Monday, March 14, 2011

The Busy Christian... Chapter 5

This series was originally posted on In Tandem, a blog for ministry wives

The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness
Chapter 5: Glorify God all the time

Sometimes we ask - how can we serve God when our lives are already so busy? We need to question the validity of such a question,
in the biblical worldview all of life – ‘ordinary life’ can and should be lived for God’s glory. We struggle to find time for God when in fact all of our time can be lived with him and for him. We feel guilty about not doing more as Christians when we are already spending 24 hours a day as Christians. (p61)
Glorifying God does not mean withdrawing from society to only read the bible and pray in quiet. It means glorifying God in all of the normal things of life:
the goal of biblical spiritual is conformity to Christ. It is to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow him. And the cross was not a place of serenity. It was a place of selflessness and sacrificial love in the midst of hate and violence. Even client, every customer, every colleague presents us with an opportunity to show love. (p63)

We should take delight in our work just as God takes delight in his work. We exist because God is a worker and continues to work today. Work is commended in the bible as a good thing. We do not need to separate work from more spiritual things, all things can glorify God:
the path of Christian discipleship is not away from the world. We can serve God as we change nappies, write emails, lay bricks, spread plaster, research essays and so on. If we do these things ‘in faith, love and holiness with propriety’ we will persevere in our salvation. (p67)
But, it is also true that we can find work frustrating, oppressive and idolatrous. Sin has affected our work, just like all other parts of life on earth. Work involves toil, it can be frustrating, workers can be exploited and people can use it to bring glory to themselves.

However, Christians find a renewed commitment to working for the glory of God. The attitude of Christians to their work, as well as their conduct, is to commend the gospel.

Chester finishes by challenging us to stop compartmentalising our lives. Our mission field can be at work, our leisure can be spent with work people, and we can have church friends and non-Christians over at the same time. When we seek to glorify God all the time, the boundaries between work, church, family and ministry become blurred and we are less concerned about separating them.

Some things to think about:
  • Does it help to realise that you already live 24 hours a day as Christian?
  • In what areas do you need to grow in godliness as you glorify God all the time? At work? As a spouse? As a parent?
  • In full-time ministry, work and ministry/mission are combined. Does that make it easier or harder for you to see the value in your work?
  • Do you feel you understand the pulls on your congregation members who have to manage work as well as ministry, yet still give time to their families? Are you sympathetic to their challenges?

We’ve seen that what we do & how we do it matters more than how much we do. Next we begin to turn to why we do it – getting to the heart of our busyness. Chapter 6 – next week.

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