“If you DECLARE the gospel and don’t LIVE IT – you will confuse people.
If you LIVE the gospel and don’t DECLARE IT – you will condemn people.”
— Steve Wilson
That’s Not My Job!
With one week left before the General Electric Motor Plant closes its doors in Owensboro I’ve been reflecting on the 20 years that God was pleased to let me work there, thankful for the undeserved, abundant provision He allowed me. Many thoughts have gone through my mind including a particular phrase I used to hear, one I really disliked. Maybe you’ve heard it before. It goes like this…”That’s not my job!” Many are the times I would hear that when someone was asked to do even the tiniest task.
Then I thought about how often we as Christians are guilty of the same attitude. We may not speak those words but our actions say them when we have thoughts like, “I’ll let someone else do it.” That’s called presumption. It shows itself when we leave something undone that we could have done because we knew that “someone else will surely take care of it.” It can even be in the simplest of ways such as how we leave something we’ve used, like a room or some kind of resource like a tool or an appliance. How often do we think about the person who will come after us who will use the same thing? Will they have to repair it before it can be used? Will they have to clean up the mess we left for them to do? How many of us would go out of our way to actually leave it better than the way we found it.
This may seem so basic and elementary, in fact, many times we just don’t think about it. But we should think about it because these “little things” are true expressions of how we treat one another. So how should we treat one another? Alright…how many answered…”well duh!” That’s right because it’s one of the most quoted verses in all the Bible. No one ever said it better than Jesus did…
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you…” (Matt 7:12)
Even the world knows this verse right? But it’s usually because they want you to know how they should be treated. In fact most of the time it is understood in its negative form. That is to say, “I won’t do this to you because I don’t want you to do it to me.” Even the ancient philosopher Confucius had this one. He said it this way, “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” But that falls so far below the standard that Jesus was teaching. It doesn’t even come close because the motivation behind it is really selfish. Refrain from harm to someone else so they won’t harm me isn’t motivated by love, but rather, self-interest. Jesus is the only one to state it in a positive way. “Do unto others…”
This requires a selfless love…a love that does not serve in order to prevent our own harm or preserve our own welfare. Instead, this love serves entirely for the one being served…in a way we would like to be served…whether or not we receive anything in return. This is how we are to love one another. Jesus said so Himself in the last part of that verse…
“…for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt 7:12)
What did He mean by, “This is the law?” Remember how Jesus summed up the entire law this way…
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matt 22:37–40)
It’s the Law of Love. Paul restates it…
“For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Gal 5:14)
A recent example of this very thing was to see many coming alongside the Cook family several weeks ago. What a beautiful testimony of “love one another” that was. I will never forget it.
That’s how we should be all the time, even in the everyday “mundane” activities of life. It is exactly how Jesus taught us to live the gospel. Notice, He didn’t say that people would know who His disciples were by how much theology they knew or how often they prayed and read their Bible, as important as those are, but rather…
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
And when people see Christians loving one another like this and wonder, “How do you do that?” …the answer they desperately need to hear is only found as we declare the gospel to them.
So the next time we may be tempted to forsake a task for someone else to do, let’s have this attitude instead…
That’s not their job.