I recently had an experience that reminded me again of the importance of infusing pride, presence, passion, and purpose in each and every action we undertake. I went to the Red Cross center to donate blood, and was rather disappointed by the nurse taking care of me…Her attitude was rather hurried and hassled as she ran through the motions of her work, grumbled slightly, and made noticeable errors. Needless to say, this was not terribly comforting for someone who was preparing to stick a long needle into my arm. But it also got me to thinking…it seemed a shame that she had such a grudging attitude toward her work. It was a series of tasks: questions, temperature check, iodine, needle, bag, Band-Aid…there was no joy, no regard for the incredible life-saving events going on. Yet how often do we treat so many things with the same manner? We get so wrapped up in busy-ness and tasks that many aspects of life become just a series of meaningless chores.
Unfortunately, we can even approach children’s ministry with this apathetic mindset. Whether we are reading verses or singing songs or guiding students, sometimes we forget the why behind the what. Frustrations arise and our busy schedules take over, and before we know it we are rushing through lessons and feeling dissatisfied by it all. We look at kids as names on a list or tasks to sort through, and we neglect to see them as people made in God’s image. Sometimes we become tangled up in politics and church details and we lose the joy behind what we are doing.
This is why Paul reminds us:
“whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” -Colossians 3:17
He repeats this a few verses later, emphasizing “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 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)
This principle applies to any and every situation. We might be taking out trash, working in a bank, coaching a sport, grocery shopping, doing laundry…when we recall our true master we can infuse all actions with renewed life and genuine purpose. Teaching (or writing or supervising) Sunday school is not merely a series of events but a beautiful outpouring of God’s work. We have potential to genuinely impact these students and to change and save their lives…that is thrilling when we think of it!
So let’s recall the purpose of what we do. Rather than succumbing to the distractions of constantly thinking one step ahead, let’s be present in one moment at a time. It requires focus on the task at hand. It requires living in God’s presence and trusting His lead. It requires vigilance in prayer. And it results in greater peace, passion, and pleasure in all pursuits. We do not work for pastors or superintendents or boards or ourselves…we work for GOD.