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Work for the Lord (Col 3:23)

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men - Col 3:23

In the mind of the world, some people in the church are "in ministry" and some people are not. Some people in the church are "preachers" and some people are not. Some people in the church devote themselves to spiritual matters while others devote themselves to secular matters.

Of course there is a rightful place for ordained ministers and specific positions of authority within the church, but this rigid secular/sacred divide that has become so commonplace in the church should not be so.

In terms of devotion to God, there should be no distinction between those in "full-time" ministry and those living "normal" lives. We are each called to be fully surrendered to God's will, regardless of what that looks like for each of us.

At the end of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus gives His great commission: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Every disciple of Jesus has the same general mission: to spread the Gospel.

Now each of us has been endowed with special talents, abilities, and characteristics that orient us towards different roles within the body of Christ, but our underlying mission remains the same: to spread the gospel.

Spreading the Gospel is not just done through word (although this is a vital component to it) but it also is done through deed. And if the deeds do not align with the words, then the words lose much of their power.

By living out the gospel each day, (by engaging in unceasing prayer, by loving our neighbors as ourselves, by bringing the joy and peace of Christ into every environment we walk into) we are extending the boundaries of the Kingdom of God. This is our only true purpose on earth, and if we are doing this then we do not need to do anything else.

True disciples of Jesus will look for ways to extend the Kingdom of God each day, regardless of what title they may or may not have, or what position they are currently serving in. If they are engaged in work that is opposed to the principles of Christ (ie if their job forces them to sin), then they will cease working in that field. But otherwise, they will simply serve in the field they have been called to.

As Christians, the purpose of our lives is not to start a family or have a successful career (although these are both fine things), the purpose of our lives is to glorify God - and this can be done with or without a family and with our without a career. Because when the glory of God is maximized, peace, joy, and love are also maximized, and this is God's will for the earth.

We must be sure not to get our priorities twisted. The world wants to tell us that we need this or that in order to be a success. But God's definition of success is much different from the world's.

Some of the greatest saints in Church history had no "official role" within the church, nor were they "successful" at all in the eyes of the world. They simply woke up every morning and earnestly sought the Kingdom of God. They understood that no matter where they were or what they were doing, that ultimately their work was an act of worship to the Lord, and that it had eternal consequences.

Our work does not earn our salvation and it never could. But our work does earn us eternal rewards which can be enjoyed both now and after we cross over fully into the next life.

Someday our eyes will be opened and we will be made aware of how much of our lives were spent on vanity. We will see how much good fruit was left on the table because we allowed ourselves to be led astray by the distractions of this world. In that day we will lament that we allowed false ideas and cheap pleasures to divert us from eternal treasures.

But we do not have to wait until that day to wake up. If we can access this reality by faith now even before our eyes can see it, there will be a day when our eyes do see it, and we will rejoice in the revelation that our labor for God was not in vain.

Do not work for the food that perishes,

but for the food that endures to eternal life,

which the Son of Man will give to you.

For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

John 6:27

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