“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” ~ Colossians 3:23
Friends of ours hired my husband to renovate the basement of a house they wanted to rent. The house was built in the 70s. They wanted to put in recessed lighting and a new ceiling and a new floor but keep the wood paneling on the walls. My husband asked if I’d help with the painting. I agreed. The last day we were there together, I finished the final coat while he installed the trim. As I was done long before him, I looked for ways I could be useful while he finished.
I picked up some tools and paint cans, and put them in the truck. Then I realized there was some sheet rock dust on the top of the paneling where I had sanded the ceiling before I painted. I grabbed a rag and started wiping the dust. Then I grabbed another rag, wet it, wiped the wall from top to bottom, and followed it with the dry rag. Before I knew it, I decided to do the whole room.
It occurred to me that although this was only a basement in a house no one lived in yet and even the owner might not notice if these walls had been wiped down, God knew what I was doing. It wasn’t to make extra money; I wasn’t even going to tell my friends. I did it because even though the task was seemingly insignificant, I wanted to do the very best job I could. For Jesus. Why would He care? I don’t think it’s the task that He cares about. I think it’s the state of our hearts. While I scrubbed those dirty walls that probably had not been cared for in a very long time, I was thinking of the Lord, spending time with Him. Brother Lawrence would say Practicing the Presence of God. What an honor it is to work for Him! Whether we are building cathedrals, feeding the poor, or wiping dirty basement walls, it is time well spent.
If you knew the president or some king or queen or VIP was coming to visit your house today, what would you do? Would you race around dusting corners that haven’t received attention in a very long time? Would you go about the to do list you composed that morning? My guess is that you would give even the menial tasks more care. Now you are not just doing the job for you and your family, you are doing it for someone else you hold in high regard, someone in authority.
What if Jesus were coming to your house? Would you take a little more care cleaning the kitchen? Maybe even scrub the burner plates on the stove? It’s not because Jesus would care about those petty things, but because you’d want to do a thorough job preparing your house for your savior, to show Him how much He means to you. If we believe what the Bible says, that Jesus is indeed alive and we’ve made Him Lord of our lives, then He is truly the one we serve. We may think we work for our boss and clean our house for our family, but when we “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21), He–our King– is the one we truly serve.
When we work for the King, we work differently. Suddenly the task at hand, whether it be menial or “very important” becomes a job we do in service to our Lord and not just something for which we earn a paycheck. We are free to stop nickel and diming every minute and begin to take joy in the task at hand. Nothing we do is t0o small to be noticed, to be appreciated by Jesus, and when we bless others in that service, it is all the better. “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me.” ~Matthew 25:40.