Sunday, March 20, 2016

Humble Work is Holy Work When Done for the Lord

Did you know that your service for the Lord is important? Well, it is. In fact, even the lowliest of jobs in service to the Lord and to His Kingdom of believers, i.e. His Church, is important. Indeed, each service, no matter how small, has divine importance. As a matter of fact, God has given each person the ability to do His Kingdom work. Likewise “God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.” – (Romans 12: 6. NLT). Accordingly, God calls us individually to particular services and ministries, so that we can be of help to others and can shine the light of Christ upon the world. Therefore, no matter how little you think that you can contribute in working for the Lord or in helping others, if you are doing it with your whole heart then that amount is a very great amount in the scheme of things, and it is equally important as other Kingdom work in the eyes of the Lord.

There is just one stipulation that God makes on those who are doing the work of the Lord and who are showing their Christian love by helping others. That stipulation is humility. God expects us to do our individual services and ministries with humility. For, God loves the humble in spirit. But, the opposite of humility as we well know, is pride. Certainly, God does not want us to be prideful, and He has even told us that “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” – (Proverbs 16: 18. NIV). But, we are then told that “… humility precedes honor.” – (Proverbs 15: 33. NLT). So, the one stipulation that God makes on our service to Him and others is for our service to be done with humility in order to receive honor for what we have done.

Humble service is actually holy service or holy work when done for the Lord. So, no matter what kind of service that you perform for the Lord, for His church people, and even for those who have yet to come to know Christ as their savior, you must be sure that you are not serving with pride. Instead you are to serve in humility, which shows the light of Christ in your life. For this reason, the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “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.” – (Colossians 3: 23, 24. NIV). Therefore, if we keep in mind that every service that we perform is actually holy work for the Lord, whether it is simply caring for someone who is sick, doing missionary work, teaching Sunday school, or engaging in Active Relational Christian Mentoring, etc., then we have a better chance of remaining humble in our service. We have a better chance of remaining humble, because we are not working or serving for self-glorification or recognition, but are instead doing holy work or service for the Lord, so that the Lord will be glorified.

Humble Holy Work and Service for The Lord.

God knows that it takes all kinds of different work and service in order for His children to be able to accomplish His goals and for us to be able to aid each other and ourselves in our endeavors. That is why, God created us with different talents, abilities, and strengths. Each person can then accomplish a specific thing that needs to be done in the Kingdom of God. In fact, the very first but very important job that God gave to man was that of being a gardener and overseerer in the Garden of Eden. Later, Adam and Eve's children took on different jobs according to their strengths and talents, for we know that Abel took care of the animals while Cain was a gardener. (See Genesis 4: 3,4.). Obviously, their jobs were to compliment each other's talents, so that the whole family could obtain the food that they needed to survive. Then much later, as the population  of the earth grew and different jobs and needs developed, other people took on specific work that needed to be done for themselves and the community. People were able to aid each other when someone else needed help by using their personal talents and strengths to be there for another person.

God did not force Himself on the people He had created even though He was there for them. But, a time came when God became angry with all the selfishness, greed and immorality of the people on the earth. That is when God called Noah to do humble work for Him. He called Noah to build an ark, which took 120 years to finish. But, Noah had faith in God and did his work humbly. The rest is history, as you know. Because Noah obeyed God and served God in the job that he had been given to do, Noah and his family survived the world-wide flood. But, even with a new start, the people who replenished the earth became prideful and did not want a relationship with God either. Again, though, God did not force Himself upon the people, but instead, He found one man, Abraham, who wanted a relationship with Him and wanted to serve God.

God wanted to have a close relationship with the group of people that came from God's promise to Abraham that Abraham would be the father of a great nation with many descendants. Indeed, Abraham had many descendants and God would take care of them. So, when the Israelites cried out to God for help from their persecution under Pharaoh in Egypt, God sent them a deliverer. This deliverer was Moses who led them through the Red Sea and eventually through the desert to the Promised Land. All along the way, though, God taught them through trials and tribulations how to have a closer relationship with Him, as God spoke through Moses to the people. 

