I was blessed growing up to watch my father build a family business right in front of my eyes. He started it when I was a teenager, so I not only got to watch, but was pretty much a part of it from the ground floor. For anyone who is part of a family with a family business, you know that everyone in the family plays a part in that business in one way or another. It’s part of your family’s DNA. That business is what puts food on the table, what dictates the family’s lifestyle, and is probably the biggest contributor to mom and dad’s stress level. Every single person in the family has a vested interest in the success of the business.
I spent a lot of time actually working for my dad. What I noticed is that I had a tendency to work much harder for him than I did for other employers. While working for other people growing up, it was easy to just seek after the paycheck. I didn’t always have the same sense of pride as I did when working for my father. When working for my dad, not only was I concerned about the profitability of the company, but I knew first hand the nature of the man behind the company. I had spent nearly every day with him for over a decade. I believed in the company and wanted to see it succeed, because I believed in my father and the kind of company that I knew he would build. I knew the integrity of my father. I knew for certain that he was going to treat his customers fairly. I knew that the profitability of his business was not only going to benefit his family, but other families in his community. Every time I got out of his truck on a job site, I got out ready to work, because I knew first hand what that work was going to support.
Working for my dad was never an obligation for me, but a privilege. I worked out of love, admiration and respect. In the early stages of the business, there were times where I worked for free. I was about his business, not my reward. Sure, it did inadvertently benefit me, but that was never really the goal. It was just an added perk.
This is exactly how it is meant to be with God’s business of building and expanding His Kingdom. It starts, first and foremost, with intimately knowing Him and understanding His ways. It starts with us experiencing His overwhelming grace, love an mercy. It continues as we see that love displayed in our life, time and time again. That is what captivates our attention and motivates us. As we walk with Him, we get to know and understand His ways. We get to see how truly good and wonderful He is. Then, expanding His Kingdom is just a natural byproduct as we come to know and understand that Jesus is the one thing that will satisfy everyone’s deepest need.
Personally, I have a tendency to relate to God as an employee sometimes rather than a son. I sometimes work reluctantly for His kingdom, as if I am just doing it to earn my weekly blessings and praise from Him and other people. That is never how God intended it. My work for Him is meant to be an overflow of joy from my heart that is a pure response to His goodness. God is not my employer, He is my Father! Maybe you can relate to my struggle. If you can, I encourage to get down on your knees and repent to Him the same way I had to do recently. Ask the Lord to bring you back to your first love, to restore your joy, and to make that the place from which you serve Him. He is not your employer, but your loving Father!
Revelation 2: 2-4 – I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.