How do you approach work and/or ministry? As an enthusiastic participant or a skeptical “what-do-I-get-out-of-it” observer? Why?
I was the new “hire” at a tire company one summer during high school. I started out with my normal enthusiasm because my parents modeled and taught me that whatever I did deserved my best effort. So I was on time, worked hard, and was polite to co-workers and customers. Soon an older worker pulled me aside and said, “Watta ya doing?” He added that I was working too hard. A seventy-give percent effort was plenty and that “team players” protected the laziness (excuse me, labor effort) of co-workers.
It was my first exposure to what I considered shameful behavior in the marketplace. I ignored the criticism and stern looks I got and worked hard the rest of the summer. My supervisor wrote me a supportive reference when I left to go back to school. I couldn’t get over the “atmosphere of mediocrity” I encountered, that was so opposite to the “winning” varsity athletic cultures I was a part of.
I have noticed that this attitude has trickled down into 21stcentury Christianity. New followers of Jesus start out fired up, wanted to obey Jesus as they learn about Him and His ways from Scripture. They want to trust and obey fervently, but they sometimes bump into older Christians who appear to be living a mediocre faith. When the older one sees an excited new Christian, they figure that time will dampen or quell such youthful zeal. Sadly, they may even do their part to throw some “water on the fire.” As a result, some churches are saddled with bad examples of Christians seeking to discourage the growing good examples from living out their faith the way God intended.
Read Matthew 9:35-38.
Jesus needs hard workers for His harvest, which is plentiful. While mediocrity may suffice in some human contexts, it is not tolerated in the Kingdom of God. For one reason, it squanders the precious time God has allotted to us. How long have you been on the job for God? Regardless of whether you have been a follower and servant of King Jesus for a few days or a decade or longer, you are a designed to be a critical contributor.
Has your work and service become drudgery? Has your enthusiasm waned? Do you assume God will accept a half-hearted effort as sufficient for His global reaching rescue operation? Do you think He will accommodate a “me-first” work ethic that seems to work for everyone you know? Think again. God’s harvest awaits. He says it is plentiful. Jesus said, “Open your eyes and look at the fields. They are ripe for harvest!” (John 4:35)
If the work seems too much for you, it is! That is why God sent us His Holy Spirit to provide the supernatural empowerment we need. Then we can approach work and service as we should, not half-heartedly in our own strength, but filled with the Spirit. We can apply our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength to loving God and serving others.
Live communally. We will never see a harvest if we don’t go into the field. Ask God each day to be filled with the Spirit in order to “go and tell” as ambassadors of Jesus.
Love is a verb,
©2018 by Mike Olejarz