St Paul calls followers of Jesus Christ who have been resurrected with him to live far better. They must be well-ordered in their priorities and white-hot in their motivation.
Ray Kroc, famed architect of the Golden Arches and hamburger-maker extraordinaire, once commented: “I believe in God, family and McDonald’s.”
Kroc added, tellingly: “And in the office, that order is reversed.”
Who knows if Kroc switched his priorities around on purpose or simply let them slide unintentionally? The fact of the matter is that each and every follower of Jesus Christ can identify with Kroc. We also know how easy it is to have our priorities jerked around so that they end up in the wrong place and order. All too well and from painful experience we also know that Jesus Christ can end up second or third—or 13th—on what vies for our attention and our heart’s desire. Too often we end up like Demas. Once a highly trusted partner of St. Paul in Christian ministry, Demas fell in love with this world, and thus fell away (II Timothy 3.10). When the falling away happens, the sad result is always the same: Our ardor for our Lord cools, and we slack off in our desire to bring him pleasure and honor through what we do.
Call to be white-hot
St Paul calls followers of Jesus Christ who have been resurrected with him to live far better. They must be well-ordered in their priorities and white-hot in their motivation. Jesus Christ must be pre-eminent. Paul in Colossians commands: “Whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” He repeats his summons six verses later: “Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, as serving the Lord….It is the Lord Christ whom you are serving.” (Colossians 3.23).
In the preceding article we commented upon our duty to center our lives upon Jesus and to love him with not less than everything. In this column—the final one in this series on “The Wardrobe of Easter”—we explore our duty to dedicate our daily work to him.
Many activities can serve as part of our daily offering of praise and thanks. Let me cite four daily tasks:
1) To trust our Savior, and to obey his commands
The “crowd who followed him” once asked Jesus: “What must we do to do the works which God requires?” His reply: “The work of God is this, to believe in the One whom he sent.” (John 6.29). The world over, people routinely ask one another: “So, what do you do for a living?” In the minds of many, their daily work defines who they are. Followers of Jesus consider this to be their main daily vocation—their “real job,” so to speak: To trust him daily amid the fine-print, detailed circumstances of their lives, and to obey him always.
2) To speak the Gospel
To each and every generation of his followers Jesus issues afresh his Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28.19) This command from his risen Lord formed the razor-sharp focus for St. Paul’s entire work. It consumed his every waking hour, directed his every step, and propelled his life’s entire mission and purpose. Nearing his life’s end, Paul summed up what he had done with his life after his conversion, and why he had done it: “I consider my life worth nothing, except that I may win the race and complete the course which the Lord has assigned to me—to testify to the Gospel of his grace.” (Acts 20.24). Faithful followers of Jesus make that their life’s single aim too.
3) To read and meditate upon God’s Word
Scripture serves as milk and meat to nourish us along our life’s journey. But ingesting food doesn’t happen automatically.
In the words of Sadhu Sundar Singh: “God has created both the mother's milk and the child's desire to drink it. But the milk does not flow of itself into the child's mouth. No, the child must lie in its mother bosom and suck the milk diligently. God has created the spiritual food which we need. He has filled the soul of man with desire for this food, with an impulse to cry out for it and to drink it in. The spiritual milk, the nourishment of our souls, we receive through prayer. By means of fervent prayer we must receive it into our souls. As we do this we become stronger day by day, just like the infant at the breast.”
4) To offer Jesus the work of our hands
Performing our daily labor—our “jobs”—well can bless our Lord and bring him honor. Thus, we must recommit ourselves daily to doing them with excellence. We must plead:
“Son of the carpenter, receive this humble work of mine,
Worth to my lowliest labor give, by joining it to thine.”
When morning gilds the skies, my heart awaking cries,
“May Jesus Christ be praised.”
Alike at work or prayer, to Jesus I repair,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Be this while life is mine, my canticle divine:
“May Jesus Christ be praised.”
Be this the eternal song, through all the ages long:
“May Jesus Christ be praised!”