Archive for March 6th, 2008
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, . . . It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23 & 24b)
I spent four years at the University of Michigan skating by on fairly minimal effort (you know, for college). I got decent grades, but I didn’t hurt myself or anything. I left there (sans degree) and spent a year at Fort Wayne Bible College studying, well, the bible (still no degree, BTW).
But, while I was in bible college, I taped the above verses to the inside cover of my notebook. It made a great deal of difference. It reminded me on a daily basis that God wasn’t interested in my grades, but in my heart. He didn’t care about the outcome of my work, but about how I approached it. The grades weren’t that different. My heart was different. My effort was different.
So, if I’m filing papers or doing the dishes I can breathe in, “This is for you, Jesus”. And when I’m preparing dinner or cleaning the bathroom, I can breathe out, “Thank you for my family, God.” And my life can become a prayer. And the funny thing about it is that when I am breathing in Jesus, I become much more mindful of the times I am breathing out anger or impatience or unforgiveness. And when I am breathing out Jesus, it is more difficult to deceive myself into thinking that I have the right to breathe in bitterness or anxiety or resentment.
And all that’s good, right? But what about my service to God? Is it enough to work wholeheartedly at whatever’s in front of me? Is it enough to participate in three hours on Sunday morning (and maybe another hour Sunday night and a couple more on Wednesday evening) and call it “service”?
Because when Jesus said this (John 13): “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” I’m pretty sure he was talking about more than a sermon and a couple hymns and a congregational prayer.
And when God said this (Isaiah 58):
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday
I’m pretty sure he wasn’t talking about erecting a building and filling it with staff who create programs to meet our needs, fill our heads with knowledge and provide opportunities for us to fellowship with one another. And I think we’re kidding ourselves to think we are discharging our obligation to the above verse with a monthly benevolence offering and an occasional donation to the local food bank.
So, “whatever you do” is not the same as just do whatever. And in order for my life to truly be a prayer that blesses God, I need to make sure that I am breathing in and out the same song that God is singing over me and not merely chanting one of my own haphazard compositions.
What about you? What tune is God singing in your heart? Are you quiet enough to hear it? Does your harmony honor his melody?