Many years ago, I worked for a small chain retail store. On many occasions, along with all of my other responsibilities and even though I was the head of a department or two, I would have to clean the restrooms. Since I think it’s safe to assume that everyone reading this has had to use public restrooms, you know they are not always pleasing to the eyes or nostrils. Sometimes they can be so utterly disgusting, you feel the desire to shower and burn your clothes after using them (at least, I do). These restrooms were no exception, so needless to say, I found zero enjoyment in having to clean innumerable strangers’ nastiness.
Often times, my attitude about having to clean the bathrooms was nowhere near Christ-like. I fumed; I grumbled; I complained. On one particular day, I was beyond frustrated about it. I was dressed nice, wearing high heels and all…and having to scrub toilets, empty trash, and mop floors (you know, June Cleaver-style). So I made the decision that I was only going to put forth minimal effort. I would not clean the toilets. I would not mop. I would not clean up other people’s filth. I would only do the absolute minimum, so long as it looked like it had been cleaned. Then without any conscious effort on my part, this Scripture came to mind: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23,24). And a thought occurred to me: what if these were God’s restrooms? If I were cleaning these for Him, would I put only half my heart into the task? Would I skimp here or neglect there, just because I did not want to do it?
Suddenly I felt convicted. So I geared up for the task at hand, and cleaned those restrooms thoroughly and (here’s the kicker) with a joyful heart. Because I set my heart on doing it for God, my perspective was altered, and I saw it as a way of honoring Him with my efforts…and I was pleased to do it.
We all have those areas in our lives where we are giving only half-hearted efforts–maybe it’s at work, at school, in our marriages, in church, with our health (physical and spiritual), and the list goes on. And our reasons for not putting our all into these endeavors varies, as well: maybe we feel it falls outside the scope of our responsibilities; maybe because we’re tired or just plain lazy; maybe it’s just too hard. Whatever the endeavor and whatever the reason for the flimsy effort, let me encourage you: do it for God. Sure, maybe it’ll be hard and require a lot more of you than you really think you can give, but do it anyway and do it for Him. Honor Him, worship Him in all you do, no matter how big or how small. When you approach the duties of life with the intention of honoring God, you might just find joy in the work and in knowing that your efforts will not be wasted.