A friend who is quite involved in ministry efforts recently asked me this question based on her experience in planning a retreat for her church, “Why is is that when people work for the Lord, they aren’t committed to it and they do a sloppy job?”
A profound observation and thought-provoking question. I’ve had the same experience. And I’ve been guilty of the same thing.
I think part of the reason is that it’s easy to make the Lord impersonal and “up there” rather than a real person in the here and now (closer than anybody else – He’s IN us!). We would never think of performing at work the way we sometimes perform in ministry. It would really put us in a bad place with our boss! Who we see every day… But the fact is God is more real than our boss. We just have a tendency to lose sight of that.
I suspect another part is that we know God has a lot of grace for us. We can drop the ball, mess it up, or do a half-donkey job because somewhere deep inside we think, “it doesn’t really matter.” God’s grace will cover it. But then we’re cheapening God’s grace. We’re taking for granted His love and His sacrifice on the cross for us. Seems to me that’s a far more treacherous thing than doing a poor job on an assignment at work.
The Bible says that in whatever we do, we are to work as for the Lord rather than as for men. That’s because we are in fact working for the Lord, not for men. Whether it’s at work or in ministry, it’s the Lord Christ whom we serve. And we should do so with diligence and excellence. (Col. 3:23-25)