In Gethsemane, Jesus prayed for the cup of suffering and death to be taken away. But, he said, “Yet not as I will, but as you will,” (Matthew 26:39 NKJV). These words are well known to many people.
What he said after, however, is not so well known. Jesus said, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, your will be done,” (Matthew 26:42). Jesus became determined to do God’s will even if it meant he would suffer and die.
He didn’t say, “Well, all right, if I have to.”
What is the difference between those who take on hard work in the church and do it with a smile and a song, and those whose attitude is, “Well, all right. If I have to?”
The answer is desire. The scriptures make clear doing the Father’s will was Jesus’ most ardent desire. The apostle Paul wrote, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross, (Philippians 2:5-8).
Jesus’ desire to do what God wanted him to do was so great he did not think himself ill-used for coming to earth. He did not believe becoming a slave was beneath him and he didn’t think taking on the form of a man was an insult to himself as God the Son. His desire to obey God was so great, he simply obeyed God and gave himself on the cross for us.
Isn’t this the kind of example we should imitate? Instead of approaching the work of the church as a duty that must be performed no matter what, why don’t we think of it as an opportunity to please God? Why not view our work as Christians with desire instead of with reluctance?
Jesus held nothing back from the Father. Are we holding something back? Is coming to worship and Bible study something that is so much an intrusion into our time that we find it undesirable? If so, then it’s time we think about Jesus’ example and how we can best learn to desire to do God’s will as our Lord did.