Friday, January 25, 2013

Carrying Out Small Instructions

Carrying Out Small Instructions: A Lesson in Greatness
"And whatever you do . . " Colossians 3:17a

"What can I do for extra credit and how can I improve my grade?"  
"Just do the work and follow my instructions."
"But I didn't do the assignment because I already knew it!"
"Just do the work, it's part of this class."

I taught writing at various levels for more than 18 years and am convinced I learned far more than my students.  As the lead learner, I realized how giving assignments with crystal clarity was the key for success in writing for middle school through college students.  The majority of students finished their assignments but I always heard from the "20 percenters" who either forgot, completed half the assignment, left it on their computer, or simply were too busy to do the work.  

The lesson I learned?  Just do the work!

Students, like us, want to be great; the desire for greatness is God-given.  Proverbs 13:19 reminds us, "Greatness is a longing satisfied." One way our longings are satisfied is through the work God gives us to do. Our everyday work is a gift from God.   In the school of life where God is the Teacher of teachers, sometimes I turn my back on His lessons, just like my students, thinking I already know this so why follow through?  What keeps me from God's greatness is the tempter. A courageous soul, someone who we would say is "great" has overcome tons of temptations. 

 In our culture, do we see our everyday work as meaningless?  Could that be our great temptation?  We make celebrities out of people who are in full-time ministry or who are in  media.  What I am doing now should be the most important thing in the world to me.  I need to do the work.  You and I were designed to work.  Everything God placed inside us needs to come out.  Do I make it beautiful?  Is it a work of art?  Or am I giving into the temptation to cut corners?  It's a lie that someone else's work and life are more meaningful.  The truth is I can bring meaning to my work, my job, my responsibilities.

Everyday life is very spiritual and here are six ways you can bring more meaning to your daily life:

  • Carry Out the Instructions: even if it means making someone else look great
  • Finish Your Prayer: be convinced God will come to your aid and intervene
  • Humble Yourself: Benedict of Nursia writes, "the third step to humility is obedience to others. Because of our love for God, we submit ourselves to others."
  • Pay Attention: Emotions serve us well when we pay attention to them without making them our master
  • Keep Clear from Idolatry: A person of nobel attitude asks herself when faced with temptation,"Am I in the place of God, could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?"
  • Do the Work: Dig faster and deeper in all God brings your way
"And 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