With all your heart
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” Col. 3:23
“Being monk for one day, one must ring a day’s worth of bell,” so goes a Chinese saying. I might have been a “foreign monk” for a number of years, and it’s been quite a relief that I finally retired from church ministry.
If felt so much like ringing a bell in a Buddhist temple when I went to work at my church office every morning during the past years. After twenty some years of doing the same thing, I found myself losing the passion and enthusiasm of conducting my daily business and was merely going through the motions every day.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” I realized it was time for me to leave the church ministry when I failed to work at my earthly calling with all my heart.
How can the fire for the Lord within my heart be rekindled? I often wonder. My mind is still sharp and my body is yet to fail at this point, so doing nothing all day isn’t really an option. Retirement isn’t even a Biblical concept and it’s more of a “cope out” than anything else.
I have always found it interesting that when I was in the service we were taught not to call retreat from a given battle by it’s proper name; it was called moving forward in another direction. I guess I will consider my retirement a kind of marching forward toward a different direction. The question remains, though. I still have to choose a specific direction and destination so that I can move with a clear goal and a new found determination. I still desire to serve the Lord with all of my heart.
I may have quit preaching in a traditional sense, but I can continue to speak with my pen, can’t I? I have never retired looking at it from this perspective, since I have been writing for such a long time that I cannot recall when I started.
Perhaps this is the exact place of ministry into which I can still pour my heart and my soul. By doing so daily, I will be speaking to an invisible audience and the only reward I will be receiving will all be from the Lord and from nowhere else. This has always been the kind of “heart service” that I longed to do, and retirement appears to be a good time to fulfill this divine calling. I will forever remain God’s servant, even though I have lost a monthly stipend and some listening ears. It’s rather liberating though, for I will be serving the Lord only, and not having to be so concerned about church attendance and budget balancing.
I will continue to speak as long as there are still two audiences listening: besides the One who neither slumbers nor sleeps, there is another one who has been listening to me for the past twenty-five years. These two are almost my world, and by the grace of the former and the encouragement of the latter, I will continue to serve the Lord with my best.