April 25, 2016

Only if I feel like it?

When I told one of my relatives that I was busy doing this and that, she replied, “I’ve reached the place in my life where I won’t do anything unless I feel like it. I am doing only what I want to do.”

This reminded me of an artist who painted in the cold of Alberta winters, usually in his car with it running to keep his paints from freezing. He said, “I’ve learned that if I let the weather keep me from my work, before long I would never go outside.”

He is right. I can always find reasons to not do things. I’m tired, or it takes too long, or I’d rather sit with my feet up. The more challenging the chore, the more excuses to procrastinate, or to bypass it entirely.

Paul wrote to a young pastor and told him what God says about the work he was doing . . .

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:1–2, italics mine)

God would eventually evaluate Timothy’s life, not for salvation, but for rewards. One factor in that evaluation would be this man’s readiness to do things whether it was an opportune time or not, and whether he felt like it or not.

Chambers says Christians who pick and choose their obedience by how they feel are called “unemployables” in the kingdom of God. They refuse to do anything unless they are supernaturally inspired, and since God does not play that game, they wind up becoming useless.

Chambers goes on to say that the proof of being rightly related to God is that we do our best whether we feel inspired or not. This is a good word for me on a dreary Monday morning with a chore list that includes a pile of laundry that needs sorting and washing. I’d rather do almost anything else.

Chambers tells how easy it is to make those rare moments of ‘inspiration and insight’ a requirement for life. After a time of spiritual fullness, I might find myself saying that this is how I will serve God from now on. The trouble is, I cannot control that. I cannot press a button or make a decision to be on any sort of spiritual mountaintop. It is God who gifts me and puts me at my best. I should never make a god of those best moments.

It takes self-discipline (another gift from the Holy Spirit) to do the tasks at hand, and do them as well as I can. If He chooses to give my efforts the wonderful gift of ‘flying high’ in the work, I’m to receive it with gratitude and give Him glory. If not, I’m to ask for His blessing on the results — then obey Him and do the work even if I don’t feel like it.

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