Something I’ve struggled with over the years is finding purpose. Everyone wants their life to count. To be meaningful. To have value. Taken to an extreme, this can cause Christians to endeavor, carnally, to do spiritual work. And it can cause believers to disdain work that seems mundane by nature. Both are the result of working from a false premise, and I’ve been ensnared by each.
Sometimes I’ve felt like I move for the sake of motion. Like I’m busy just to be doing something. If I’m not careful, my identity and purpose can become completely wrapped up in the work I do. But, then, if it’s mundane work, sometimes I look back at it and feel like I’ve completely wasted my time. I could have been doing things that were more spiritual with my time, right?
Work As Unto The Lord
Perhaps. If I didn’t bother doing my mundane work as unto the Lord, perhaps I could have been doing something more spiritual with my time. But if all my time and all my efforts are offered as a sacrifice to the Lord, then all is sanctified and useful for His purpose. He can redeem what seem to us the be the most inconsequential of efforts if they come from a pure heart.
Conversely, some of the biggest things we do in the line of “spiritual” work can be a stench in God’s nostrils. They can appear as polluted garments to Him if we do them with our own strength and initiative. And yet we feel good, because we didn’t waste our time with the mundane alternative. The obvious irony is that it’s possible to be more spiritually productive with natural work than “spiritual” work depending on the source of our inspiration.
Adjusting Our Perspective Of Work
So much of life is a game of perception and I’m afraid our perception can be as warped as we are corrupt by nature. With this in mind, it seems we need to recalibrate our perspective frequently. Instead of looking through our prejudiced lenses to determine what we can most effectively do with our time, we should be seeking to be in God’s will for the moment and season.
Of course there is plenty of work we can legitimately do that is spiritual at face value. This is no indictment of the pursuit of these things. I encourage everyone to pursue spiritual work God leads them to. Rather, it’s a reflection on my part of all the times I’ve gotten it wrong in trying to be too spiritual when God wasn’t my guide.
And, also, it’s an attempt to offer encouragement to those, including myself, who feel stuck at times, doing things that appear to offer no eternal merit. Being eternally minded is wonderful. Once you see the big picture, it’s hard to un-see it. Everyone should be focused on what produces the most eternal value—every moment of their lives.
Living Moment To Moment
But the challenge is, this looks different from moment to moment. We would love to be able to have formulas and scripts. The church has tried that and still tries it. It fails every time. The only way we can stay balanced and in the will of God, is by having a healthy connection to the Word of God, and to the Spirit of God, Who knows the mind of God according to 2 Corinthians 2:11.
Sometimes He leads us to doing spiritual work as unto Him. At times natural work as unto Him. Sometimes it’s bringing spiritual virtues into something natural, like honesty, generosity and kindness in our workplace for example. And sometimes it’s simply resting in His presence as a child with no particular agenda visible to us. Through it all, may we find contentment in all our circumstances as Paul learned to do, according to Philippians 4:11&12.
Contentment In This Context
Sure he was speaking of lack versus plenty, but we can certainly apply it to our station, role or situation in all facets of life. Above all, let’s remember that the work we do, is an invitation from God to join Him in His work. It’s a privilege, not a necessity from God’s perspective. God wouldn’t be lost without us. He simply delights in having us join Him, follow Him and mold our character to His. If we keep this in mind, we can relax a little and not feel goaded in our efforts.