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CHRISTIAN LIFE: Pleasing Him in all Things

Doing all to the glory of God…..

 

“What is your occupation?” It is very likely that you have been asked the question or may have had to disclose your occupation on a form. Often in our minds we distinguish between “a career” and “a job”. The former may well be regarded as professional – whether a doctor, dentist, airline pilot, or lecturer – and has the prospect of promotion. Those whose occupation falls into the category of “a job” frequently realize that there will never be anything better for them, and they may contemplate doing the same thing for the rest of their working lives.

 

We tend to admire those who have a career or a profession and think of them as more important. This perspective however is wrong. There is something far more important than occupation – and that is attitude. How do we go about our daily work? Are we conscientious and reliable? The Lord is less concerned with our status in the employment world and more concerned with how we approach our daily tasks. Whatever we do should be done “in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him” (Col.3:17 KJV). The true Christian should live by the highest standards. Every task undertaken should be done as to the Lord. We belong to Him – spirit, soul, and body. Our speech and our actions should reflect Him at all times. Our lives should overflow with thanksgiving, and if we have an occupation we should thank God for it.

 

Helpers were needed at a Christian camp for young people. Some were invited to speak in the camp meetings while others applied to lead “quiet times” in the tents. Musicians and enthusiastic sports-people were required too, as well as cooks – because young people need to be fed! One young man announced that he was going to help at the camp and was asked what his responsibilities would be. “I’m going to do the cleaning,” he replied. “With all those young people in the camp, the toilets and showers will require regular attention.”  I wonder how many people would have considered that need and been prepared to spend a week of their time in such menial service? Clearly the young man was going to the camp to undertake his unglamorous and perhaps unpleasant cleaning duties for the Lord Jesus. For him the week was not going to be miserable. Cleaning was not a chore but something to be done as unto the Lord.

 

 

PRACTICAL GUIDANCE FROM COLOSSIANS

Paul’s epistle to the Colossians provides us with some very practical instructions on this subject. “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Col.3:23). This statement allows a tremendous amount of scope. Whatever your occupation may be – doctor, dentist, airline pilot, lecturer, teacher, nurse, farmer, engineer, train-driver, shop-worker, cleaner, or anything else – do your work heartily. Don’t allow boredom or monotony to creep in. See each day as a new challenge with fresh opportunities.

 

Someone may say, “You don’t know what my work is like. How can I have enthusiasm when I’ve got to do the same things every day? In any case there’s no other job for me to do.”  One thing can make all the difference.  According to that verse our work is to be done “as to the Lord, and not unto men.”  An employer may show no appreciation and may actually make your work more unpleasant than it has to be. In such circumstances we are tempted to give the employer a raw deal by showing indifference and “cutting corners” when we can. It is possible to reason, “If he is so mean to me, why should I go out of my way to co-operate with him?” The solution is clear: don’t do the work primarily for the employer but do it for the Lord. Instead, say to yourself, “I can do this work for Him! The Lord Jesus is my Saviour and gave everything for me. I can do my work here for His glory.”

 

It is possible to meet Christians who are living out the truth of Colossians 3:23. It may be a woman on her knees polishing a floor by hand, or a man who is stacking the shelves of a supermarket with tins of food. Work like this can be tedious and repetitious, but the Christian who is doing the work heartily (and perhaps quietly praising the Lord as he does so) has learned something very important. God can be glorified by the way in which we do our work even if the task itself is unexciting. Colossians 3:24 reminds slaves that they “serve the Lord Christ” rather than simply their earthly masters. How it would transform our lives if we realized that we can carry out our daily occupations for His pleasure!

 

 

UNDER THE ALL-SEEING EYE

In the Old Testament we read of Hagar who fled from her mistress Sarah. Life had become hard for Hagar and she felt she could bear no more. But although she could escape from Sarah, Hagar could not escape from God. “The angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness” (Gen.16:7) and instructed her to return to her mistress and to submit to her. The experience had a profound effect upon Hagar who used the words “Thou God seest me” in referring to the Lord who had met with her (Gen.16:13). Even in an uninhabited wilderness He could see her and knew all about her plight.

 

That same eye watches us still. It may be a comfort to know that the Lord never slumbers or sleeps (Ps.121:4) but the thought should also challenge us. An employer may not be watching us at work and may not even be present, but God is there and He can see everything. That is why Paul instructed slaves in Colossians 3:22 not to restrict themselves to “eye service” – which means only to serve well when you are being watched. This is what would be expected of “men-pleasers” who only appear conscientious when they have to be. Instead the Christian’s work should be done “in singleness of heart, fearing God” (Col.3:22).

 

Other features of our work must be considered. Time keeping is an important matter. If work begins at 8 o’clock in the morning, am I ready to actually begin working at that time or is my aim only to reach the car park by that approximate time? If the hours of my employment continue until 5 o’clock in the afternoon, am I hoping to be out of the door and in my car a minute before that time – or even earlier? What about my activities at work? Do I take extended breaks or find time to do my own things when, in fact, I am being paid to do work for someone else? Do I wrongly “help myself” to resources that belong to the business and have not been provided directly for my use?

 

The Lord is watching us at work. We need to ensure that we “fear God” as we carry out our responsibilities under His all-seeing eye.

 

 

ACCOUNTABILITY

People who are in employment generally admit that they are accountable, though in the course of duties this thought can sometimes be overlooked. The Bible reminds us that as believers we are accountable to God. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ: that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor.5:10). According to this verse a day is coming when we will stand before the Lord and our lives as believers will be assessed. This is not in order to deal with our sins for they were dealt with at the cross. At “the judgment seat of Christ” our lives will be examined and the Lord will see whether what we have done for Him falls into the “good” or “bad” category.

 

We have been thinking primarily of our work-life, but other areas need to be considered. The Lord, our Master, is interested in all aspects of life. How have we performed in spiritual matters? Have we been committed to the Lord’s interests and service and to walking in fellowship with Him every day? What about our home life? How have we performed as children or as parents? Have we followed the instructions of the Bible and fulfilled our roles according to its principles? Then there is the matter of our social lives. Have we been careful to please the Lord by maintaining His standards? With moral corruption all around, have we lived holy lives and kept away from doubtful pursuits that do not glorify His name? In that coming day when we stand before the Lord Jesus our lives as believers will be examined. Now is the time to make whatever adjustments are necessary so that we will not be ashamed in that day.

 

 

REWARDS

The same chapter that speaks of appearing before the judgment seat of Christ also reminds us of the constraining influence of “the love of Christ” (2 Cor.5:14).  If we really understood more of that love and kept it in mind, we would want to please Him. If His love truly filled our hearts, we would find ourselves impelled to return that love by living for Him. The Lord Jesus said, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn.14:15). True love for Him will give us the desire to please Him in all areas of our lives.

 

We have considered some very ordinary occupations in this article. Whatever we do, nothing is unnoticed by the Lord. In Matthew 10:42 our Saviour spoke of one offering “a cup of cold water” to a thirsty individual. There could hardly be anything more ordinary than that! A small amount of the simplest drink available given to one in need is seen by Him and will be rewarded. If such a simple act is to be rewarded, we can be sure that those who carry out their professional responsibilities to the glory of God will also receive a reward.

 

Being faithful is what counts. It’s easy to become discouraged. The words “let us not be weary in well doing” (Gal.6:9) should spur us on. We must seek to do good and to glorify God in every area of our lives. We are called by Him to live to higher standards than this world knows. Christian believers are children of the living God. Our responsibility is to follow the plan for our lives that He has revealed in His holy Word.