Colossians 3-4, Psalm 14
When we are around co-workers, friends and family members that do not believe in God, do we appear more like our unbelieving friends or do we set ourselves apart as workers for Christ. Last Friday I delivered 6 babies and assisted my partner on a 7th. It was a tiring day, but the day that God had planned for me. But how do we relate this to others. Do we complain about how tiring or difficult our day is? Do we complain how difficult some of our co-workers are? If in the medical field do we complain about our patients, or in teaching about our students, or in law enforcement about the criminals? If employees do we complain about our bosses, or if bosses about our employees? Do we use clever little phrases like hump day for Wednesday, or if asked how things are going respond with the number of hours until you can get out? When it comes to family do you complain about various members you will have to see at a family dinner? The unbelieving world is continually watching to see if we appear no different than them or if we set ourselves apart.
Paul said in Colossians 4:5-6, "Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one." Very straightforward by Paul, really no way to misinterpret this. He also specifically mentions the work environment, which I will change the word bondservant for employee and master for boss to make it more applicable. He says to employees in 3:22-24, "Bondservants"(employees),"obey in all things your masters (bosses) according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 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." Getting away with things or slacking may be missed by the eyes of the boss, but not God. He speaks directly to bosses in 4:1, "Masters (bosses), give your bondservants (employees) what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven." How seriously do we take this message. I have 6 partners in my practice, I am truly blessed with each one, I thank God for all of them. Of late, I have noticed a complaining and grumbling spirit developing about almost everything. At the last partner's meeting I spoke to them about this and told them that God has blessed our group, but His hand of blessing could be just as easily removed by this grumbling disposition. I gave them the example of the Israelites wandering in the desert. According to Numbers 1:46, there were 603,550 men (20 and older) who left Egypt at the Exodus from Egypt. Due to their grumbling, complaining, and disobedience, 603,548 died in the 40 year desert journey. Only Joshua and Caleb made it through. With examples like this do we really feel God is neutral about a complaining spirit or do we really believe our circumstances are more difficult than they were for the Israelites.
Mahatma Gandhi said, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Do we resemble Christ to others? Jesus despite physical exhaustion never complained when confronted with another opportunity to serve the multitudes. We have to all reflect on our lives and determine whether we try harder to fit in or are we Christ's light bearers in a lost generation exuding Christ in all scenarios. None of us will do this perfectly while on earth, but do we look any different than others. Do we formulate excuses in our minds why we don't separate ourselves from behavior which is ungodly. The world is watching whether our walk matches our talk. In Matthew 5:16, Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Paul said in Ephesians 5:8, "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light." How we carry ourselves does matter. This is part of our witness. Unless we separate ourselves for Christ, if and when we do talk to others about the gospel message, why would they listen. How we act and behave around others is another manifestation of God's love.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: