Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Do Your Lord's Work Every Day

The following poem started as a general inspirational piece titled "Stop and Do a Good Deed Every Day," and I was about to post it as such when I thought: Is it right to imply that one good deed a day is enough? And why should we always have to stop to do our good deeds? True, many opportunities to do good come in the form of interruptions; but to really follow in the steps of Christ, Who "went around doing good" (Acts 10:38), shouldn't we also be incorporating acts of loving service into our planned daily routines? In fact, shouldn't everything we do be motivated by the desire to accomplish God's work?

Japanese reformer Toyohiko Kagawa commented on Acts 10:38: "Christ went about doing good. It is very disconcerting to me that I am so easily satisfied with just going about." Yes, most of us are all too content to "go about" our regular routines and our own plans and to figure on working in some attention to God and others when it's convenient. Even if we feel guilty, we rationalize that we're doing the best we can under the circumstances. I am intimately familiar with the trap of structuring plans with full intention of using them for maximum effectiveness in God's Kingdom, then almost immediately sliding into worshiping the schedule and forgetting the One it was supposedly designed to serve. When you start berating yourself for taking 52 or 65 minutes on a task with an official "one hour" time slot, you know something's wrong with your priorities.

How did Jesus avoid this trap? The clue is in the last part of Acts 10:38: "God was with him." We can't really work for God until we're working with God. And though God is, technically, with us at all times, we aren't always fully with Him. We all have heard people say, "Are you with me?" to others who are physically present, but not paying attention to or comprehending what is being said. It takes conscious effort to get with God in the way Jesus did--taking long periods for prayer even while a thousand tasks are impatient for attention, becoming intimately familiar with the Scriptures.

Only then will God guide us to do those good works that (cf. Eph. 2:10) He has specifically prepared for us to do.

If you want to live long and be healthy,
If you want to find joy on the way--
If you want to know true satisfaction--
You must do your Lord’s work every day.

You may think you have no time for others:
"I have so much to do," you may say.
But if you would be free from frustration,
You must do your Lord’s work every day.

For our God gives a burden that’s easy,
But so many find only dismay
As they load up their lives with distractions:
You must do your Lord’s work every day.

So lay all of your time on the altar,
Take your first waking hours just to pray:
And your Lord, Who is wise and all-knowing,
Will help you do His work every day!

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