Do you ever get the feeling that life is just a routine that you almost have to suffer through day in and day out? From a basic perspective, your daily life is little different from the lives of those around you: you wake up, maybe eat breakfast, take your shower and make yourself presentable (or at least bearable), off to work, try to eat lunch, more work, eat supper (because you have to eat at least one meal each day), try to spend time with the family/spouse/significant other, or maybe be involved in some kind of ministry, watch 24 or NCIS or Lost, and then head for bed, only to wake up the next morning and do it all over again.
After a while – be it weeks, months, or years – you start to feel like your routine is all there is. It isn’t that you don’t like your job, or your family is terrible, or church isn’t nice; the problem is that it seems empty, pointless, just part of the here and now. But life can – and should – be so much more.
Of course, we say that all the time, don’t we? But who is really experiencing it? How can everything we do in life, be it work or ministry or love, have eternal consequence when we have a hard time believing that these things make a difference in the present?
It’s easy to think of some of our efforts being eternal. Ray Boltz made that clear with his song, “Thank You,” showing us how our little offerings or the ministry “duties” that we perform are often abundantly significant in the lives of others we won’t have a chance to meet on this earth. Our simple and seemingly insignificant prayers, our giving to others or to missions, our teaching, our sharing, and sometimes just the way we live has an impact on others. Still, though we hear the truth, we have trouble believing that God will do these things through us and our routines.
Somehow we forget that all of those mundane decisions, actions, and works that we make or complete are heaping a pile of material that will one day be tested. How often do we joke about putting “another jewel in our crown”? But have you taken into consideration what happens when you’re not “earning” a jewel? You’re still building with something. But don’t take my word for it; read what Paul says…
Because of God’s special favor to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any other foundation than the one we already have-Jesus Christ. Now anyone who builds on that foundation may use gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone’s work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames. (1 Corinthians 3:10-15, NCV)
Here are some observations from these verses:
- All of life we are acquiring material.
- We won’t know what is in our pile until it is tested by fire.
- Not everything we do in this life will pass the fiery test.
- As much as we think we’ve prepared some jewels for our crown, we might be wrong.
- The only foundation for building upon, and therefore the motive for everything we do, must be Jesus Christ.
Suddenly Jesus’ words to us take on a whole new meaning:
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be” (Matthew 6:19-21, NLT).
Do you remember the wristbands that came out a few years ago, based on Charles Sheldon’s book, In His Steps? WWJD: What would Jesus do? It’s interesting to note that WWJD was everywhere for a while. Why did it disappear? Did we become too convicted when we chose to sin instead of to live as Christ did? Were others questioning our motives or our integrity because we said we stood for one way of live, but actually lived the opposite?
I realized in my teen years that I have a name that I am responsible to live up to. Christopher, means “bearer” or “follower of Christ.” Every time I sign my name to something, I have to determine if it is something Christ would do, and thereby decide if I should do it. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we fall under a similar name: Christian. The Bible says that the believers in Antioch were called Christians (Acts 11:26), which implies that it was not a name created within themselves, but used by those who didn’t believe. Most scholars believe that the name was derogatory in nature, meant as a slander and not as a banner to rally behind.
Maybe when we realize that everything we do will be tested, we will choose to live more like Christ. After all, being Christians, everything we do is done in His name, whether we make it known or not.