Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"I wish that more people would recognize how much I sacrifice."

These were the unfortunate words that tumbled out of my mouth one evening recently.

Being a stay at home mom is hard.  Serving at church is hard.  Neither of these jobs usually come with an annual performance review, where at least once a year you can hope that your boss will recognize and reward your hard work.

It can be encouraging and motivating when others commend and compliment our hard work.  But is this why we do it?  Should this be our motivating factor and what we live for?

Not at all.  The Bible says, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the Lord Christ." (Colossians 3:23-24)

It is important to note the context of this verse.  Paul was writing to Christian slaves.  Some of these slaves were even serving non-Christian masters, meaning that all their hard work was not only not benefitting their own life, but going towards someone who was an enemy of their God.  But what does Paul say?  Work half heartedly unless you are serving a Christian master?  No, he says work heartily.  Another translation says "work hard and cheerfully".

Why?  And how can they do this?  Because they are to view serving a non-Christian master the same as serving God (since, after all, God is the one who puts all people of authority into our lives).  The work God had given these slaves was to serve, and they were to serve out of the reality that they really were ultimately serving God.

Now if this is the command for someone whose whole life was devoted to serving someone they didn't have any kind of desire to serve, how much more so those of us who have the privilege to serve those whom we love?  Whether it is fellow Christians or your family, we especially should be following this command.  Moreover, we should do it because all of our work is ultimately for God, and when done with the right attitude for the right reasons, it will have eternal rewards, unlike the temporal compliment of a boss whose words are quickly forgotten.

So what did I do after I spoke those words?  I repented.  I confessed my evil heart and asked God to change me.  I can't serve like this on my own, and daily pray for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that I would be filled with "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" towards my family and others.  The bad news is that we can never do it on our own, but the good news is that with God's power, we can live like this, and serve others with joy.

Keep seeking Him for the strength to work hard and cheerfully for eternal things!

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