When I was a boy, I used to get up at 5 AM to deliver newspapers. It was always pitch black outside. Sometimes it would be very cold, raining, or even snowing heavily. I remember lying in my comfortable bed and telling God how much I dreaded going outside. I didn't want to get wet. I didn't want to be cold. Worse yet, I was afraid of the dark!
Yet God worked in my heart to help me see the situation differently. I began to say, "I'm not delivering these newspapers for my customers. I'm doing it for Jesus. He's going to receive this paper."
Suddenly my attitude turned around. I would get started no matter what the time or weather! In my own childish way, I had stumbled on the secret of success in the Christian life, the key to fruitful service: Whatever you are doing, do it as if you are doing it for the Lord.
In the sixth chapter of Ephesians, Paul tells us "With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men..." In Colossians 3:23, he says it again: "Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men..."
In other words, it doesn't matter if you are leading a corporation or mopping its floors-you are called to serve God in and through everything you do. Once you adopt this attitude, once you learn to focus on Whom you are serving instead of what you are doing, amazing changes will happen:
* The quality of your work will improve. After all, now you are not working for an earthly boss, but for your Father in heaven.
* You will be protected from discouragement. It does not matter whether or not you've been complimented or thanked for your work-because you already know how much He approves of you and loves you.
* You will grow in self-esteem. We all have a need to feel competent, important and worthy. God always rewards us for our service with a sense of satisfaction and belonging we will not find any other way.
* You will not be afraid to fail. In fact, when we serve God we cannot fail because true service is not something we do for God, but rather something God does through us.
In First Thessalonians 5:24, Paul says, "Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass." God assumes full responsibility for enabling us to carry out the work He's called us to do, whatever that may be!
This truth provides us with incredible comfort. It certainly is to me. Consider that InTouch Ministries is preaching the Gospel in more than 100 languages to millions of people around the world every day. If I thought for one moment that I had to accomplish this in my own strength, we would be in real trouble! The truth is that you and I should never feel pressured to accomplish great things for God-it is up to Him to accomplish great things through us!
I'll never forget the job I had during my seminary years. I mopped and swept the floor in a food shop. Parts of it -- especially the area behind the meat counter -- were a real mess. I didn't like the working conditions, and for the first few days my heart was full of complaints. Eventually I realized that complaining wasn't going to help. I decided to approach the job just as I had when I was a young paperboy. I decided I was sweeping for Jesus. One day I was sweeping near my boss when he turned to someone and said, "Don't get in Stanley's way. He'll sweep you right out of the store!" I may have been cleaning floors, but I was motivated, I was fulfilled, I was dedicated to doing a great job!
My friend, I challenge you to do everything as unto the Lord. When you clean your home, clean it as if Christ lived there. When you prepare a meal, imagine that the Lord is sitting at your table. When you serve a client or customer, behave as if that customer was Jesus. If you take this simple step, it will be one of the most rewarding changes of your life.