I once attended a church where the common question was, “what are you doing for the Lord”. I believe the question was well intentioned, but it always left me perplexed. I felt directed by the Lord to be ministering there, but had no ready answer for the question. I’ve recently revisited this question, and I believe I’ve discovered a new perspective.
This is what I’ve come to. I am not doing for the Lord; I am doing with the Lord. At first this may seem like a subtle difference, but on further thought I have found it quite profound. When doing for the Lord, I am focused on pursuing my effort. In doing with the Lord, I am engaged in a relationship that brings about a good work. I am reminded of Jesus’ words, “I am the vine; and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). He is the vine: I am the branch. It stands to reason then that I am working with Jesus not for him. This perspective keeps me from working to find favor with the Lord. I already have his favor. We are working together.
Jesus’ words, as recorded in Matthew 11:28-30, broadened my understanding of working with him. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”.
I want the easy light burden that working with Jesus brings. I want to work with Jesus not for him. He is my king, and he deserves my every effort for sure, but his words give me a different focus, relationship. He invites me to come to him and work alongside him. He affords me the great privilege of working at his side.