In reading through Isaiah, it is amazing the parallels between ancient Israel and contemporary America. One example comes from Isaiah 58: "Is this not the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?" (v. 6). The people thought that their religious activities and legalism guaranteed their relationship with God. They were tragically wrong.
We must always value relationship over religion. C. S. Lewis explains why: "If individuals live only seventy years, then a state, or a nation, or a civilization, which may last for a thousand years, is more important than an individual. But if Christianity is true, then the individual is not only more important but incomparably more important, for he is everlasting and the life of a state or a civilization, compared with his, is only a moment."
God measures Sunday by Monday. He views us not as a container of his blessing but as a conduit of his Spirit. You and I cannot give what we do not have. The best way we can serve the people in our lives, is to serve first our Lord. Care for your soul and the Lord will care for those in your sphere of influence. Frederick W. Robertson once observed: "It is not the number of books you read, nor the variety of sermons you hear, nor the amount of religious conversation in which you mix, but it is the frequency and earnestness with which you meditate on these things till the truth in them becomes your own and part of your being, that ensures your service and growth."