This is something that I am consciously trying to work on, but I sometimes get into a bad habit of saying a prayer very quickly before I eat, especially when I am eating alone. It typically happens when I’m sitting in the break room at work. Maybe I’m thinking about a work project, or how quickly I need to eat so I can get back to it. Maybe there are other people around and I don’t want them to feel weird for having a conversation with each other while I’m praying.
I caught myself doing that today while at work. I was sitting by myself, but I had a lot of work that needed to get done. My mind was not really on my lunch, but more importantly it wasn’t really on the prayer. After I said it, all my thoughts came to a screeching halt. Something hit me like a ton of bricks in the middle of that prayer. Besides realizing that I had not shown the Creator of our universe the respect that I should because my mind wasn’t in it, I made a statement in the prayer that came out very differently than it should have. When eating lunch at work, I often include in my prayer something about asking for the courage to be a Christian example to my co-workers for the rest of the day. However, for some reason, today it came out like this:
“Help me to act like I am working for Christ.”
Colossians 3:22-24 and Ephesians 6:5-8 both talk about working for our earthly masters the same that we would work for Christ. However, my concern with what I prayed had to do with the word “act”. It made me start thinking about my mindset. When you look at the Colossians and Ephesians passages, both of them say you should do the work “not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers”. Paul then said in the Colossians letter to do your work “with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord”. In the Ephesians letter, he said to do it “as bondservants of Christ”.
Asking God to help me “act” like I’m working for Christ doesn’t seem to portray that same sentiment. It implies that I’m putting up a front…that I’m doing it “by way of eye-service”. If I’m only concerned about acting like it, then it’s all a show and very shallow.
Instead of asking God to help me “act” like I’m working for Christ, I should be asking God to help me work as if I’m working for Christ. Though it sounds like splitting hairs, there’s a very big difference between the two. It’s like the difference between a posed photograph and an action shot. One is real and one is pretending.
Never should my mindset at work be that I want to act like a Christian. Instead, my mindset should always be that I want to be a Christian.
Never should my mindset be that I want to act like I’m working for Christ. My work should be done with sincerity of heart. I want to do it as a bondservant of Christ.
No acting should be necessary.