Wineskins Archive

January 23, 2014

I Work for the Lord (Sept-Oct 1993)

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by Mike Cope
September – October, 1993

…while judgments about me swirl all around me, I must remember that only one judgment counts.

Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive commendation from God.
(1 Corinthians 4:1-5)

18I work for the Lord.

I love it when some of my brothers and sisters at church express their appreciation for my ministry. A note of encouragement in the mail is worth more than a year’s salary. An arm around the shoulder with an affirming nod by an elder is a rescuing arm. A smile from the pew when I make eye contact is a vaccination that protects me from the despair and discouragement that so easily seep into my life. I love my brothers and sisters. But I work for the Lord.

It hurts when some can only find fault, when they question my motives, when they belittle my attempts to lead, when they gossip about me behind my back. That kind of treatment is a third-degree burn. But I work for the Lord.

Sometimes my conscience is clear: I feel like my motives are noble; I know that my preparation has been thorough; I remember that I have ministered not only to the people but with the people. A clear conscience is a vacation that can be enjoyed any week! But I work for the Lord.

At other times my conscience isn’t so clear. It’s a bit murky. I know that my motives are mixed, that my mind wants to be fully devoted to the Lord while my life lags behind by about half a lap. I feel a deep sense of inadequacy. I think the people deserve better. Someone more genuine. But I work for the Lord.

So while judgments about me swirl all around me, I must remember that only one judgment counts. And while every day my feelings soar or sink based upon the evaluations of people, I must remember that there is a Great Day coming. Ultimately, it is the only day that counts.

Because I work for the Lord.Wineskins Magazine

Mike CopeMike is the preaching minister for the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas. He and his wife Diane have two sons, Matt and Chris; their daughter Megan perished at age nine. Chris survived an automobile accident, with serious injuries, in 2004. Mike has written a number of books, teaches Bible at Abilene Christian University. and is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer. [Mike Cope’s Blog]

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