God wanted to dwell with His people, i.e. with Abraham's descendants, the Israelites. So, when the Israelites finally arrived at Mount Sinai, God gave Moses the blueprint of the Tabernacle that God wanted them to build. Indeed, God had very specific plans, for each part of the tabernacle was a picture of God’s Holy Temple in Heaven. Furthermore, every specific part and every specific item that would be built or used in the Tabernacle represented and foreshadowed the coming Deliverer, Jesus Christ and the ultimate sacrifice that He would make for the people. For that reason, not only was the Tabernacle to be built to God’s specifications, but those who had a part in building it and later dismantling it to move it and then reconstruct it at a different site, would be doing holy work. Furthermore, they were given specific assignments or jobs to do with responsibility and humility no matter how seemingly unimportant the job might be.

To accomplish everything that the Lord wanted done in regard to the Tabernacle, the Lord told Moses to give certain clans in the different Israelite or Hebrew tribes specific responsibilities. For example, when the Lord told the Israelites to move camp and dismantle the Tabernacle, Aaron and his sons, who were Holy Priests from the Levite tribe, would enter the Tabernacle and carefully wrap all sacred objects for travel.
Then the Lord told Moses to tell the Kohathite tribe that “The duties of the Kohathites at the Tabernacle will relate to the most sacred objects. When Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the sacred utensils, the Kohathites will come and carry these things to the next destination.– (Numbers 4: 4, 15. NLT)

The Kohathites had been given a very important holy job to do, and they could easily have become prideful, as their tribe was chosen to be the ones to carry the sacred objects. However, it would be hard to become prideful when you knew that you could easily die if you did your job wrong, for the Lord said, “But they must not touch the sacred objects, or they will die.” – (Numbers 4: 15. NLT). This particular clan then had a responsibility to carry the objects, but they were not to touch them. Although this may have seemed like a prestigious job, it was a dangerous job or service as well.

Other clans were given less prestigious jobs in regard to the Tabernacle. For example, the Lord told Moses that the Gershonite division of the tribe of Levi would also have specific duties. “The duties of the Gershonites will be in the areas of general service and carrying loads. Aaron and his sons will direct the Gershonites regarding their duties, whether it involves moving or doing other work. They must assign the Gershonites the loads they are to carry.– (Numbers 4: 24, 27. NLT). So, the Gershonites were essentially movers. They were like the movers today that come into your home and pack up your house to move your things to another town or house. The big difference, though, in then and now, is that there were no trucks for them to put the items on. Instead, these men were to be the transportation themselves. Certainly, they had no reason to be prideful or glory in the job they did. For, they were going to work hard at carrying all the items in and around the Tabernacle that Aaron and his sons told them needed to be transported to the next camping location. This was indeed a humble service that needed to be performed God and all the people. But, it was also holy work for the Lord.

The Merarite clan was also given service duties regarding the Tabernacle. Again this group of men would have a humble job to do for the Lord and the people, as the Merarite clan’s duties also consisted of carrying loads. But in this case, the loads this tribe carried would be considered even less glorifying or less prestigious than the other tribes’ service to the Lord. Yet, the job needed to be done in service to the Lord and in service to the Israelites people, so that the people would be able to have a Tabernacle in which to worship God. So, God told Moses to tell this tribe that they “… will be required to carry the frames of the Tabernacle, the crossbars, the pillars with their bases, the posts for the courtyard walls with their bases, pegs, cords, accessories, and everything else related to their use. You (i.e. Moses) must assign the various loads to each man by name.”   -- (Numbers 4: 31, 32. NLT).

Obviously, the men of the Merarite tribe were to be like pack mules in that they personally had to carry the parts of the Tabernacle building itself to the next camping location. These men would be working for the LORD, though, so they, like the other tribes, understood that they were serving the LORD even as they carried items or building supplies to reconstruct the Tabernacle in a different location. This service needed to be done and the job needed to be accomplished with humility and care. It certainly was not a prestigious service or job, but it was a holy service to the Lord.

