When I first read Song of Solomon and began entering the world of intimacy with Jesus, I was shocked by the idea that he delights in me. The pursuer and wooer attributes of Jesus sounded very strange to my workaholic ears.
The ministry I was part of taught Jesus as our eternal bridegroom, but I never understood its significance to my relationship with him or my leadership. Instead, I fervently took hold of the identity of a laborer for Jesus, which over time caused me to see him solely as my director, employer, and supervisor. I was captivated by God’s mission—working for him more than 70 hours a week, sold out for revival, and committed to bearing as much fruit as possible for him. I was consumed with the labor and not investing much in my personal intimacy with Christ.
We Latinos understand hard work. We’re accustomed to working part-time, under the table, and multiple jobs at the same time to make ends meet for our families, pay our phone bills, and save a little money for if and when there’s a crisis. It’s our fathers, uncles, brothers, cousins, friends who will gather in groups outside of Home Depot or in parks waiting to get some work for the day or week. Our gente take healthy pride in our hard work, as do many others around the world laboring day in and day out.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with working to support or better our family situations and certainly nothing wrong with working hard so that the gospel reaches more unreached people groups, subcultures, families, cities, and nations. But nonetheless, it’s dangerous when our identity becomes rooted in the labor itself. Finding balance—between kingdom work and intimacy with the king—is especially key for leaders engaged in ministry.
Scripture is full of invitations to the worker paradigm (Matt. 9:37, Matt. 28:19–20, and Acts 1:8). All of these passages reflect God’s heart to see us participate in the Great Commission, but if these actions are not lived out via the bridal paradigm, they can disconnect us from the source of love.
We find the bridal paradigm throughout the Bible but especially in the Song of Solomon. Most Jewish people view it as an allegorical interpretation of God’s love for Israel. Most Christians believe it’s an allegory of love between Christ and his church, his bride. Solomon, the bridegroom, is meant to symbolize the powerful love of our eternal bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
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SOURCE: Christianity Today, Natalia Kohn