Well, well, where should I start talking about today? There were quite a few things out of the ordinary. I found out today that people were expecting me to wash dishes again tonight, even though I had never told anyone that I was. They had mentioned it to me, and Jeff and Zeth said they had to check their work schedules, so they would get back to them. I never said anything to anyone, so I don’t think they should have just assumed that I could. Oh well, a simple misunderstanding, I suppose. Anyways, I had to go find Jeff’s phone number as soon as I got home and leave a message saying that I couldn’t go. It came out sounding horrible and abrupt – man, I hate answering machines. I try to say everything I need to as concisely as possible, but it always comes out sounding like I’m angry or nervous or something. I’d much rather write a nice email and get out my thoughts in written form. Oh well.
Today at lunch, Hendrik showed up. He’s back from Germany after being there for almost a year, and I’m sure Lana’s just jumping up and down for joy – or not. He came into the lunch room and Lana just kind of ignored him. His hair is a lot longer, and I was tempted to ask what kind of volumizing conditioner he uses, but I restrained myself. It just looked so…flowing. I doubt that he’d really appreciate me saying that, though.
After school, on the bus ride home, I was talking to Meagan and Melissa, and Melissa mentioned how she was giving Dave one of those yellow Live Strong bracelets that gives profits to cancer research. I asked her why I didn’t get one since I had given her $20 for the Relay for Life. I made such a big deal about it that she gave me Dave’s bracelet that was in her purse, even though I really didn’t want one. Oh well. I was bugging her right before I got off the bus at the mall, and she was trying to cut me with the plastic bag thing that the bracelet came in, but it wasn’t working too well. I was too busy flirting with her, though, and so I didn’t see the fact that the bus I was wanting to transfer onto had just driven away. I got off the bus, and as that one drove away, I saw the other one driving away just ahead of it. At first I was suddenly angry, and then I remembered the thought that I had when I was doing my Phys. Ed. homework last night. It was talking about staying fit and exercising, and I suddenly had the idea that walking home from the mall was just the kind of exercise that I could use – and it actually has a purpose to it, since I’m walking home, not just walking around the block or something stupid like that. So, with that happy thought, I got out my mp3 player, put the earphones in my ear, and headed home.
After struggling to hold everything and fish around in my bag for more batteries for my mp3 player, I was angry again. The batteries had died, and so I had to swing my bag around and open the pocket to find the extra batteries I had stashed away in there. I couldn’t do it while holding the mp3 player, so I had to stick that in my pocket and take my bag off, holding it by the handle instead of the strap. I got out the package of AAA batteries, and took one out, trying to hold onto my bag as well. Fumbling and juggling it around, I finally got a battery out, closed the package up, and stuck it back into my bag – dropping the battery in the pocket at the same time. Frustrated, I fished around inside the pocket with my hand trying to find the battery that I had just gotten out two seconds ago, and I couldn’t find it. I had to open up the package again and get another battery out. Then it was a matter of closing up my bag, putting it back on my back, getting out my mp3 player, opening it up, taking out the dead battery, replacing it, and putting it back together. It was a whole lot of fiddling around just for one stupid battery. Sheesh.
Anyways, with my music shortage solved, I felt happy once more. There’s a lot of construction on Lynden Rd., so I had to cross the street at the lights. While I was over there, I decided that since I was walking home in the heat, I needed and deserved something cold to drink. So, on my way past, I stopped in at Tim Horton’s and got an Iced Cappuchino, then headed on my way. The walk home was fairly uneventful, but it gave me a good chance to think, which is always a good thing. It also wasn’t too hot, since there was a nice breeze, so that was also good. It was actually a pretty nice day, and as I looked around, I realized just how much we take for granted. I mean, here we are on this massive earth that supports our every need and want, and we grumble and complain when it rains, for crying out loud. I mean, without the rain, all the plants would die, and then all the oxygen that those plants produce that is so vital to our existence would sort of stop being created, and then we’d sort of, you know, die. It’s amazing how ungrateful we are as humans toward the God that created everything for our pleasure.
Sometimes it’s just amazing to go outside – anywhere, really, although a forest or field is always good – and just thank God for everything He’s given us. I mean, He was up there from day 1 of existence thinking, “What should I create to provide for these people I’m going to create next and love? How can I best create a planet that will sustain itself through naturally occurring cycles and growth, and give my people all sorts of pleasure? What materials can I give them that will allow them to manipulate and recreate all sorts of great inventions and tools?” It’s awesome when you think about it that way. He’s given us everything on this earth for our enjoyment, and so often we’re down here complaining about all the annoying little details of everything. It’s sad, really.
Anyways, with that deep thought, let me move on. I got home and wrung the sweat out of my clothes. They were pretty wet; it was quite gross. I left a message for Jeff and then, after doing my devotions, headed down here to write what you’re reading at this very moment. I guess I should segue into my next topic by mentioning how I came up with it. During the last class today, we were writing out memory work – Colossians 3. As I sat there writing out the verses I’ve learned and could say in my sleep, my mind started wandering toward today’s blog. Sad, yes, I know. This thing is slowly becoming my life; but hey, I love writing, what can I say? Anyways, it was when I got to verse 23 that something hit me.
“Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 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.” (Colossians 3:22-24)
Of course, the context is obviously about slaves and masters. But I believe that this principle could be applied for anyone. Paul tells the Colossians to work at whatever they do with all their heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. How often do we think about it that way? I mean, I’m asking myself that question, since that’s exactly what I did this afternoon as I was writing out the verses. How many times in the past week, or perhaps the past month, have I actually thought about what I was doing as if I were doing it for the Lord? I’m sure I could count all those times on one hand, perhaps even with one finger. I mean, at school and at home, I get told to do things all the time, and sometimes I can see the reason for it, and sometimes I can’t. But I always think of it as my parents or my teacher telling me to do it. What if, on the other hand, Jesus Himself came down and said, “Hey, could you do this for me, please?” All us Christians would certainly jump up and rush off to do whatever He had told us to do. So why don’t we think of other things that way? I mean, I have an English essay to write tonight. What if I wasn’t handing it in to Mr. G, but rather handing it in to God to get marked? Wouldn’t I take it just a little more seriously then? I think the answer to that question is pretty obvious.
Paul also tells the Colossians that we are to do this since we know that we will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. I think that part of it could just be excluded. Should we really need a motivation in the form of a reward in order to serve Christ? I mean, too often that is what we want in order to have motivation to do anything – what’s in it for me, in other words – but I’m saying that shouldn’t be our motivation. I think we should be serving Christ just because He’s Christ, and even if He never did another thing for us for all eternity, He’s still given us everything He could, including the forgiveness of our sins and the promise of eternal life. If that isn’t a motivation to serve Him, then nothing is. You might as well just give up on the Christian faith if you’re not willing to serve Christ, even if there were no hope of a reward. But Christ, out of His love for us, still offers us that reward for our faithful service, and that should not be a motivation but rather just an added benefit. We shouldn’t be saying, “What’s in it for me?” but rather, “What’s in it for Him?” We are here to glorify Christ, and even if writing an English essay doesn’t have any eternal benefits, the fact that I’ve worked at it with all my heart as service to the Lord brings glory to Him. As His servant, it’s my duty to do that, and I must admit that I’ve been horribly failing at that task – mainly because I never really thought about it this way before.
If you think about it, the verse says “Whatever you do.” That gives us a lot of freedom in our daily lives. Some things are dictated to us to do by our authorities. The government tells me I have to pay taxes on my income. My parents tell me I have to be home by a certain time. But most of the things in our lives are not dictated to us by anyone. They’re our personal decisions, and we must choose what to do. But we’re free to choose what we will. The basis for that decision, however, should be to bring glory to God. What will best glorify Him? Once we figure out that question, we need to do it for that purpose. That gives me a strong argument against legalistic Christians, though. It says “whatever you do,” not “do this or that.” Elsewhere (in 1 Corinthians 6 and 10) it says, “Everything is permissible.” That means exactly what it says. Everything. We are not bound by anything, because we are under grace. However, along with that verse comes the next part, “but not everything is beneficial.” So the question is really, “Based on the freedom I have under grace, what will be beneficial to Christ’s purposes, others, and then, lastly, myself?” I don’t think that one could honestly say, “Yes, since murder is permissible, I can murder this person, because it’s glorifying Christ.”
I guess I just like to make the distinction between “rules” and “guidelines.” The Old Testament Law was a set of rules. We have been freed from that. As Christians, I do not believe that we have “rules” to govern us. Certainly it shows us God’s standards, but we are not obligated to follow them. Now, before I get kicked out of my church for heretical teaching, let me say this: we aren’t under the rules, but since we love (or at least should love) Christ for what He’s done for us, out of love we should follow His guidelines for our lives. Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” (John 14:23-24) You see, we obey Christ’s teachings not out of obligation, but because of love. Following rules because you’re scared of the consequences is no way to live. God would much rather see His child following the guidelines He’s set out of them because they love Him, and their obedience is a display of that love. On the other hand, I think God would rather just have you say, “No way, God, I’m not following Your rules, I hate You,” then have you follow them just because you’re afraid of Him. God, in Revelation, through John, told the church in Laodicea that he would rather have them hot or cold; since they were lukewarm, though, He said He would spit them out of His mouth.
Perhaps I’m just splitting hairs here, but I’m pretty sure that I’m right on this matter. I know if I were God (I know, I know, scary thought), I’d rather just have people hate me than pretend to love me and not actually do so. Those kinds of people are called hypocrites, and although God still loves them, He’s also not very happy with them. But anyways, I’m going to just stop talking about this whole thing now and get to work on the homework I have due. After all, God’s going to be expecting a well-written thesis, right?