This summer, in addition to preparing to go to Uganda by raising support, I’m taking a part time summer job to help make ends meet. God was so good in providing work even though I started job hunting after the summer had already started. I get to work outdoors helping customers load heavy purchases into their vehicles, among other physically demanding tasks.
Let me rephrase that…
This summer, in addition to preparing to go to Uganda by raising support, God has called me to worship Him by working a part time job this summer. In His timeless sovereignty, He has decreed that I will work outdoors helping customers load heavy purchases into their vehicles, among other physically demanding tasks, for His glory.
That is my worship!
Paul teaches this mindset towards work in Colossians 3:23,24. “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.”
For some context, these verses come directly after instructions from Paul for husbands to love their wives, children to obey their parents and slaves to obey their masters, not only when they’re around but with sincerity of heart. According to Paul, how we function in the roles we’re assigned in life should have everything to do with our fear, honour and reverence of God.
For me, it’s easy to worship God by serving in ministry. Ministry activities come naturally to me. It’s also easy to sing songs and study the bible. It takes discipline to get into the habit of taking regular quiet times with God, but if you can get into the rhythm it becomes a lot less difficult.
Six hours into the workshift is around when worship becomes difficult. That’s when everything hurts and a customer comes for help with loading ten 75-80lb bags of rocks. It’s when a sweet older lady takes her time opening the trunk after you’ve already lifted her order and love is not what wants to come out of my mouth. That’s when the place is quiet and a twenty minute break hidden behind a large pile of stuff seems tempting.
But this is my worship. My work is an offering to the God who redeemed my life at the cost of His, and in that claimed ownership of my entire existence. This body is not my own, to do as I please. God, who calls me to rest (Sabbath) when I crave work, also calls me to work when I crave rest. In all things, He demands His glory in my life.
One story that comes to mind is David in 2 Samuel 24. After he incurs the wrath of God by taking a census, he’s told by the prophet to offer a sacrifice at a specific spot which is owned by some dude. The old David would have had him killed and taken his wife land, but this is the new improved David. Dude offers to give David the land for free, and David’s response amazes and challenges me. He tells the guy, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing” (Verse 24). Instead of taking the easy out, David determines to bear the full cost of his offering to God. To give God any less than the best of his personal worth would have in unacceptable.
See I don’t want my life of worship to God to be all about what was easy or fun or simply the best use of my talents. I thank God for all he’s done in preparing my heart to go to Uganda for a year, but that wasn’t a particularly tough decision. I’m giving up a lot to go, but I’m inspired and excited by the work God is already doing there and the idea of being a part of it.
It wasn’t my plan to work this summer. If I had made better decisions during the school year, I wouldn’t have to work. But by God’s grace He has blessed me with an opportunity to worship in a way I never would have planned. I’m going to be the best employee I can be, not because I like my supervisors (and they’re really nice people), but because I’m doing it to God.
The verses from Colossians 3 don’t end with the command, but include a promise. There is an inheritance that we will receive as a reward. I’m not sure exactly what it’ll be. Perhaps it will be the blessings that flow from developed character; maybe it’s material blessings or open doors; or maybe something in heaven after the end of my life. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I trust God that it will come and it will be good.
For this summer, part of my worship involves carrying heavy stuff.
Soli Deo Gloria