Monday, June 8, 2009

For the Lord

"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ" (Col. 3:23-24).

Service to the church is not only a good idea, it is a command. Christians have left the slavery of sin in order to be slaves of righteousness (Rom. 6:17-18). When a person truly obeys the gospel, they have done more than receive the remission of the theirs sins - they have given their life over to God, to do His will from the heart. This being the case, it comes upon each Christian to have not only the willingness to serve, but the correct attitude.

Paul sets forth a very good statement in to the church at Colossae, when He reminds them how service ought to be rendered. If we can learn from these simple principles, we will change the way Christians relate with one another and we will improve the overall atmosphere within the kingdom.

1. "Do it heartily." The original language of this statement suggests that we work for God with the very breath that sustains our life - that we put our soul into it. God wants us to do our best. One version suggests that this phrase means to work for God with all of your heart. This should not be a difficult request when we reflect upon Jesus. Considering all that God has done for us, and how He has saved us, to give Him everything we have is nothing more than a natural response to unfailing love.

2. "As to the Lord." Herein lies perhaps the most important thing to remember about religious labor. We are doing what we do for God! When people work in the church to be revered, respected, or recognized, they do it for themselves. When people work in the church to make sure that every person is always happy, although they show some unselfishness, they have still missed the higher mark of spiritual service. These approaches lead to pride, personality conflicts, bad attitudes, and continual disappointments. The greatest workers in the church are the people with a smile on their face, who work without complaining, and who are so happy that God has saved them that all they want to do is anything that will please God. People who do their service to the Lord will be rewarded by the Lord.

3. "Knowing." Yes, just this one word says it all. Christians know why they are supposed to serve. Christians know about the love of God that motivates them to serve. Christians also know what lies ahead when they are willing to serve. Glorifying God, helping people, and one's individual spiritual growth are all immediate benefits of working in the kingdom. The greatest feeling the Christian can ever know is that they are going to heaven. This is what "knowing" is all about. When you know where you are headed, any labor along the way is well worth your time. Knowing that God loves us, knowing that He has saved us, and knowing that heaven is closer to us everyday is what living a life of happiness and service is all about.

It is just as important to consider how we serve God, as it is to consider that we we serve God. Some of us need to get to work, and some of us need to remember why we are working in the first place.

"...not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord..." ~ Ephesians 6:6-8

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