If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.
Thoughts for Today:This morning over coffee, I explained to my wife Sherry the number of Daily Devotions I need to write in the next few days in order to cover the time I will be out of the country on my next mission trip, as well as our family vacation two weeks later. She said, "Wow, you must feel overwhelmed. Don't you feel like it's too much pressure?" I said, "I don't feel any pressure -- I'm just making sure I have a clear picture of what needs to be done." Sherry asked, "But, isn't that a lot like the work stress you used to have in running a business?" "Not really. I don't view what I do as my work, it is the Lord's. So if I don't choose to do it, that's my freewill choice. The Lord will find some other way to call people into a relationship with Him. Surely, what I do has value, but the Gospel message will be shared with or without me. The Lord has chosen to use me and I am honored to do my part. But I'm still a volunteer, so I don't feel any pressure. If the Lord wants it done -- He will give me the energy, time, and inspiration to do it."
In our passage today, Paul expresses a similar point of view. He uses the word "voluntarily" which is translated from the Greek word "hekon" and means to do something "willingly; or of one's own will". Paul's point is the Lord only rewards those things that are done with a willing heart -- our attitude is more important than our actions. Therefore, regardless of the value of our work, rewards are only given if we have the proper motive. This "volunteer" attitude is the best stress reliever of all when working in ministry!
Questions to Ponder:How do you feel when serving the Lord? Overwhelmed? Stressed? Pressured? There is a fine line between obligation and freewill in ministry. The Lord makes it very clear He is only interested in our voluntary deeds as a result of a willing heart. What motivates you? Do you have a volunteer's attitude?