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Invisible Badges

I recently read the story of a Christian doctor working in Uganda, who struggles each day against multiple obstacles to give good medical care to her destitute patients. Her life is visibly dedicated to God’s service all day, every day. Full-time pastors, missionaries, Bible professors, directors of charitable organizations…these people's daily jobs are badges that say “I’m living my life for God.”

My badge is not so visible, and yours might not be either. But that matters not at all. What matters is that we actually are, all day, every day, living our lives for God. We are bought with a price. We’re His bondslaves (the freest slaves there ever were). Our lives are not our own to fritter away as we please, but rather when we join God’s family we are given the privilege of participating in the work of redemption that He is doing on this planet. We may have many more years, or only a few months in which to do the work He has prepared beforehand for us to do. Since we don’t know how much time we have, and since we’re only promised today, there’s no time to waste!

What does living for God look like? We can’t all be pastors or doctors in Uganda or directors of inner city soup kitchens. In fact most of us have long lists of daily responsibilities that might not, at first glance, seem very “God-oriented.” Your list might include changing diapers, cleaning the kitchen again, writing quarterly reports, giving someone a manicure, lying in bed doing your best to recover from illness or injury, fixing broken cars, or working a cash register in a shop. Well, this is living. The key to making it “living for God” is to make sure that “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17

Change those diapers and pray for those babies. Keep them clean and happy and feeling loved. And tell them of Jesus’ love for them from the moment you have them in your arms until they’re out the door.

Clean the kitchen till it sparkles, giving thanks for the equipment and food available to feed your hungry family. Pray for what you lack. Scan the shelves and see if there are a few cans you could donate to the food bank in town.

Write your reports to the best of your ability, with clarity and integrity. You’re helping to meet a need for reliable, useful information. Thank God for the skills you have, and your ability to contribute to your business’ success. Pray for Him to be glorified in your job and your company.

Nail technicians, checkout clerks, and service workers of all kinds have a captive audience for a short time…be gracious and gentle with your customers, letting the love of Jesus flow through you to them, even if they’re unkind or ignore you. You may be the only evidence of God’s love they see in their lives. Give the best service you can, and a little extra. You’re representing Jesus Christ, even if the people you serve never realize it.

Even if all your energy and time is currently devoted to dealing with an illness, you can put Christ in the center of all your thoughts and conversation. Pray without ceasing, for your own needs and for whoever Jesus brings to your mind. Rest in His love. Read or listen to Scripture. This is the service you can offer Him today, and He will treasure it.

If, in the course of your day, you find yourself doing something, but unable to do it in the name of the Lord Jesus, take a moment to think through why that might be. If you’re taking a break and working a Sudoku puzzle, that’s okay, thank Him for the chance to rest your body while keeping your mind sharp. But if you’re watching a sleazy movie or on the phone gossiping about a troubled friend, well, it’s going to be pretty hard to find anything God-honoring in those activities. So stop doing them! There’s no time to waste, remember?

I encourage you to join me in reading Colossians chapter three as our marching orders for each day. Paul reminds us of who we were, who we are now, and what that means for our daily living. And he exhorts us all: “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!”

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