By Jeff DeVaney
It seems that, as time passes, people are becoming lazy. Most tend to seek the easy way out in the things they do. This is due perhaps to the technological advances that we have around us today. Most of the things we have are in-tended to make life easier. There is nothing wrong with having the modern conveniences of life. But often these cause us to become lazy in our effort. No longer do we have to put forth hard, diligent labor; we become idle and slothful. Of course, some become more lazy than others.
Those who work in factories often see this very thing. It seems that some who are employed tend to take the easy way out and allow others to do the work for them. They have the idea that they will do the least that they can to get by. This is something that most of us learn at an early age. As children we usually did just enough to make mom happy so that we could go out and play. When we were in school, we did only what we had to do to receive the grade we wanted. We learned to do the least that we could and get by.
Sadly, this mind set is making its way into the church. There are many Christians who want to serve Jesus but at the same time, they only want to do the least that they can. We have so many conveniences in our everyday lives that we want the easy way out in serving Christ. We desire salvation, but we do not want to put forth any diligent effort to receive it. In Matthew 19:16-22, we can read about one who had this idea. The rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked what commandments he needed to keep. Notice what he was doing. The ruler wanted to know what was the least that he could do and have eternal life. We commend the young man for his desire to receive eternal life, but he leaves the impression that he wanted the easy way out. This man went away in sorrow because Jesus told him to do more than he wanted. This man wanted to do the least that he could and please God. Since this tends to be the mind set of a majority of Christians, I believe that we need to understand what is the least that we can do and please him.
So what is the least that we can do? Jesus tells us in Luke 17:7-10: “And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, `Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, `Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, `We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.- Jesus shows us that the least that we can do is “. . . all those things which we are commanded!” He says that the least we can do is the most we can do! Read that again. The least that we can do is the most that we can do! God requires us to do all that he has commanded to the best of our abilities.
God is not pleased when we give him our least. He expects more from us than that! Consider the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. We can see that five virgins did as much as they could do to be ready for the marriage; while the other five did what we could classify as their least. We know that the five who entered the marriage were those who made adequate preparations. Those who did the most that they could! Jesus tells us to do more than our least in Matthew 5:38-42. He says, “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.” Jesus expects us to go that second mile in our efforts. He demands that we put forth our best effort! Jesus blessed the poor widow in Mark 12:41-44, not because of the amount she put into the treasury, but because she did the most that she could! This is what God desires and demands of us!
When we think of the least that we can do in serving God, it’s simple. We need to do all that God has given us to do. This is exactly what God expects of us. God has given us commands to follow and he is pleased only when we obey those commands. John wrote in 1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” There is nothing hard or difficult about obeying God and keeping His will. His commands are not a burden for us to bear. Now, there will at times, be commands that seem difficult, but we can keep them because God does not require us to do that which we cannot do. God bases our accountability to him, in part, to our ability! As Jesus taught, we are to do all that he commands, because we are able!
Too many Christians desire the easy way out. They want to allow others to do the work while they do as little as possible. Often this causes them to become lukewarm. And we remember the Lord’s warning to those who were lukewarm in Revelation 3:14-22. Often, we teach that God does not accept half-hearted service. God wants us to put forth our best effort in all that we do. Paul stated, “For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have” (2 Cor. 8:12).
We would all do well to remember Paul’s admonition in 2 Corinthians 9:6. “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” We must be sowing bountifully and doing all that we can to the best of our ability! This is how we please God and become accepted by him. The least that we can do for God is the most we can do! So, let us deter-mine to all that we can; it is, after all, our duty!
Guardian of Truth XL: 8 p. 12-13
April 18, 1996