What do you think should be the Christian worker’s main purpose, highest motive and chief end in life? Paul’s exhortation in 1Tim.2:15 was: ‘Do your best to present yourself as one APPROVED unto God, a workman who does not need to be ASHAMED, because you correctly handle the word of truth’. This was also his life’s goal (1Cor.5:9-10) and has become my life’s mission and ambition – to be approved, to trust and seek ‘to please God’. After all, we were created for God’s good pleasure and without faith it is impossible to please God! There are 3 questions, I almost daily ask myself from this verse, that serve to check my ‘approval rating’ before God
Q1. Is the Word well Used? Researching at some of the world’s prestigious university libraries, I’ve found books by brilliant authors, geared to change people and society. God has had a book out! Have you read it? It claims to be alive and active; written to inform and able to transform the reader’s life (Heb.4:12). Yet, it is vital that while we go through Biblical texts, we allow its message to go through us i.e. shape our attitudes, actions and lifestyle. I try to keep in mind that all my educational degrees are merely tools to help me get on with doing God’s mission. Right belief determines right behavior. Christians must correctly handle God’s Word only then we can thoroughly equip others and let the Word do God’s work!
Q2. Is the Work well Done? While there is much, often undue, emphasis on ‘leadership’, our Lord is still looking for ‘laborers’. W-O-R-K is a clean four-letter word that gets us dirty! My PhD study was hard work yet I saw it as ‘loving God with all my mind’. Many Bible college students seek position and increased pay without counting the cost of serving Christ. They want the privileges but not the responsibility; forgetting the only place where ‘success’ comes before ‘work’ is in the English dictionary! Two virtues must characterize Christians whatever we do and wherever our workplace: Integrity – truthful, uprightness with transparency and Excellence – getting things done in a winsome way, above and beyond the call of duty. A job done well is a witness and our spiritual worship (Rom 12:1).
Q3. Is my Lord well Pleased? Isn’t it painful when someone does something ‘good’ but later we discover, it was done with the wrong or selfish motives? Many start well but for whatever reason, quit! Quitters never win; winners never quit. God is faithful to us and pleased when we are faithful –in the fight, to the faith, and till the finish (2Tim.4:7). In the end, what really matters is to hear Christ say ‘Well done!’ Enoch walked with God and one day God ‘took him’ because he had the testimony: ‘he pleased God’ (Heb 11:5). Our Lord himself could say, ‘I always do only those things that please the Father’ (Jn.8:28). Less wonder God, the Father, testified of Christ saying: ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’! (Matt.3:17).
The Apostle Paul’s constant aim regardless of his condition was to be pleasing to God and this should become our life’s daily aspiration (2Cor.4:9-10). Paul’s constant concern or greatest fear was that after preaching, teaching and training others, in the end, he himself be disqualified or disapproved! (1Cor. 9:27) He wanted to finish well, and, so do I! Hence I daily pray a 3-fold prayer I learnt from an evangelist twenty years ago. As I invite you to adopt this for yourself, I’m confident it will help us be found faithful in pleasing God and finishing well. It simply goes as follows:
Dear Lord, Keep my clean through your word, today; Lord, may I bring you pleasure as you use me for your glory and, help me finish well for Jesus’ sake! – Amen!