Recently I obtained a part-time job with our local school district as a substitute custodian. To be completely honest, the first day I was supposed to go for training in the afternoon, I nearly gagged every time I thought about it. It’s not that there is anything wrong with custodial work. It is good, honest work, and I appreciate those who keep things clean for the use and enjoyment of others. I was just not sure it was really something I wanted to be doing.
The training went okay. My trainer was a nice Christian lady and I really enjoyed working with her and getting to know her. Still, I found myself constantly looking at my watch. I could hardly wait for the shift to be over so I could go home.
As the shift came to an end, I gathered with the custodial staff in the break room. As I listened to them talking among themselves, I really cried out to the Lord in my heart. I prayed, “Lord, I have to find You in this somewhere or I will never survive!” Right then a picture came to my mind. I saw the Lord Jesus sitting at one of the tables I had cleaned. He then asked me, “If you knew I was going to be sitting at this table, how would you clean it?” Of course I would make sure that table was absolutely spotless! Then I saw it: The way for me to survive this job was to do it for Him. I responded. “Lord, I can do this if I am doing it for You!”
The tears came as I prayed about this idea the next day. I absolutely love the Lord and would gladly lay down my life for Him in any capacity. If He desired for me to serve Him in this way, so be it. It gave me a whole new understanding of the apostle Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:7 when he said,
Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. NLT
It was amazing how much better the next shift went! When I began to grow weary and thought I could not empty another trash can, the thought would come, “But this is for the King.” That would be all I would need to muster new strength and enthusiasm to keep going. I could even do it with joy!
At one point, as I was wiping a table, the Lord seemed to say to me, “As far as you are concerned, every student who sits at this table is Me.” That certainly put a different spin on things! It reminded me of His words in Matthew 25:40,
“I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” NLT
There were other things the Lord spoke to me along this line during other shifts throughout the week, but this pretty well sums it up. I now have an entirely new vision of what it means to serve the Lord. I’m afraid I have been one of those who thought of serving the Lord as the performance of some religious duty (witnessing, preaching,etc.). I am rapidly coming to see that serving Him means doing everything I do as though it were for Him. This completely erases the line between secular and sacred. Everything becomes an act of worship when the heart is set on doing it for Him.
Once this new view of serving the Lord takes hold in your thinking it will change your whole life. I’m pretty sure mine will never be the same.