Open Your Bible
Colossians 3:18-25, Colossians 4:1, Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Micah 6:8, Ephesians 5:22-33, Ephesians 6:1-9
I have to wash the dishes this morning. Last night we ate fresh bread with butter, roasted chicken and vegetables, and after dinner there was some snacking that included swiss cheese, spicy pepper jelly, and somehow, even freshly baked cookies were made and consumed. All of this “normal evening at home” revelry makes a mess. There are so many little water cups in my sink. The roasting pan might not even be soaking yet. And I wash dishes by hand, so I’m going to have to really get in there and get the job done.
But I feel like I’d rather do something else this morning. I feel like I’m called to read my book about walnut trees and drink coffee. Once I’ve had my coffee, I feel like I’m actually called to write my own book about trees (Oh my goodness, can you believe how the walnut flowers form in the spring!), so maybe I am. But really, what I’m actually called to right now is to wash those dishes. So, if I’m longing for a higher calling than that, then I should aim to wash those dishes cheerfully.
Now there’s a high calling: do the work that is set before you, no matter what it may be, with a cheerful heart. Paul wasn’t joking when he wrote, “Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). In other words, we are to do even our most mundane tasks for the Lord. Martin Luther King Jr. famously and beautifully said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’”
We are called to cheerfully work as unto the Lord, even if we are dealing with drudgery or severe oppression from every standpoint. In this, we experience the highest and most difficult human act, that of humility in all our work and relationships. We also learn how to love the Lord with our entire being—heart, soul, and strength—submitting our will to His in all circumstances (Deuteronomy 6:4–5).
Why? Our reward isn’t the applause of men, or the accumulation of riches (even from the hypothetical publication of a thrilling tome on walnut leaves). Our reward and inheritance is from the Lord. We serve Christ, and what an honor that is, to serve the one who knelt and washed the filthy feet of His slow-to-listen, little-in-faith, betraying disciples (John 13:1–17). We are to serve in the same way He bore the cross for us. His humility is our example. He teaches us by example. May we learn “to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with [our] God” (Micah 6:8).