Whether you are serving God in some large capacity or in some seemingly small way, you just need to remember that you are working for the Lord, and He sees everything that you do for Him. Furthermore, you will receive rewards for what you have done for God and His children while you are here on earth. For, you will be rewarded for your service once you get to Heaven. However, while here on earth, you are to do all your service work with humility and from a heart that cares about and loves others. All Christians are to reach out and help those who need our specific help. Obviously, we are not to work just to receive heavenly rewards even though, we will obtain rewards in Eternity for the work that we have done for the Lord and others. Undeniably, those Eternal rewards will be wonderful too, and they will be given for some of small services performed for the Lord or performed for one of His children, i.e. if you have done the service with humility.

Maintaining Humility in our Service to the Lord
Humility, though, is often hard to maintain, especially if you are good at your job, service, or ministry. It is even harder to maintain humility if you receive lots of accolades for what you have done or accolades for what you are presently doing. That is because our human need for recognition and the need to be reassured of our worth or abilities can quickly erode any wisp of humility that we may hope to cling to. In other words, we can easily become prideful. But, if we realize that everything we are and everything that we hope to become has been given to us by God, then we should really have no basis for our pride. Even if we know that we are good at a particular job or service, we should maintain humility in doing it.

Unfortunately, our personal desire for glory, no matter how minuscule, often leads to pride in the things that we do. This is especially true, if we are good at what we do. However, we need to remember that God has given to us everything that we need to perform holy service for Him and others through our God-given individual DNA and our God-given individual talents and gifts. So, in recognition of a job well done or when receiving accolades for our work, abilities and gifts, we need understand why we can do such things. Then we need to put aside our desire for personal glory and instead work at maintaining humility and giving God all the glory.

Starting with the Garden of Eden and the first two humans, we can see that God created us to work and to do service for Him and others. However, we often fail to view our ability to work as an important part of our responsibility to serve God and others. Consequently, we easily work for ourselves and our families to provide for theirs and our needs and wants. But, we also often fail to even think about the needs of others and the needs of Kingdom of God, because we are living day to day without no thought of tomorrow or others’ needs. In fact, we often become very selfish with our time and our abilities unless we can get something out of our work or service for ourselves. However, God has made “born-again” Christians His holy people and as such, we are told to “clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. … And the most important clothing that you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.”  -- (Colossians 3: 12, 14. NLT).  However, we cannot do godly holy work and service for God and others, if we do not truly love God and others, or if we are thinking only of ourselves or what glory we can get.

To change our attitude toward our work and service for God and His Kingdom of believers, we first have to ask Christ into our heart. In other words, we have to believe that Christ is the Son of God who came to earth to conquer eternal death through His resurrection so that we can spend Eternity with God.  In our belief, we must repent of our sins and ask Christ into our heart, if we want to have our sins forgiven and be a part of God’s Eternal Kingdom. Then, with Christ’s glorious Salvation, we will receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, Who, among other things, gives us the desire to live for Christ. However, it is not just a matter of desiring to live for Christ that we need, but we also need to change our attitudes and begin to view ourselves as a servant of the Lord’s. Accordingly, we have to understand that the work or service that we do for Him and others has eternal consequences. What we do or not do here on earth will be reflected in our Eternity. Have you believed on Christ and ask Him into your heart?

Jesus Christ told His disciples that pridefulness causes people to do things that hurt other people. He said, “You know that in this world kings and tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave. For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life a ransom for many.”  -- (Matthew 20: 25-28. NLT). Jesus came to earth to serve and not to have others serve Him, so, like Jesus, we must serve with humility and not with pridefulness or in desiring glory for ourselves. Neither should we expect others to serve us. But, whether you desire to be a leader or just to help your neighbor in some capacity, it is only through your own humility that you can appreciate the worth of others and realize that you are not above any job. Therefore, rather than hurting others or refusing to help someone because of your insecurity, your pride or in your thinking that the job is beneath you, think instead about what Christ would have you do.

