for the heart

cross pendant in the sunset

As I have considered this blog-site and all the aspects of it, I wanted to come up with a name that would be broad enough to cover all I hope to include yet specific enough to hone in on the perspective. This was a process in itself and required some self examination. Condensing it all into a title and a tag-line was a little challenging – I think was I ended up with it fitting, though.

Radiating Excellence : Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

This can be a tricky passage if you are reading it through a filter of woundedness with an unhealthy view of the Lord and His expectations. After all, the Lord is perfect and turns out perfect works – isn’t that what He expects from us? hhhhmmmmm

Let me paraphrase a potential interpretation: Do absolutely everything you can think of to do, work at it really hard; if your knuckles aren’t bleeding, you’re a slacker. Since you’re working for the Lord, it had better be done perfectly, and if it’s not, you will be cut off from the blessings. GET IT RIGHT!

So, in my introductory post, I mentioned I am a recovering perfectionist. I also mentioned we would talk about it later. This is later. I would like to say that my addiction to perfection started from an intense but misguided desire to please the Lord. Alas, I was hooked long before I was aware of the concept of living for the Lord. I was lured into the perfection trap with the idea that if I were perfect, I would also be accepted, loved and valued. My performance determined my value and identity. I am oh-so-grateful to report that the Lord has sprung me from that trap. It has been a long process and I still have to be mindful of my motives and intentions for wanting to get things right.

In order to get a correct perspective of this passage, let consider this; most of us associate ‘work’ with an ’employer’ running a ‘business’ who gives us a ‘job description’, a ‘policies and procedures manual’ and a ‘paycheck’. Let’s plug this passage into that scenario.

In that case, the Lord is our employer. What kind of employer is He? Matthew 11:29-30 tells us “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” He is a gentle and humble mentor who will give you on-the-job training. And about that yoke ……. I was born and raised in farmin’ country – and I am familiar with a yoke. (I am not actually old enough to have witnessed them in action, mind you). When I think of wearing a yoke, I think of working really, really hard. But a little while ago, the Lord gave me a different perspective. First, if you are the weaker member of the yoked pair, you are not carrying the majority of the weight, and when you consider the proportion of our strength compared to the Lord’s – who are we kidding – we’re not pulling any weight. As a bonus – when two are yoked together, they are traveling together. Beloved, isn’t that the goal – to travel through life with the Lord by our side every step of the way.

As for what business the Lord is running – Luke 2:49 (Amplified) tells us: “And He [Jesus] said to them, How is it that you had to look for Me? Did you not see and know that it is necessary for Me to be in My Father’s house and about My Father’s business?” John 5:19 says, ” Jesus gave them this answer: ‘Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.’ “ Jesus is running Kingdom Business – the business of His Father.

Now that you’re employed by a gentle and humble employer doing Kingdom Business, what about your job description? What ‘work’ will be required of you? Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” When your heart is the Lord’s, He fills it with desires to complement your unique design. You are fearfully and wonderfully made to be a specific part of the body of Christ. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” The passions, gifts and talents you receive from the Lord will direct you into the work you do. As for ‘working at it with all your heart’ – doesn’t mean ‘wear yourself out’. It speaks of the attitude of your heart toward the work you are doing. Do the best you can with what you’re given and do it with a heart of love and gratitude. Even cleaning the bathrooms? Yes, even that. Can you tell I struggle with that one? I remind myself that I am cleaning the bathrooms because I love my family and I am grateful for the home the Lord has provided. And, I am responsibly stewarding the things He has entrusted to me. I just read a piece from Lance Wallnau where he says, “Jesus said He is like a man “going to a far country, who left his house and GAVE AUTHORITY to his servants, and to EACH HIS work… (Mark 13:34) … It is YOUR work and no one else can do it. It’s the devil’s business to stop you—if he can. He is good at his job- be equally good at yours.” (see the complete post on my Facebook page).

We’ve established that our ’employer’ is the Lord – and the scripture says “not for men”. Face it, we may not be ‘of the world’ but we are still ‘in the world’ and sometimes our worldly employers have different ideas. The short story on this part is this: you’re performance DOES NOT determine your VALUE or your IDENTITY. Neither does any man’s assessment of your performance. This is not to say that your are not to submit to the authority of your employer. Which brings us to…

…the ‘policies and procedures manual’. It happens to be the #1 best seller of all time. The Bible is our manual and I assure you, it covers everything. The best thing is, the Author is always available by direct line 24/7 to answer any and all questions; no operators or prompts to go through and He fluently speaks the same language as you. Not only is He the Author of our ‘manual’ , He is the author AND finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV) tells us “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

So how about that paycheck……? “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” In Matthew 6 Jesus reminds us that He will provide everything we need. And I will refer you to our ‘manual’ which is full of his promises of abundant provision.

The best news of all is that His provision does not depend on your perfection. That is not even His expectation. Take His yoke upon you, give Him your heart and walk with Him. He takes care of the rest.

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