Today's Little Lift
by Jim Bullington
Countless times I've said it and I've heard it said by others. “Whatever you do, don't open that door.” Maybe it was, “Whatever you do, make sure this control is adjusted properly.” You can fill in the rest of the sentence, but we all know that whatever you do's are important, even essential, actions. Today's message will deal with the only four whatever you do's in the New King James translation of the Bible.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” (Colossians 3.23). Many of us have heard this statement paraphrased as something like, “Well, if you're gonna do something, do it right.” It also translates to, “If you are going to do something, don't do it half way; do it the right way.” I never liked those words when I was growing up as they usually came on the end of a task like washing dishes or mopping the floor (things I didn't particularly like to do). As I look back, however, my parents never had to tell me to ride my bike with all my might, or to play hide-and-seek heartily; these were givens because they were things I liked to do. Paul's admonition could be paraphrased “Whatever you do, do it as though you liked it.” However, it would more closely resemble the dreaded, “Whatever you do, do it and like it!”
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10.31). The controversy in Corinth that sparked this inspired comment is not particularly relevant to our western world society, however the specific guideline is right on target. How many heartaches would be avoided if we would just ask ourselves before we say or act, “Will this bring glory to God?” If the answer is no, or if it is doubtful, then the action is to be avoided. This is similar to the “What would Jesus do,” question, but I think it makes more sense in some situations. Try it.
“And 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). This statement goes even further than the previous one. The passage from 1Corinthians asks about glory to God, this one from Colossians asks about the authority of God. Authority as it is referred to here is expressed by the phrase, “...in the name of the Lord.” Jesus commissioned His disciples to teach and baptize “...in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (see Matthew 28.18-20). The expression has the same meaning in Matthew as it does in Colossians. Simply put, the passage means that we are to have God's authority to do all that we do; we are to assume nothing in this regards. It is not a passage which is limited to worship activities only (though they are included). It is a whatever you do passage, period!
“Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers...” (3 John 1.5). This final whatever you do passage is a passage which, in its context, deals with an almost forgotten grace in today's fast paced society, the grace of hospitality. I will not bore you with thoughts of yesteryear in my life; that isn't the standard anyway. However, the pictures in the New Testament of couples opening their homes to traveling evangelists, or inviting the church to meet in their homes is all but gone in our culture. It exists in other “less developed” cultures, but it is effectively gone in ours. In the New Testament era, men and women were deemed faithful only if they were known for their hospitality (see Romans 12.13; Titus 1.8; 1 Peter 4.9 and others). Like many other graces, hospitality begins at home; if I wait for others to do it, it will never get done.
God's word is like a mirror (James 1.23). When I don't like the reflection, it is up to me to do something about it and not just stop using the mirror! Whatever you do's are important!
1. What does it mean to do something heartily? What would be the opposite of this?
2. Why is it important to think of God's glory in our everyday lives? Can we really glorify Him?
3. What is meant by the phrase “in word or deed” in Colossians 3.17? How much is encompassed by this phrase? Is it just confined to “religious” thoughts and actions?
4. What is hospitality? How is it a Christian virtue? Did Jesus demonstrate hospitality? In the New Testament, why were those who were public servants of the church measured by the degree of hospitality they exhibited?
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