Pride can Derail Your Work for the Lord and Others

Many people have been gifted to be a leader, while others are gifted to do other “seemingly smaller” things for the Kingdom of God. But whatever your gifting, DNA, or talents that God has bestowed upon you, God knows that you can serve others in humility and love. So, never let anyone tell you that you can’t serve. Also never let your own insecurity or pride get in the way of doing holy service for the Lord. Instead, get rid of all pridefulness by remembering that you have gotten the accolades and have acquired certain knowledge, because God has given it to you or God has helped you to acquire it through some manner or another, so it really isn’t about you. In fact, the basis of our self-worth is our identity in Christ. For without Christ, we aren’t capable of very much by God’s eternal standards. But in Christ, we are capable of valuable humble and worthy service for the Lord.

The world that we live in, though, expects pridefulness, and the world expects people to think only about themselves. In fact, we live in a world where self is glorified. But, those who glorify self, are soul lonely, and they will certainly have a big surprise one day when they find out that God is the One they should have glorified. The Apostle Paul even told the Romans long ago: “Don’t copy the behavior and the customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.– (Romans 12: 2. NLT).  But, you have to desire to know God and His Son, Jesus Christ, before you can change your way of thinking. It is only when the Holy Spirit comes to live in your heart that He will renew, reeducate, and redirect your heart and mind. Then and only then will you be able to shed pridefulness and give up living for the world.

Rewards for serving in Humility

We have mentioned the rewards that we can receive when we get to Eternity in Heaven. For many, though, Heaven seems like a long way off. But, we don’t have to wait until the Eternity of Heaven to receive some the eternal rewards for our humble service for the Lord and others. For, in the here and now while we are still here on earth we can receive some rewards that will follow us into Heaven. In fact, the moment that we are “Saved” we have entered into the beginning of our Eternity that starts even before we die. Consequently, we will receive some earthly rewards from our humble and loving earthly service while we are still in this physical realm. Some of those rewards will come from the specific services that we engage in. In fact, one of those rewards is the joy we can receive in serving others and the joy that comes in our unity with the body of Christ, which comes from our humble service for the Lord and others. This joy is part of our eternal rewards.

In order to receive this joy, though, we first have to lay aside our personal selfishness. In fact, the Apostle Paul tells us: “Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself.  Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too. And what they are doing.” – (Philippians 2: 3, 4. NLT). Can you imagine the joy that everyone would receive if we all thought about God and others first and then did things for the betterment of others? The reward of joy is something that everyone on earth is hoping for and searches for constantly. In fact, joy is much greater than momentary happiness, but is hard to come by on this earth. Yet, that joy can so easily be obtained through Christ and our service toward Him and others. Moreover, our eternity and our eternal joy starts here and now when we ask Christ into our heart, and then our joy grows in what we do for others and God; giving us a joy that comes from our humbleness and unselfishness in serving God and others.

Besides joy, there are three other specific rewards you can receive here on earth for serving others that I would like to tell you about. Certainly, it doesn’t matter what kind of service that you are preforming for God's Kingdom as long, as you do it with humility, because all work for the Lord and His children will bestow upon the humble Heavenly rewards. Some of those rewards, though, can start here on earth. So, whether you are in the humble service of Active Relational Christian Mentoring, the service of working at church, or some other humble Christian service for a neighbor or friend, you can receive rewards for your humble service to God and others.

The first reward that most Christians receive for humble service is spiritual growth. We grow spiritually as we share our faith and love of God for others to see. In fact, people respond to kind caring Christians. Consequently, they are often open to more personal growth in knowing Christ, in living for Him, and in doing their own godly service in humility and love. In other words, both the server and the one that is being served grow spiritually as they express and exchange the love of caring about others in a godly way. Sharing the love of God, His Word, and the Gospel message in humble service brings spiritual growth as its reward. This reward of spiritual growth will help us here on earth and follow us into Heaven.

The second earthly reward is the emotional infusion of love that one receives when doing something good for another person without expecting anything in return. There is also a certain emotional high from humbly giving of ourselves without expecting a “pat on the back.” Furthermore, we do not have to tell others what we have done, because God, the Holy Spirit, and Christ all know what we have done for Him and for others, and that should be enough for the humble in spirit. In addition, the Holy Spirit is the One who acknowledges what we have done, but others will also see the love that we have given in our humble service. That infusion of love also keeps us wanting to provide humble service again and again.

