Ben Allen served us well this past week by exhorting us all to serve well. (Sorry; couldn’t help that.) Ben reminded us of the motive behind our service–the glory of God and the joy of our salvation.
I thought this reminder by Sam Storms would be helpful as we seek to apply Ben’s sermon. Storms reminds us that, in our serving, we must be mindful of God’s watchful eye–even if there is no other eye on us.
Drawing on Colossians 3, Storms says:
Christians are to fulfill their responsibilities (whatever they may be and to whomever they are obligated) based on principle, not pragmatism. We work regardless of who may be present, conscious that another eye is upon us. Or as Paul says, “you are serving the Lord Christ” (v. 24b). He is always watching. And whatever wage you may or may not receive from another human, remember that “from the Lord” you “will receive the inheritance as your reward” (v. 24a; it’s important to remember that under Roman law a slave could never inherit anything).
We labor and serve and discharge our obligations ultimately to please Christ, not people (v. 22b). We must avoid a merely perfunctory and mechanical performance, and do all things “with sincerity of heart.” Reverence (or, fear) for the Lord, says Paul, must govern our actions. Yes, even work is worship!
As difficult as it may be, we must labor in God’s grace to look beyond mere earthly payment or praise as the motivation for our efforts. There is something inherently spiritual in all that a Christian does, whether that be the digging of a ditch, the preaching of a sermon, or the changing of a diaper. It is for Christ that we work. It is from Christ that the reward will come.