Have you ever experienced the difference people can possess in their work ethic depending on if they’re invested in the business, or just doing a job for the paycheck? I recently had a similar conversation with a man who expressed his frustration with the growing number of rental properties in his area because the renters were not taking care of their yards. A lack of investment can be seen in a variety of ways. Let me share an experience that drove home a pretty convicting point around this subject one morning recently.
I listened to a podcast Sunday morning entitled “Pray & Walk” by Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, CA. It stirred something inside as I remembered previous times over the years when I felt compelled to walk my neighborhood, praying over marriages, families, businesses, health…on and on the list would go.
Monday morning came and I was up around 4:30a…not by design. I’ve been awake and alert in the early morning hours recently so typically camp out on the patio with my coffee. I acted on the thought to lace up the shoes, grab my Fitbit, and go for a prayer-walk…and get even with the birds by waking them for a change.
Tuesday morning is a standing date for coffee with my daughter so I didn’t plan on walking, at least the thought hadn’t occurred until I woke around 4:00a. Instead of jumping out of bed, lacing those shoes up, and heading out the door, I laid there in bed trying to decide whether God was “telling” me to walk and pray. A great religious excuse not to do something is to say, “I just don’t want to get wrapped up in dead works.” Hmmm…if prayer is dead works then we got a problem don’t we?
Friend or Servant
Well, sadly, I remained in bed that morning until about 5:30a. As I got up and began getting ready, the question crossed my mind, “Friend or servant?” In one of those moments when the mind is instantly flooded with understanding, I knew where this was going. The illustration of an employee came and I began to consider the difference between a hired worker who has no investment in the outcomes for a company, and the employee who believes in the objectives and has invested so much of themselves into dictating outcomes.
The one employee must be micromanaged because he doesn’t have initiative to look around and see what needs to be done. They constantly have to be checked up on because once a task is completed, they simply stand around waiting to be told what to do next. The other employee brings energy and a desire to participate and contribute to the overall outcomes. If something needs to be done, they aren’t waiting to be told to do it because it just got done.
As I considered this question and applied it to my own situation of getting up that morning, I came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t have to be “told” to do what He’s already told me to do. If I’m committed to the family business, I should see a need that I’ve been equip to meet, and I should be addressing it without needing to be told.
Receiving the Bigger Picture
In John 15: 14-15, Jesus is speaking with his disciples shortly before his arrest. He tells them that they are no longer servants but friends if they keep on doing what Jesus commanded. Jesus expresses that the benefit of being a friend is receiving revelation of all that the Father is doing.
A servant operates on a need-to-know basis. Dig a hole here… Move this pile of rock over there… Paint this fence…Wash this car… Wax on; Wax off…oh wait… wrong illustration.
Humor aside, you get the point right?
If we are committed to continuing in what Jesus has already told us to do, then we can expect that we are considered friends of Jesus with access to understanding what the Father is doing. We can truly be about the Father’s business, committed and invested in outcomes.
This Begs a Really Important Question
What have you already been told to do?
For me, the prayer-walk assignment began when we bought our first home in 2000. I did it for a while and then stopped. I started and stopped several times over the years and then we moved to our current neighborhood 4 years ago. The thought/burden has been upon my heart again off and on over these past 4 years while in this neighborhood. So a question I must resolve is this: did assignments simply change, or have I been going back and forth between a servant and a friend mentality.
Well, that’s my discussion for me.
My friends and I are hungry for the supernatural life of a follower described in the Gospels and in the Book of Acts. We desire to be a “gateway people” standing on the edge of two realms watching what takes place in Heaven and declaring it here on earth…weird stuff I know. However, one of my dear friends is battling cancer and another has had pretty severe degenerative issues in his C-spine. There’s really no more time to waste accepting things here that God never created or designed to be a part of this world. We have choices, so obviously we can continue to waste time if we so desire, but it was never God’s intention for us to interact with Him as servants, He desires that we are friends. To be this people, we must seek to understand God’s nature and see ourselves as part of the family involved in the Fathers business…involved in the family business.