“LET’S MAKE IT LOOK NICE” By Pastor YAU
Text: Colossians 3:22-25. September 13, 2009
1) Words of Melissa: A short-term youth mission team traveled hundreds of miles to a distant place to do some work project. The temperature was high, the place was dirty and the smell was bad. The young people were painting the back of a school building for the deaf. The only people who would ever see this part of the building would be the guy who cut the grass and some unfortunate person who would have to work on the septic pit. Yet, as the young people diligently painted the wall, Melissa, one of the girls in the team, put it in perspective by saying, “No body will ever come back here to see this wall, but God will. So, let’s make it look nice.” And so they did.
2) Words of Paul: When Paul, the apostle, brought the gospel message to the gentile world in the Roman Empire, many had responded to it positively and were saved. According to God’s plan, all those who were saved became His children and were equal in God’s eyes. This brought unforeseen confusion among some believers in their social relationships and duties: parents to children, masters to slaves, husbands to wives. Were they equal in social orders as they were in spiritual orders? What would their responsibility be to each other in the new system? How should they treat each other and fulfill their duties at home, at work and in the church? Paul had written extensively on these issues in his letters to the early churches, particularly in this letter to the Colossians: Christians and responsibilities.
RESPONSIBILITY IN THE BIBLE:
1) God, giver of responsibility: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and to take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15) After God had done His responsibility in the creation of the Garden of Eden, He entrusted the garden to Adam so he could work in it and take care of it to fulfill his responsibility. Throughout the Bible, God gave many different responsibilities to men for different purpose. God continues to give us responsibilities through the social system like parents in the family and supervisors at work. He wants us to work, to take care of things and to be responsible. The Bible rebukes those who do not take responsibility seriously as being lazy sluggards.
2) Jesus, lover of responsibility: “His master replied: Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness.” (Matthew 25:21) In this Parable of the Talents, Jesus clearly favored those who took responsibility seriously and produced results. He did not just praise the good and faithful servants, he also rewarded them with higher level of responsibility and the privilege of sharing the joy of the master.
3) Paul, model of responsibility: “If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.” (1 Corinthians 9:17) Again, he expressed his commitment to responsibility in 4:1-2, “So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” Here faithful means to be responsible to God’s trust whatever it may be.
4) Crown, reward of responsibility: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord will award to me on that day.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)God is a loving and just God. He loves to see His people obey His trusts and He will reward the faithful ones with many blessings.
AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY: In sequence of priority.
1) Responsibility to God: “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. He is not served by human hands as if he needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” (Acts 17:24-25) Our life and breath and everything else we may have are given by God, so, we are to be responsible to God in all the things He has given us. This includes our time, talents, possessions and devotion. We receive all these from God and need to use them responsibly according to his will and purpose.
2) Responsible to the self: “After all, no one ever hates his own body, but he feeds and cares for it.” (Ephesians 5:29) Paul was talking about a husband should love his wife as must as he loves his own body. All of us are responsible to the well being of our bodies and beyond. We should be responsible to the condition of our mind, soul and spiritual quality. We should also be responsible to our character and reputation. Although we may need others for support, we are the primary caregiver of best quality for our life. Learn skills, form habits that will improve the condition of the quality of life.
3) Responsible to people: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 2:4-5)Christ did not look for his own interests but the interests of all the people of the world. God places us in all corners of the world, in different places so we are responsible to the interests of all people around us, starting from those in our immediate family. We also need to extend our responsibility to others whom God has placed on the path of our life.
4) Responsible to community: “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7)There are differences in Christian circle on how much we need to get involved with the secular society. But when Jesus commanded us to be the light of the world, we are responsible to the society where God places us in. In order to reach the world for God, we are responsible for the well being of the world. Get involved with community activities, volunteer in services, give to the needs of the less fortunate and shine light of the gospel to the people in our community. We are here to bring them to God.
DISCHARGING RESPONSIBILITIES: (Colossians 3:22-25)
1) Respect your position: “Servants, obey your earthly masters in everything.” (3:22) God, in His infinite wisdom, has designated us different position at different time. Sometimes, you may be in the position of a master, a leader. Other times, you may be in position of a servant, a follower. We need to respect God’s designation and those who are in position over us. Respect and obedience are very important attitude in discharging our responsibility in full force for best results.
2) Reverence and sincerity: “Not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.” (3:22b)Sincerity is attitude to the tasks while reverence is attitude to the Lord. Both are important and correlated in our discharging of responsibilities. We need to respect the Lord in His designation of position and task and do it with full sincerity and whole heartedness. This is applicable in all areas of life: at home, at work, in school and in God’s church. When we truly respect God’s assignment, we will do our best.
3) You are serving the Lord: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men.” (3:23)We all will do our very best in things of God. But God asks that we also need to do things of this world the same way: with all our hearts. Being honest and diligent in our job is not just our duty, it is also opportunity of witnessing on the spiritual quality in us. Through our faithful service to men, we serve the Lord. This is also applicable in our service in God’s church. When you cook, vacuum the classrooms, clean the restrooms, sweep the floor in the gym, cut grass, empty trashcans, you are serving the Lord.
4) You will be rewarded: “Since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.” (3:24)The energy, time, diligence and heart you put in your work whatever it may be, if you serve men as you serve God, the Lord promised a reward in due time and place. If you serve in things with your whole heart as serving the Lord, He can see and He will pour blessings on you beyond your imagination. Being faithful is being fruitful.
5) You reap what you sowed: “Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.” (3:25) No one may escape punishment or suffer loss for long if he plays tricks, cuts corners or just being lazy. God will not reward sluggards. If you build your life, job, career, marriage and family on sands, they will tumble sooner or later. God will not and cannot bless unfaithful practices or insincere attitude.
1) Don’t be a free rider. God created us intended to be useful and productive. He has given to each of sufficient gifts or talents to do His work anywhere He assigns us to. No one should live on others as Paul says, “If a man will not work, he will not eat.” (1 Thessalonians 3:10)The Lord intends us to be fruitful to glorify the Father. (John 15:8)
2) Be a faithful servant: Faithfully discharging your duties given by God is a sign of being a responsible person. This world needs many of this kind of people in homes, work places, schools, churches and community. Be faithful to God’s assignments, our promises, trusts from God and men and your own pursuit of life. Even no one is watching, we still do our best, not to please men for personal favor but to please God for His glory.
3) Be ready for rewards: God is faithful in His promises. When He promised to reward those who are responsible, diligent, faithful and honest He will fulfill His promise beyond your imagination. Come to God for His forgiveness and receive a gift of salvation and eternal life. He will bless your life, make you useful and productive. He will place you on a higher ground than all you can do for yourself.