Scripture from Aarti this morning.Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians are known as ‘The Prison Epistles’ because Paul wrote them to the churches while he was in prison.
Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Its the ultimate challenge, to live every moment of your life unto the Lord. For the simple reason that we are living unto someone or the other all our lives. We all live our lives unto all kinds of people. Who are you living unto? Wife? Husband? Inlaws? Friends? Neighbours? Boss? We are most always living unto multiple people in the course of a day: our exasperation at ‘another day of work’ in the morning, then placating/answering/backanswering our spouse, then putting up with the kids, then playacting civility to neighbours as we set off, then pretense cooperation with our colleagues, then kow-towing to the boss,
The Buddhist school recommends that you live unto yourself, and calls it mindfulness. The idea of mindfulness per se is a glorious one. Mindfulness is a sound scriptural idea. You consciously practice awareness, in the deepest sense of what you are doing and what is happening within you. Even medicine employs it, in the bio-cognitive feedback solutions that are taught to patients battling mental issues of depression and anxiety attacks. Mindfulness is very powerful, it is therapeutic in itself. But here is the great Christian dynamic: our mindfulness is to be suffused with Jesus.
To have your consciousness filled with something is to automatically relegate everything else to secondary position. It is interesting that this scripture uses the word heart , the word that is preferred to talk of the thing that occupies someone’s consciousness. Do what you have to do, or are doing, with your ‘heart’ on the Lord, with all your mindfulness on the Lord.
Have you ever done something ‘for someone? An easy example would be the young man off to buy flowers and candy for his sweetheart on Valentine’s Day. If it is a particular flower and a special candy box available at only one particular store, quite a way off, he will set out and all the inconvenience and distance and exasperation of travel will evaporate into nothing. On his way there, he will be occupied and indeed strengthened by the importance of the destination he has to reach, on his way back he will be occupied and energised with his confidence of the delight he will cause her.
To give you another example have you watched a young mother fix her baby’s formula? Every drop is made and measured with infinite precision. No effort is too much and the concentration is never relaxed. The baby occupies all its mother’s ‘heart’. Everything the mother does is ‘unto’ the baby.
What happens when you work ‘unto’ the Lord? All of the ‘other things’ get relegated to second place. You have a completely new dynamic of attention, commitment, industriousness, the entire energy within you rises to a clean, enervating energy.
That in itself is its own reward.
But such is the grace of God, there is more: "you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward". An inheritance is something bequeathed to you, by generosity or by right of inheriting. What comes from God is BOTH, by His generosity and by your right as His adopted child.
And what is this inheritance? "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." Paul wrote it very clearly to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 2:9