Get To Work

laziness-profanes

As a church, we’re in a season of considering how the gospel forges a community that is distinct from the rest of the world.  On Sundays, I’m focusing on the “one another” commands of Scripture – those passages where the Lord instructs us on how we should be treating each other within the church.  But our treatment of one another shouldn’t be the only distinction.

For example, we should work with a vigor and intensity that stands out in a sea of laziness and mediocrity.  Christ followers should be the most diligent students in the classroom, the most productive employees in the factory and the hardest workers in the office.  We won’t always ace the test, make the right decision or come up with the best answer.  But nobody should outwork us.  That’s not because we’re better than anyone else but because we have a totally different, and infinitely superior, motivation.  We do it all for the sake of Jesus’ name.  Our work ethic isn’t motivated by our advancement but by His glory.

In Ezekiel 36, God is once again contending with faithless Israel.  He’s outraged that when Israel “came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that people said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they had to go out of his land.’  But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came.” (Ez. 36:20-21)  In other words, Israel was acting in such a way that pagan nations were looking down on Yahweh.  Israel’s faithlessness tarnished the name of God.  And God takes the glory of His name very seriously!

Israel profaned the name of God through exile and abandoning the promised land.  I’m convinced that one of the most common ways we do it is through our laziness.   Don’t use Scripture as your screensaver and then spend all day on Facebook.  Don’t tell everyone how much you love Jesus and then be consistently unprepared for meetings. If you’re going to celebrate Jesus taking on your sin, you ought to be willing to take on some extra work every once in a while.  We need to get to work because laziness profanes the name of God.

This is what Paul has in mind as he’s wrapping up the third chapter of his letter to the Colossians.  “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.“(Col. 3:17)  And then just a few verses later, “ Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Col. 3:23-24)  Work in a way that makes God look amazing.  

We talk all the time about the world needing hope now more than ever.  It does. Sometimes that hope shows up in big, bold, dramatic ways.  But, more often, it shows up when ordinary Jesus followers get up, go to work, do their best and earn the right to talk about the God behind it all.  So, Restoration City, be distinct.  Get to work!

On The Field

team

Sundays are my favorite day of the week.  Our church gathers to worship Jesus.  My family is there and I’m surrounded by people I love.  We sing, we celebrate, we hear from God, we invest in each other’s lives.  In a lot of ways, I wish every day could be Sunday.

But Monday comes every week.  The church scatters throughout our city.  Life starts happening.  Meetings, soccer practices, commutes and projects threaten to overwhelm us. It’s easy to leave the message of Sunday behind.

What if we learned to see Monday – Friday differently?  What if they become every bit as important as Sunday?  What if we believed the worship of God is carried out through the mission of God in a city desperate for the hope of God?

Here’s how I think of Monday – Friday.  I feel like a coach whose team is on the field while I’m on the sidelines preparing for our next huddle.  Sure, I try to get in the game in my own ways – developing relationships with neighbors and people at the coffeeshop.  But I spend a lot of my week with Christians.  You have the privilege of carrying the name of Jesus to people who know nothing of the gospel of Christ.  They’re in the cube next to you right now.  You had lunch with some of them.  You’ll go out with some of them after work today.  Maybe you’re in a meeting with some now.

Church – you’re in the game!  God has you at your job for reasons that go so much deeper than earning a paycheck and getting health insurance.  You’re an ambassador of Christ (2 Cor. 5:20).  You’re there to work with excellence (Col. 3:23), to put others ahead of yourself (Phil. 2:3) and to be salt and light. (Matt. 5:13-14)  You get to carry the hope of Jesus to your world today.  That’s every bit as big a deal as singing songs and hearing a sermon on Sunday.  In many ways, that’s the point of the songs we sing and the message God speaks to us through His word.

So, as you’re on the field today, know this:

  • I’m thinking about you and praying for you.  I care how you’re doing on the field.  The stakes in the game of eternity are huge and I’m cheering you on every step of the way.
  • Don’t waste this gift.  Jesus has done so much to put you right where you are today.  He gave you an education, a job, the ability to get out of bed this morning and the gift of eternal life.  Don’t waste that by withdrawing from the very people He’s sent you to reach.
  • I want to be the best coach I can be but I can’t take the shot for you.  You are the one God has put in your office, not me.  But He’s given you the power of His Spirit.  That’s a billion times better than having me tag along to answer the tough theological questions people will fire at you if you start talking about Jesus.  You have the resurrection power of Christ in you.  He’ll make you adequate for the task at hand.

Play well today, team.  I love you.  I’m cheering for you and I’m praying for you!