BY: CINDY JACKSON
E-MAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
BIBLE TEXT: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” –Colossians 3:23-24
PERSONAL REFLECTION: “Whatever you do, do your best for the Lord.” How many times over the years of raising my three children had I said this to them when they complained or gave what I thought was a less than stellar performance at a chore or school assignment? Too many to count! Now, after 23 years of parenting and homemaking, I myself had forgotten whom I was serving. Frankly, I was tired of doing laundry, cooking, and cleaning for nearly grown people who, for the most part, appeared ungrateful. I began mumbling to myself as I did my work, snapping at my children when the “What’s for dinner?” question arose, and stomping around, ready to bite off a head or two. I also believe that if you’re going to throw a party, you should do it right, so I threw the best pity party ever by doing a few calculations. If I was going to wallow in self-pity, I was going to really have something to wallow in. I calculated that in 23 years, I had cleaned the house 1,196 times, completed 11,960 loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen at least 21,597 times, and prepared about the same number of meals. I magnified it by reminding myself that I had done all of these things even more times in the four years before I had children. Add my self-righteousness to my self-pity, and that was some party.
I love how God can be so gentle in His reminders and His reprimands. He gently admonished me through a little giant of an older Crucian man named Melrose. I immediately noticed Melrose on our first morning of vacation when we went to the resort restaurant for breakfast. He was dark skinned, thin and a bit stooped over, with the largest smile, despite some missing teeth. He went about his job of bussing tables with an attitude of joy that can only come from knowing Whom you serve. He was happy cleaning other people’s messes! Melrose, obviously, served the KING. His smile and laughter lit up the room as he cleaned tables, and his “God bless you’s” were heard throughout the breakfast meal. I studied him every morning, observing that his attitude NEVER changed, even when a waitress admonished him. On the last morning as I was leaving the restaurant, I impulsively turned around and went back in, found Melrose and thanked him for serving me all week. We gave each other a big hug, and he gave me one last “God bless you.” I told him, “Yes, He has already blessed me – through you.”
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Often we find ourselves doing jobs that we don’t love or serving people who appear ungrateful, but we should still continue to do our best and serve with joy because we ultimately serve the King. Quite often now, when I’m doing another load of laundry, washing another dish, or worse, scrubbing a toilet, and I want to complain, I’ll think of my Crucian friend Melrose, and I’ll say to the Lord, ”Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve You. Let me ‘do it heartily’ for You.” Remembering the One I serve makes the job a bit easier.
PRAYER: Father, You provide us with so many opportunities to serve You every day. Keep us from grumbling and complaining and let us remember that when we are serving others, we are really serving You. Help our work to be a blessing and an act of worship and praise to You.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cindy has been married to Tim Jackson for 28 years and has three children: Audrey (23), Tyler (19), and Drew (17). Cindy has been a home school mom for 19 years and has been teaching other home school students for seventeen years. Studying and teaching the Word, reading, writing, and healthy cooking are her favorite pastimes.