Whatever You Do
Living as a child of God is all-encompassing. There is no aspect of life that is untouched by what we think about God and how we make our choices. We cannot just unplug ourselves from serving the Lord at certain times and act as though we have freedom to do as we will apart from Him. Many passages in Scripture show the importance of living life within the will of God. Let’s think for a moment, though, about a phrase that we find that may help put this in perspective: “whatever you do.” That phrase leaves nothing on the table; it involves everything that we think and do. Consider that phrase as found in these passages:
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31).
In a context sensitive to both the liberties and the consciences of others (1 Cor 10), Paul sets the focus on God over self. God is the One to be glorified by our actions, so selfish behavior is not acceptable. Notice what Paul says next (vv. 32-33): “Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.” These are significant lessons:
1. Try to “give no offense.” In other words, try not to be the occasion for others to stumble (NIV: “Do not cause anyone to stumble”). We realize that people will stumble over the preaching of the gospel (1 Cor 1-2), but by our focus and actions we might be glorifying self, and in so doing become a stumbling block to others because we run roughshod over their faith and conscience to get what we want.
2. Instead of ignoring the faith and conscience of others, seek to “please everyone in everything” (Yes, that’s what it says). What does this mean? The idea is to seek to accommodate the needs and interests of others. Take into account where others are in their consciences and try to be helpful to them. This same idea is given in Phil 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Don’t be blind to the needs of others, but seek to elevate them, help them, encourage them, and be sensitive to where they are conscientiously. Put their needs before yours.
3. Paul modifies what he is saying: “not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.” Instead of seeking our own selfish purposes, seek to become a bridge for others to be reconciled to God. Selfishness breeds contempt for God and others, but a mind intent on helping others in their fellowship with God will avoid seeking personal advantage because we want all to be saved. The salvation of others is more important than my personal rights.
While our liberties should not be judged by another’s conscience (v. 29), neither shall we use our liberties to run over others so that we are hurtful and become a cause for their fall. Seek their salvation. Seek to glorify God. Put aside selfish ambitions.
Next, Paul uses that phrase twice in Colossians 3:
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:16-17).
“Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ” (Col 3:23-24).
Here, Paul again shows the importance of doing everything within a context of serving the Lord:
1. Both word and deed are to be done in the Lord’s name. This is to His glory and according to His will.
2. Work “from the heart.” The term here involves all of life — the heart, soul, and mind. This is how we are to love God and work for him. We are to give our all.
3. “For the Lord and not for people.” While we are serve others through love, we realize that ultimately our work is for the Lord, even in our service of others. We are not to be so concerned about looking good in front of others that we neglect what we are doing for the Lord. He takes the first position in all we do, and He is the one who provides our final inheritance, not people.
4. “You serve the Lord Christ.” This reiterates the point. If we can just remember that, in all we are doing, we serve the Lord, other things will fall into place. The practical aspect of this is to realize that when we drive, eat, go to work, write a paper, involve ourselves in recreation, or whatever else we are doing, we are serving the Lord Christ. This is comprehensive, inclusive, and leaves nothing of our lives untouched.
Are you serving the Lord Christ today in whatever you do and doing all in HIs name?