I was detailing my tractor this week. Well actually it’s not mine; it’s the tractor I drive for cultivating. I got the pressure washer and cleaned it all up on the outside, then pulled all the tools and the mat out, vacuumed and then washed literally everything down, including the seats. I even took a scrub brush to the floor and pedals and then finally polished the windows so you can hardly tell they’re there.
If you were my mother you would be amazed right now. Cleaning was never a passion of mine. When I had to clean anything growing up I would typically look for the short cuts and hope it was good enough. Many times mom called me back and told me I had to do it again, and I’m sure I have no idea how often she just let me go and fixed the job herself. I was sinning because I was living to please myself.
The truth is I’m still not passionate about cleaning. (I’m happy to cook if Wendy will clean up after me.) But I am passionate about serving God and, even though it took a long time, I finally get that serving God, in fact worship, isn’t just in preaching and singing and so on, it’s also in the mundane things like cleaning.
Now I can just hear you clean-freaks, perfectionist types, and workaholics shouting “amen!” but hang on a second. Even though your natural bent is more socially acceptable and respected, if your motivation to do a good job comes just from you natural tendency you are still living to please yourself and therefore sinning.
As I reflected on my own transformation I recognized the key to this which applies to every personality type and tendency. I didn’t change because someone pointed out that a lazy job wasn’t God pleasing. I know because I was told this. But there is no power to change in simple knowledge. The change actually came without me consciously making an effort to change. It happened when my desire for Jesus overcame my desire to please myself. What I do isn’t the focus, loving Jesus is. And that affects everything I do.
Take some time to read or re-read Romans 7:15-8:14 but broaden your understanding of sin from simply doing bad things to include doing anything that is self-motivated instead of Christ-motivated. I know that’s rather overwhelming, but remember the power is not in the knowledge of what is sinful, it’s only in Jesus.