Thursday, July 1, 2010

good work

Col 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.

This morning as I was taking my daughter to an eye appointment I saw a mother unloading her special needs son from her minivan. What first caught my attention was that we drove the same car. Next, I noticed that her son was about twelve, the same age as my daughter. She carefully moved him from car-seat to wheelchair, talking to him the entire time as I would talk to any of my kids. His head lolled to one side, his arms and legs splayed, his eyes wandered.

I thought about how different this mother’s day would be from mine. I would drop my daughter back at school and then have an entire day to spend as I chose, not a day free from responsibility, but a day that I could order as I wished. She would spend the rest of this day, and the rest of every day of her life focusing care and attention on this child of her heart. Her entire life would be devoted to energetic and faithful service to this son, and she would pray fervently for someone to take up her good work when at last it was time for her to lay it down.

I don’t know why God gave me four children in perfect health. I don’t know why none of them has a chronic illness, a learning disability, or even seasonal allergies. I remember well the intensity of effort, the setting aside of personal freedoms it took to get them from baby to adolescent, so the thought of a mother who will give that level of care until her dying day gives me pause.

Do I work with the same sense of purpose? Or does my lack of hardship cloud my sense of purpose and allow me to slip into half-hearted effort and self-focus? Awareness of what God has not given can be as important as awareness of what He has. Freedom from trial is a liberty not to be squandered. It should imply an obligation to reach out to those enduring trial. Freedom from trial, for however long it may last, should give me a heightened sense of responsibility to “work heartily, as for the Lord” in every sphere of influence and in every task I have been given.

The bible tells us that God, in His wisdom, chooses our circumstances for us. He gives each of us our work to accomplish. Have you known the parent of a special needs child? I have. She does not question her purpose in life and does not need to be told what the next task is. And nor should I. Though not the same work, my work is before me just as clearly as is hers: to love my God and my family deeply and sacrificially, to steward my resources of time and possessions in ways that point toward eternity.

What work lies before you? Are you a businessperson ? A student? A stay-at-home mom? Renew you resolve to labor with purpose. For the believer, all work is kingdom-work. Do not allow freedom from hardship to cause you to treat it lightly. It is God who has ordained your work, it is good work, and He is most glorified in it when you do it well. Devote your entire life to energetic and faithful service to the Son, and pray fervently for someone to take up the good work when at last it is time for you to lay it down.

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