The third earthly reward is that we have through our humble service been shown our real purpose in living. Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me.  If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life.– (Matthew 16: 24, 25. NLT). In these verses Jesus is telling us that the only way to have Eternal life is to believe on Him and follow Him. But, if we believe that there is nothing more than this life here on earth, then we will ultimately lose our eternal life and enter into eternal damnation. In other words, it is only by giving up our old ways and with repenting of our sins and then asking Christ to come into our heart, that we will find true life and our purpose in living. 

Our true eternal life, starts the minute we ask Christ to come into our heart. Moreover, this new life in Christ is service oriented. By serving the Lord, we are giving up our mundane and selfish lives for the Lord. We then begin doing the Lord’s, work, which is helping others and sharing the Gospel message when we can. However, if we live only for ourselves, our lives turn inward. Sadly, it is in thinking only of ourselves that we lose or fail to live God’s intended purpose for our lives. But, with eternal life in Christ and our willingness to be the light of Christ to the world through our humble service to others, we find our purpose in life.

Our life on earth, is our introduction into Eternity. In fact, our life here on earth will determine our eternal state after we physically die. In other words, our souls will live somewhere after we die, but we have to choose where we will live eternally. If we choose to ignore God and Christ we will live eternally in Hell. But, if we choose to ask Christ to come into our heart, then we will live forever with God. Admittedly, we only have a brief time on this earth, so how we choose to live our lives in the here and now will affect not only our lives here on earth, but our Eternity as well. However, gaining the highest earthly rewards or honors cannot earn us entrance into Heaven. Neither will we receive Eternal rewards because of our high wages, civic rewards, honors, etc., which we may have received here on earth. The eternal rewards we receive will instead be based instead upon our Christian actions, i.e., on our humble, loving, caring hearts that are displayed through outward actions, which represent Christ to others in this world. Our eternal rewards are also based upon our humility in doing God's holy work.  “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in His good time He will honor you.  Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happen to you.” – (I Peter 5: 6, 7. NLT). Through our lives lived on earth, we are to prepare for our Heavenly eternity. Therefore, we must seek a humble spirit in doing our earthly service and in our introduction into Eternity through our Salvation and in our life lived for God.

Humble Servanthood

God cares about what happens to you and how you grow spiritually. In fact, God’s recognition for what you have humbly accomplished counts more that earthly praise. Indeed, eternal greatness comes from humbly giving of ourselves to work for God through helping others come to know Christ and live daily for Him. Moreover, it is through our humble service that we can be aware of the needs of others. Humble service also keeps us from focusing on just ourselves and keeps us from becoming selfish. Furthermore, according to God’s word there is no place for selfishness or for self-glorification in the life of a Christian. For, “The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – (Matthew 23: 11, 12. NLT). Obviously, true humble service to God and for others keeps us from engaging in self-serving work. Rather, humble service gives us work that will actually give Christ the glory. Moreover, true humble service is actually a cure for selfishness.

To live for God and have true unity within the Kingdom of God, we must love one another with one spirit and purpose. In order to do this, we must come humbly before God seeking His will in our lives and then be willing to do what He has asked us to do. Remember that humble work is Holy work when done for the Lord. So, even if the work consists of picking up trash from the side of the road, or cleaning out sewers for others, it becomes holy work if you are doing it for the Lord with humility and with love for others and for God’s world.

Whatever the Lord has asked you to do in service to Him and others, it should be done with happiness and humility. However, you must also have a willingness to care about the problems of others and then be willing to pray and help out when we can. For, when we think humbly about ourselves and put others first, we are presenting Christ’s example of love for the world through our lives live for Him. As such, we are serving the Lord.  You can do it! You can serve others with a humble spirit! And if you choose to mentor others, you can become a humble Active Relational Christian Mentor for the Lord. But whatever you do, remember it is holy work for the Lord when it is done in humble service to Him. 

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