“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)
We’re tempted, especially as a new believer, to view what we do to earn a living as “ours,” and what we do in and through the church as “God’s,” but that is a grave misunderstanding. It’s the difference between being a “servant” and being a “slave.”
In Scripture, the word translated “minister” or “ministry” can also be translated “serve” or “servant.” Our inclination is to see professional, paid clergy as “ministers,” while we view ourselves as volunteers or those who choose to “serve” in some capacity. The truth is, as believers in the Lord Jesus, we’re “bondservants.” What does that mean? The short answer is a “slave.”
A servant negotiates a certain wage for a certain job or responsibility. They may answer an ad or respond to an invitation to work for an individual or family as a servant. They work a given number of hours and have time off to do as they please.
On the other hand, a slave belongs to whomever has purchased them. They have no rights, no days off, no life except as it’s given by their master. And please don’t misunderstand, I’m not advocating slavery in any way, shape, or form, I’m simply seeking to help us understand the difference to make a point.
The Apostles Peter, Paul, James, and Jude, the Lord’s half-brother, all began their letters by referring to themselves as “slaves” of the Lord. The longer I serve the Lord, the more clearly I see His heart of love for me, the more “enslaved” to His Spirit I long to be.
The only context in which I can possibly view myself as a “masterpiece,” is as a child of God. What does that mean? It essentially means a 24/7 commitment to seek to honor and glorify my Savior with every thought, word, and action. But is that even possible? Jesus did it, and even though I can never achieve it on this planet, that’s my goal.
That’s how we begin to see work, relationships, recreation, parenting, marriage, every area and dimension of our lives as being avenues of opportunity to let Jesus shine and be known through our lives. We can’t be one person at work and another person in our home or at church. We’re one integrated and whole person who belongs to Jesus, under the leadership of His Spirit, all day, every day.
Pastor Rick Warren wrote: “Once you are saved, God intends to use you for his goals. God has a ministry for you in his church and a mission for you in the world.” Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
You can’t swindle someone in a business deal, sleep with people outside of marriage, then pretend to be a saint on Sunday in front of your church friends. There’s got to be consistency across the board. Love Jesus, shout His praises, and worship Him enthusiastically on Sunday, but carry that same Spirit into your work environment.
There’s a very real sense in which we must view our work and other activities of our week with the same sense of commitment and as the same sacred trust as we view our life in worship on Sunday.
Let’s dig into this a little deeper in tomorrow’s post.
Blessings, Ed 😊