Years ago I remember working in college ministry. I was going and running all the time, pushing myself to do The Lord’s Work. Needless to say, I was a little high strung and I was in the process of getting onto another believer for their lack of hyper-enthusiasm. I remember it as clear as day that a guy I knew well and respected walked past and said “dude, chill out”. I realized at that moment that I was not a picture of grace and peace, instead I was more of the picture of the American work ethic. At this point, I had to stop and ask myself, did Jesus have the American work ethic, or has it become an idol that we serve in place of Jesus.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying not to work hard, and someone is probably going to quote the “work as unto the Lord”. We should be diligent and faithful in our work, but let’s be honest. The American work ethic is work to prove you are a real man (or woman). It’s more of a pride (ego) sort of thing than it is being faithful. Why do I say that? Because those who work hard, long hours and sacrifice their health, hobbies and often their families will tell you all about how hard they work. They say things like “I worked hard to get where I am” or “I paid my dues” or they say “no one ever gave me anything” because they are taking the credit for as hard as they work and all they have earned. Is this view really compatible with the Gospel? Is this how Holy we are, or is it simply how much ego we have?
To answer my question, I took a look at the life of Jesus. No one would say that Jesus didn’t work hard, but He wasn’t consumed with it as we are. He stopped working, had time for a retreat and for having dinner with friends and for prayer. He took time to travel different places and took naps in the front of boats. What Jesus did was serving smarter, not working harder. He did the Lord’s work in real life. I think the difference comes from us doing the Lord’s “work” and no so much the Lord’s will. We are called to make disciples as we go, instead of the “GO” that we emphasis so much. We don’t stop what we are doing to go the work, we work while we are living. If we really approached the Great Commission as a life style more than a task, the result would be that we will chill out.
So yes, we love reports and counts and all that fun stuff, and I enjoy my spread sheets and my charts and counts too. I love to know how many people ave been changed and touched, and I love to know I am making a difference, but end the end, it’s not my job. My job is to share as I go, in my life, as I do what I normally do. My life and my lifestyle should all be around reflecting Jesus, doing ministry and living our my faith. I don’t have to “work hard” to be like Jesus, it should become more and more of my life every day. I should be transformed into the likeness of Christ, which isn’t something that requires more work, it requires more Holy Spirit. It’s not something I brag about, trumpet or post on a resume. It should be in my core DNA, it should be who I am. If I have to proclaim how hard I am working all the time, maybe I have the wrong motivation.