Spirit & Truth # 256
“Unto the Lord”
By Greg Smith
Several years ago I went to Picayune, Mississippi, to do relief work after Hurricane Katrina. Along with a large team from our denomination, I cleaned debris off of houses and out of yards. The people I had gone to help were Mississippi’s poorest, who could never afford to hire the help they needed. But one day we were sent to clear debris off the lawn of a mansion. I was angry, because (in my perception) this homeowner could have payed for the help and not signed up to accept charity work. I grumbled and complained until somebody took me aside and gave me a verse of scripture. Today, I give it to you:
To the church at Colosse, the apostle Paul wrote: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
My problem was that I’d forgotten who I was working for. If I’d thought I was working for my denomination or for the poor I was wrong. I wasn’t working for the owner of that mansion, either. In fact, I was working for Jesus. As long as I focused on the struggle of working for people, I became discouraged. But when I put my eyes and my mind where they needed to be, when I gave my attention to the Lord who I was serving, things suddenly took on a different perspective.
In 1666, Nicholas Herman was admitted to a Carmelite monastery in Paris, changing his name to Brother Lawrence. There he found a life of forgiveness, joy, and peace beyond expectation. Brother Lawrence’s faith, however, was soon put to the test, for he was assigned to the kitchen. Kitchen duty was a challenge, but the way that he tackled it provides guidelines for victorious living three centuries later.
Lawrence realized that even the most mundane and worldly task can be done in love for God, and doing it for the great King gives the most humble task a spiritual purpose. In his little book The Practice of the Presence of God, Lawrence wrote, “The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees….We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”
God doesn’t usually ask you what you want to do. He asks you to be obedient, and then he changes your heart so that you enjoy doing what He has called you to do. What things are you working on, where you’ve lost the joy and resent having to continue on? Your job? Your marriage? Your church? Remember that you’re not doing it for people—you’re doing it as unto the Lord. Let Him change your attitude, because that makes all the difference.