Lord of the Work

We live in a culture that values productivity. Productivity and busyness. And there are elements of that, that are good and beneficial.
I personally love feeling productive. There’s satisfaction in checking things off my to-do list. In fact, sometimes, I add things to my to-do list that are already done, just so I can have the satisfaction of checking them off.  Surely I’m not alone…
The problem with valuing productivity so highly is that it can easily spread over from our work and affect our relationships. It’s easy to subconsciously move from truly loving and valuing a person, to minimizing them to something to check off our list. And even easier to get so busy doing things for them, that we forget/neglect the actual person.
With three young daughters, my days are often centered around their care. I wash and fold their clothes, cook their meals, wash their dishes, work on their reading skills, shampoo their hair and help them tie their shoes. I clean the house, trim their nails, teach them math and science and grammar. My days are full of work I do on their behalf. And that’s good – that’s what a mother does. But in the midst of working for them, I need to remember to spend time with them.
My girls enjoy clean clothes, good meals, and the opportunity to expand their young minds, but what they want most, is me. They want me to play hide and seek, snuggle with them before bed, and ask them about their day. They want my attention. They want my love. They want my time. All the things I do for them are good, but it’s not what they most desire.
In a similar way, as we value productivity, we can get so caught up in checking things off our spiritual to-do list, that we unconsciously forget the One we work for. We check off church, bringing extra food to the church picnic, showing up for ladies’ Bible study, helping with the youth, inviting a neighbor to church, maybe even singing with the praise team…and yet in the midst of all that productivity on the Lord’s behalf, sometimes we find that we’ve forgotten the Lord of the work.
While He calls us to serve, what He wants most is our love. He’s not just after obedience (although His best follows it), He’s after relationship with us. He wants our time and our attention and our love. Not in a needy way, but as a God who is all about relationship.
In Luke 10 we see the story of Mary and Martha. Jesus loves both sisters as we see later, but while Martha was “distracted with much serving” it was Mary’s willingness to sit at His feet and value His presence that pleased Him most.
We are most certainly living in a culture that values productivity over relationship,  and yet, at the core of our being, we were created for relationship as we were made in the image of God. A God who gives the first and second commandment – to love God and love others. Love looks like something, and service in it’s purest form is love in action, yes, but love is ultimately about relationship. And we were made for it.
Let’s not let the value system of our world distract us from what is most important. Don’t make the same mistake as Martha and forget that the work is less important than the One we do the work for. Though it feels good to be productive and check tasks off our to-do list, let’s remember that God Himself is more important still, and He values us sitting at His feet and valuing His presence.

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