Two weeks ago I started a new sermon series with my youth group called, “Represent.” I preached about how representing Christ is not as complicated as we sometimes make it. Growing in this area does, however, require humility and the desire to learn. This past weekend I told my students that they could represent Christ by being faithful in “whatever.”
I wasn’t the best student growing up. In fact, I was a terrible student throughout all of junior high and high school. Thankfully, there was a shift in college when I came across a bible verse. That verse would renew my perspective of school (and a world of other things) for the rest of my life. And believe it or not, it also impacted the lives of those around me. The verse was Colossians 3:23 and it reads, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for people.”
At the time, I was feeling annoyed and burdened with a couple of things in particular: grades and chores. I was at community college taking a bunch of general ed courses that I wasn’t interested in and my dad had made a decree, making me the official dish washer of the Mendez household. When I read this verse I suddenly realized that God cares about these annoyances. If I was going to attend school and do dishes, he wanted me to do it with all of my heart.
From then on, God began to teach me that representing Him and His son Jesus should not only occur during the seemingly big events, church activities or when I post spiritual things on Facebook. He wanted me to radiate His glory in the duties and relationships of everyday life. I now understand that this is because God cares about the little things, and though we label them as mundane or little they’re actually sacred. Furthermore, these are the areas in which we oftentimes need His help the most.
God is the God of miracles, but I am thankful that He is also the God of the day-to-day. You see, it’s easy for me to go on mission trips, but it’s difficult for me to spend time with my family and just be a good older brother and son. It’s fun preparing for an exciting speaking engagement, but I need help staying on top of my daily responsibilities. In addition, doing your best with seemingly ordinary responsibilities is important when it comes to representing Christ because who could deny a thriving personal life or blooming marriage? On the other hand, people can easily write off the more “spiritual” things you do and think, “Well, that just isn’t me. I’m not a preacher or missionary.” This is why as Christians we should invite Jesus into the mundane and work at the “whatever” things in our lives with all of our hearts. What are your “whatever” tasks? Is it your chores, homework, or your relationship with your siblings? Is it your devotional time with God?
Speaking of relationships, in the book of Colossians, Paul gave specific instructions to his audience regarding how they were to serve Christ. Wives were to submit to their husbands and husbands were to love their wives. Parents were not to provoke their children and children were to obey their parents. Masters were to be just and fair to their servants and servants were to obey their earthly masters in everything they do (Colossians 3:18-4:1). Serving the people whom God has placed in our lives is a big part of what it means to represent Christ in the little things. This is especially true for those who have authority over us, such as our bosses, parents, and teachers. It won’t always be easy, but how we interact with them can have a great impact on those who may be watching.
Remember my story about community college and dishes? Well, at the time I had only been a Christian for about a month and I was the only active Christian in my immediate family. My dad, who had assigned me to dish duty, thought that my newfound faith was just another one of my phases. I don’t blame him. I was gothic in the 7th grade, a skater with long hair in the 8th grade, and football player and a raver in high school (yikes!). Yet over time my dad began to see that I was doing better in school, completing my chores, being more kind to my siblings, and I wasn’t even reluctant about it! As the Holy Spirit empowered me to be more faithful in the little things, my dad became convinced that my faith was authentic and started to believe in Christ as well. My older sister and two younger brothers soon followed suit. Last year, I had the privilege of baptizing my entire family. By making me faithful in my “whatever,” everyday tasks, God brought my family back to Him.
A recurring theme in Colossians chapters 3-4 is Paul’s constant reminder that by serving one’s parents, spouse, servant, or master, they are really serving God. Paul’s audience needed to remember whom they were really working for. In other words, the secret to representing Christ in the day-to-day is to make all of your annoying and mundane responsibilities acts of worship. When we understand God's love and that all things were created by Him and for Him, we will be compelled to live every day for Him (Colossians 1:16, 21-22). We will want to surrender to Him every task, obligation, burden and breath. When I didn’t feel like doing chores or homework, the Holy Spirit reminded me whom I was working for and I made it worship. When I found the people around me annoying, the Holy Spirit helped me to remember who fashioned them so I could love them and give the glory to God.
The little things are what God cares about and what people notice. By being steadfast in the small stuff we can represent Christ in a big way. So I want to encourage you to take your daily duties seriously. Be diligent, be on time, and do the dishes! This is what it means to make worship a lifestyle. Perhaps the first step for you is to meditate on God’s faithfulness and invite Jesus into these “whatever” areas. Once you do, I am confident that Jesus will transform your commonplace into a not-so-common testimony.