2) Method: Do It Heartily
Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men (Colossians 3:22-23)
If God is the recipient of our actions, then that has to change how we do those actions. If the recipient of our actions is a teacher, a manager, a husband, a child, or merely for financial reward money, it will affect how we work. In fact, in some cases, we will do what Paul called Christian servants to avoid: working with eyeservice as menpleasers. When the only recipient of the work is another human being, we tend to work to the degree that we are supervised.
Once we change the motive, the method also changes. Did you ever think about that line in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Will Be Done On Earth as it is in Heaven?” How is God’s will done in Heaven? What methods do angels use in performing God’s will that might look like different to human ones?
Paul says, do all things heartily. Literally translated, we are to work from our souls. We must work from our inner beings: sincerely, meaningfully, and with integrity. Work as someone who is sincere, who wants God to receive this action as a gift.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going. (Ecclesiastes 9:10 )
What kind of gifts do we give God? The Lord’s Prayer gives us one answer. David at the threshing floor of Araunah gives us an answer. Mary and her alabaster box gives us an answer. The priests in Malachi give us a negative answer. The steward in Christ’s parable who buried his talent gives us a negative answer.
Perhaps 2 Corinthians 9:7 sums it up:
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
When we give money to God, the Bible says we are do it deliberately, voluntarily, and cheerfully. That sounds like a simple and good formula for doing all that we do as to the Lord. If we are going to make that sale, or do that calculation, or bake that cake, or drive that passenger, or help that customer for God, then we should do it as if God himself were the one receiving the action, or at least the one before whom we do it. We should do do deliberately. We should do so willingly, not dragging my feet. We should do so cheerfully, with gratitude, and joy.
At this point, this high ideal begins to concern us. Would not a life of doing all things heartily burn us out? How could anyone live life like that?
Doing all things heartily does not mean that we live at only one pace, in high gear, all the time. We can do something for the Lord heartily, when we do it well, quietly, simply, and effectively. Working from our soul does not mean that we live at the point of exhaustion all the time. It means we are engaged, deliberate, and living with the zeal and joy that comes from doing what we do for the One we love most.
Even so, how can we possibly find the strength to change our motive and method for all things? The answer lies in the different means we employ for consecration.
3) Means: By His Grace
To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. (Colossians 1:29)
Where does Paul get the ability to labour? By striving according to his working. God’s enabling grace gives spiritual strength, mental vitality, and physical ability according to our need, and according to God’s sovereign decision.
God gives different amounts to different people, but we can be sure that when we consecrate something lawful to God, God will supply the grace we need.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
How do we obtain this enabling power? How do we experience this grace? The answer is simple: do all we do for his sake, and do it heartily. If this is truly something we can do for God’s glory, and we are genuinely doing it for his glory, and we are doing it heartily, then God will give us grace proportionate to the strain.
Your sandals shall be iron and bronze; As your days, so shall your strength be. (Deuteronomy 33:25)
As we pray and commit what we are doing to God, we in the same breath ask him for help and enablement. And then we demonstrate that we wanted divine grace by working heartily. You don’t need grace to work half-heartedly.
That doesn’t mean we will not be tired at the end of a day. It doesn’t mean that parenting or studying or serving will not be difficult. It will be. God promised Adam that work would now be exhausting, difficult, and sometimes fruitless. That’s part of working in a sin-cursed world. Simply because we do something for God, with God as our strength, does not mean we will not be weary.
What the presence of grace does mean is that we need never be in despair. We need never say “Why do I labour for what does not profit?” We need never say, “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.” If we are learning to do all that we do for God’s sake, then all actions become part of eternity. All things done for the Lord add up.
The Lord Himself said “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42 )