For or With?

I know a lot of people who don’t like the thought of working for someone else. Maybe they’ve tried it, and long for the day when they can be on their own — work for themselves.

It’s a nice thought, but anyone who runs their own business will tell you that working for yourself, is just another way of saying the business runs you, and you work twice as hard. Work is a burden, but it can also be a joy when the load is shared with others, and when you’re doing something you enjoy.

What about in the Christian life? While we don’t work for our salvation, God has given us work to accomplish for the Kingdom. We’re his ambassadors, after all. Even in the early days of the Church, the Apostles had to choose seven more men to help carry the load of meeting the needs of the growing group of believers. No one could do it all.

Paul was trying to help the church in Corinth deal with issues pertaining to Kingdom work:

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.*

Are you laboring with God, as a fellow worker, or for God, as one who’s trying to handle it all yourself? Think about that question for a bit. If it’s hard to think of an answer, reflect on the workload. If God has control, serves as my guide in the work, brings me alongside others in the field, then the burden is light. If I’m in control and have to have things my way, the load is heavy, because I don’t allow others in to help, I can’t give up a task easily, and I’ve forgotten how to pray before I serve.

I’m pointing fingers at no one. I’m thinking about myself. For the past several years I’ve been working for God, because I couldn’t let go, was afraid to hurt, afraid to see failure, afraid to let grief have its way. I pressed on, doing what was “right” and purposeful for the Kingdom. No one shared my burden, because I didn’t let them — that is, until I fell under the weight of my own making.

As I crawl out from under my self-made work, I am striving to stop, to give him control and begin with God as my focus versus ministry as my focus. It’s not easy, and I face constant setbacks, as Satan wants to keep me from true freedom in Christ. When believers choose mission-focus over God-focus, that’s just another way Satan achieves a victory in keeping us from glorifying his arch-enemy, Jesus.

So, I’m no longer self-employed for the Kingdom, I’m a co-laborer with Christ. He’s my foreman, my leader, my guide. When I follow his lead and focus on him, he brings along others to share in the work. He even leads to new fields, new areas where he reveals himself and his role for me in the labor. When I work with Christ, I can enjoy days of rest that where previously unknown.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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.*

So, the question for you today is: Are you for or with? How’s your workload?

Grace and Peace


*1 Corinthians 3:9 (NIV).

*Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV).

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