“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
~ Colossians 3:23 NIV84
What a fantastic verse, isn’t it? Have you ever paid attention to this verse, broken it apart and really let it sink in? Whatever I do, anything and everything, from waking in the morning to sleeping at night. Every single thing I do every single day I should do it with my entire heart. Not half effort, not just to get through the day. With all my heart. But it doesn’t stop here. As if working for the Lord, not for man.
WOW! Imagine working for the Lord? Seems strange, doesn’t it? However, that is exactly what we do as Christians. We are working for the Lord. In everything we do, we are to bring glory to God and reflect His love through us to others. It’s a tall task and it’s not always easy.
So, how do we accomplish this task? How do we do the Lord’s work and not become overly controlling in the process? How do we allow God to work through us without becoming a roadblock?
Allowing God to use us to reach others is a delicate balance of giving, receiving, questioning, answering and loving. All completed without controlling others but allowing God to lead us and them. It is a complete surrender to God. It is easy to get caught up the day to day routines of life and become a bit controlling. We do it everyday over meal planning, schedules, appointments, clothing choices for our kids, chores, disagreements with spouses or co-workers, etc. The list can go on and on. When we are faced with these decisions and challenges, it is important to step back and pray. It is crucial to listen for God and to reflect on the situation. Is what you are about to do for God’s glory or is it to “get through your task or your day”? Is what you about to say a reflection of Jesus in you or is it out of frustration from not getting your way?
These are difficult questions and we all find our breaking point. However, God forgives. We always have another chance and we can always choose to do better next time.
The difference between a giving heart and a controlling heart can be a matter of one simple phrase or one act. For example, you bring a plate of cookies to your child’s teacher. It is a generous gesture. Given freely it would be gracious and full of thanksgiving. However, it is easy to deliver the cookies and say, “Can you please change my child’s seat? He/She doesn’t really like sitting next to _____”. Now you have attached a generous gift with a request to control a situation. It is no longer Godly. We are all victims of this behaviour at one time or another.
Another example for you – Your office coffee machine has one cup left. You and a co-worker walk up at the same time. (UH OH!) You both realize that there is only enough left for one cup. You say, “Go ahead and have it. I’ll be fine.” But then you sigh. And you are boiling inside. You weren’t being gracious. You were trying to guilt her into giving you the coffee. You were trying to control the situation with a comment that said slightly differently could have been a very gracious comment.
I could go on and on with examples of things we encounter everyday! Good intentions gone sour! Grace turned to control! Sweetness turned to bitterness.
In the end, I think if we remember the verse at the start:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
If we remember this, we can’t go wrong. We will have Jesus guiding our every step, our every action and our every choice. Everything we do will be for God’s glory! We won’t have that bitterness or nagging out of control feeling. We will be content to Let it Go and it will feel good! I am working on this now and I am hopeful that I can find the peace, the grace and the sweetness that comes with intentional, Godly actions!