's why we are still here, but there needs to be more depth. There has been this question in my life - just the last while I have asked myself, “Is there any depth?”  So here we read about this depth but it speaks about the stony ground, just little things that were hindering that depth.

We have heard about Abraham and Lot. Something that can hinder our depth is just holding onto our right to choose. Abraham had every right to choose. He was the elder, it was Lot that came with him, he didn't come with Lot. He had the right to choose, but for the sake of peace he gave up his right to choose. That speaks of death. In any experience where there is a problem and maybe we have the right and we give up the right because of peace, it speaks of death. When each one hangs on to their own rights, we know there is war and there is unpleasantness but Abraham had depth. I just wondered myself, is peace more important to me than my rights?

Thinking also about Joseph. There is something else that can be like a stone that can prevent our roots from going deeper. It can be bitterness and unforgiveness, but in the heart of Joseph there was no bitterness. There was no unforgiveness and that is why his roots could go down. They could go deeper and they could get to the source and there was fruit. Those who don't forgive will just live on the surface and they will never know of depth. Those that have bitterness will just remain on the surface and they will never know of the depth.  If we don't know of the depth, we will never know the fullness of joy.  It says of Joseph that he was like a tree planted by a well and his boughs reached over the wall. His interests were not only for those who were in the same situation as he was, but his influence stretched further.  He was a blessing to all those around him, even those outside. That comes from a depth.

Something about Esther as well, as we have heard in meetings prior to this. Something that Mordecai made well known to Esther. He said, when that decree was made and they were going to slay all the people of God, Mordecai said to Esther, “You have the opportunity, you have the privilege, to intercede for the people of God.  If you don't, you'll lose your place and you'll lose your life and God will raise up someone else who will.”  Sometimes we feel, when we see a crisis in the Kingdom and we think, "Well, others must just sort it out.  It's not our problem.  I didn't contribute to the problem, I didn't do anything to cause the problem.  Someone else must sort it out."  When our own interest is greater than the interest of the Kingdom, there is a lack of depth and it can be like a stone. Self interests, which prevents our roots from going deeper. But here Esther understood that the kingdom was more important and she was willing to lay her life down. Her roots went deeper because there was not that self interest, and may it be so with us too.

I also thought of Saul seeking place. Pride is like a stone that prevents our roots from going deeper. There was no depth in the life of Saul, because he wasn't willing to get rid of his pride. Those that seek place and those that seek importance, those that seek to be recognized, they have a very, very hard job because God is not in it. It says that God resists the proud and anyone that seeks that, they have a very, very hard job because they are going against God. Then there comes a shallowness and there is never a depth. I have to examine myself, is there a depth?  Or have I allowed something to hinder my roots from going down?

Lastly I would like to just give one more example of a depth. I have sometimes heard about the choice that Jonathan made to stay with his father, Saul. I have heard it said that it was a wrong choice and that is why he died. I don't believe that. Jonathan wasn't fighting against the enemies of Saul; Jonathan was fighting against the enemies of God. If he was fighting against the enemies of Saul he would have fought against David as well, but he wasn't. He fought against the enemies of God. There was a depth in Jonathan's life because he knew the place of God for him. I do believe that if David could have chosen he would have chosen where Jonathan was because David wanted to fight against the enemies of God.  Because of Saul's disobedience, he couldn't fill that place and he could have been there fighting.  God had chosen another place for him and that's where he was. He was fighting against the enemies of God but he had to do it in another way.  

Something I have so appreciated was that there was true love in the heart of Jonathan. Jonathan kept his place, and he helped David to keep his place, too. Anyone seeing Jonathan coming to David when he was in hiding, they might have thought that he was seeking an occasion to slay David. They could have thought that the son of Saul was David's enemy. Maybe he was coming to seek an opportunity to slay him but that was not his motive.  Jonathan's motive was to encourage David. It was the love of God and he wanted the best for David. Godly love, it goes further than human reasoning.  It does not go to the borders of man, it was something deeper. He accepted his place and these were just a few thoughts that have helped me.