Up until this past year, I haven’t jumped on the bandwagon of praying for a WORD for the year. Partly because I didn’t want to be sucked into a new fad but mostly because I didn’t see the point.
I mean, what good can one WORD do?
Then last August, my friend, Julie Holmquist, challenged me to pray about it. (See her Follow Friday post here) “If God gives you one, great. If not, no loss. But you might be surprised, inspired, and even encouraged by what you hear.”
“Ok. I never thought of it that way. Why not? I’ll do it and see what happens.”
To be honest, I didn’t think anything would come out of it, but I followed through with my commitment.
I know, I know, oh, me of little faith.
At first, I heard exactly what I expected—nothing. But after a week or so God started to whisper and gave me my WORD for 2018—TRUST ME. (Read about that here)
And as I looked over 2018, I could see over and over again how he guided me and cultivated a deeper TRUST in Him.
PSA—For those of you who are new here or aren’t familiar with my publishing journey to this point, read about last year’s Northwestern Christian Writer’s Conference here and Waiting Well When Answer Comes here. These posts will catch you up and give you a deeper understanding for the remainder of this post.
As I went through the remainder of 2018, being more mindful to TRUST HIM, despite my disappointment, I prayed more earnestly for my 2019 WORD. (Oh, how my tune had changed!)
Every time I prayed tho, Colossians 3:23 kept invading my mind. Not the verse. The address. It was like a neon sign flashing, demanding my attention.
Clearly, that wasn’t my WORD—a verse? Right! So I ignored it and kept praying.
And it kept flashing.
It wouldn’t go away!
Finally, I looked it up (vs 23-24).
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember…the Master you are serving is Christ. (NLT)
As soon as I read those verses, the word DILIGENT shot through me, searing me down to my core. But I was confused—the word DILIGENT doesn’t appear in these verses at all, or even in the chapter.
I wasn’t about to doubt God though—TRUST ME was (and is) still resonating in the deep innermost places of my being.
So I looked up these verses in several other translations to see if it was there.
- Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…You are serving the Lord Christ. (ESV)
- Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (NIV)
- Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God…Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. (vs 22-24, MSG)
- Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men…You serve the Lord Christ. (HCSB)
With each reading, DILIGENT was planted deeper and deeper into my soul until I owned it, claimed it as mine. But I was still confused by its connection to Colossians. I didn’t want to miss its importance, its significance, so I asked God for understanding.
God is telling me to be DILIGENT in the work He’s given me to do…writing, teaching, mentoring, encouraging…and eventually publishing. And Colossians 2:23-24 is my “how to”—and my why.
See, DILIGENT isn’t a separate entity from TRUST ME, it’s the next layer. The other side of the coin, so to speak. And those layers are held together by a determined faith.
Here’s the reality. We currently live on this planet. And our time here matters! While we’re here, we have a purpose. A calling. A reason to be here. And in order to pursue that purpose, we must work.
Unfortunately “work” has become a “four-letter-word” laced with distaste, drudgery, dread, and negativity. We don’t want to work. We want to do what we want to do when we want to do it. Work is boring and gets in the way. Even if you love your job, there are aspects of it you’re not fond of. Right? Same here.
But from the time God created Adam, He’s given us to work to do—as a blessing to us and for us (Gen. 2:15). It’s part of being created in His image, part of being in His likeness (Gen 1:26) because our God is a God who works. Adam had a job to do, and so do we. It’s our purpose here on earth.
God is using Colossians 3:23-24 to change my attitude toward certain aspects of writing, tribe building, and publishing that I don’t enjoy.
To look at these not-so-fun-for-me tasks with the same reverence as the tasks I revel in, am passionate about, and love to do. To regard ALL my work as an act of worship, as the cost of discipleship. I confess, my attitude toward these areas was one of resentment, and the complaints in my heart often boiled over and spewed from my lips.
And God is telling me, NO MORE! “Whatever you do, do DILIGENTLY! Work at it enthusiastically, with ALL your heart! Work as though you are working for ME, not people. Let ALL your work be an act of worship, a cost of discipleship! Baby, it is MY SON, the Lord Jesus Christ, you are serving and no one else.” (Cheyenne Olson Version)
Beloved, there are things we need to do on a human level as we fulfill our purpose here on earth. Mile-markers to meet, bridges to cross, and hoops to jump through. Each step along the way we’re growing, changing, refining. And with each step, we are learning to TRUST GOD.
So as I write and work to build my platform, aka—grow my Tribe…
- I must do my best and work enthusiastically from my heart.
- I must work to honor God in meeting people’s (publishers’ and agents’) requirements.
- I must write to serve your needs while remembering I ultimately serve God.
- I must care for Tribe He’s already entrusted to me and TRUST Him to add to our numbers.
And I must be faithful in the tasks God’s given me to do, just as David was faithful in caring for the sheep.
In 1 Samuel 16, David was anointed King over Israel in a private ceremony while Saul still occupied the throne. David was hand-picked by God whereas Saul was chosen by the people. Saul was tall, dark, and handsome, but David sought the very heart of God. And as soon as the oil cascaded over his hair and across his adolescent shoulders the Spirit of God “rushed upon him from that day forward.” (vs 13)
When the ceremony was over,
- Samuel left
- David’s family went back to what they were doing
- David went back to tending sheep.
From that moment, David knew his calling. His purpose. If he questioned it, all he had to do was run his fingers through his oil-drenched hair, stir the fragrance, and listen to the echo of Samuel’s voice in his ears pronouncing his calling.
But there were still bridges, mile-markers, and hoops to contend with before he could claim the throne. His responsibility, for the time being, was to be faithful where he was at and do what needed to be done until God changed his course.
Until then, he DILIGENTLY tended his flock. And so will I.
What about you? Do you know your calling? Purpose?
Whether you do or you don’t, be faithful where God has you right now. Be DILIGENT in the tasks He’s given you…even if it means doing menial work like busy work in school, changing diapers, household chores, flipping burgers, tending sheep.
Remember David learned
- To pursue and rely on God during those years spent in the field
- To be brave in the face of danger
- To care for and protect those weaker than he
- To be a servant
- To be DILIGENT and faithful wherever God had him
We are all called to be DILIGENT in what God has called us to do, in pursuing our purpose. And as we work, we must work heartily, as an act of worship, as a cost of discipleship, and as though we are working for God.
I never thought a WORD would matter so much. Change my perspective and alter my attitude. But I was wrong. Somehow I know this WORD will not just define my year but my ministry. My writing. And my life.
What about you?
I want you to be one of the first to receive my devotional on “The Feeding of the 5000,” available only to subscribers of this blog.
- We will dig into all 4 Gospel accountings of this event
- I will share how this passage became Vibrantly Relevant to me and changed my writing and ministry in ways I would never have dreamed.
My dear WordPress followers, I have no way for you to receive this if you don’t subscribe (no email), and I would love to share this with you–so please subscribe.
Share this post with your people via social media and/or email if it encouraged, blessed, or challenged you. On social media, tag someone who would benefit from this journey. Remember to “like” and comment as well. Your feedback is valuable to me as it helps me know if I’m serving you well and how to do it better.
I became an Amazon Affiliate to help offset to cost of this blog and my ministry. If you click on any of the Amazon links it will take you to that product in your Amazon account. I will earn a commission on any purchases you make at no additional cost to you (once you enter into Amazon through newsletters, blog posts, or Facebook). I appreciate your support.