I have spent most of my time writing the weekly message for families and individuals to have their own home church services. However, I have forgotten the practical articles lately. Just as the Bible has practical parts to it I believe that man needs the entire package. Lately there has been a lot on my mind. As I write this there is an election coming up within the month. There are several countries that are on the verge of economic collapse and our economies are in jeopardy. In the government of our own country politicians are playing the fiddle while Rome burns.
It didn’t bother me at one time. I was just like many of you. I was in a profession making a living at a local utility. Each year the Union negotiated a wage increase so that my family could keep up with inflation. I never worried about retirement or put much thought to it. I was young then and life seemed to go on and on. As a Christian I believed (of course) that God would take care of me so I shouldn’t worry. In His Word He told me to not let my heart be troubled. Jesus said that if God loved birds and fed them how much more would He feed us (Matthew 6:26)?
Whenever we interpret passages like that we can get extremely liberal in their interpretation and miss the meaning completely. For example I was in conversation with a lady one day and we were discussing dress in Church. She told me that God really didn’t care how you dressed as long as your heart was right. I begged to differ because if you show up in a bikini you are definitely improperly dressed. Therefore, there must be some limit to dress. Along that way of thinking, if we believe the passage above on a sparrow means that we don’t have to do anything because God will feed and clothe us, I could argue that we do have to do something. Jesus only told us to not worry. He didn’t say don’t work or plan. I could interpret that scripture to say that God’s plan of provision for His people was to give them wisdom to invest, prepare and produce.
Let me ask you a logical question. Have you ever seen the opposite interpretation of that verse work? Have you, or someone you know had God to just feed and clothe you nonstop while you sat and watched television and ate bonbons? I am speaking of someone who is able bodied and perfectly able to work and yet you didn’t have to because God took care of your needs. God does feed and clothe us when we need it. There have been many times in my life when food was not plentiful. But, I have never starved. My point is that we all have had to do something to open the doors for God to feed and clothe us. It is His Grace given to us that keeps us fed. By the way, if you can ever get that interpretation to work you need to write a book so the rest of us can catch the vision.
No, God called His people to prepare. I want you to carefully think about the entire history of God’s people. In the Garden of Eden a man named Adam was given the task of keeping the garden. We sometimes just envision him as walking around chatting with God and occasionally picking a fruit off a plant to eat. In our minds there is nothing to do. In Genesis2:15it says that God put man there to tend and keep it. The Hebrew words there mean to till and preserve it.
Let’s move along with Noah. God could have sent down a magnificent vessel that was equivalent to today’s cruise ships in order to preserve mankind and the animal kingdom. Instead He had Noah to work 120 years in order to build a ship large enough to keep his family safe through the judgment of God. When the ark rested Noah didn’t. God gave him a task. He began to build again and worked to replenish the world. God could have told him that his 120 years had earned him a nice retirement. If our interpretation of Matthew 6:26 meant that we did nothing then Noah surely would have not had to work.
I next want to look at the life of Joseph. Joseph had a divinely directed life all for the preservation of the Jews during a famine. Once again, those who loosely interpret the scripture would miss the point here. God always had a plan to preserve His people before disasters. With Joseph His plan was to allow him to go through years of prison until He turned him into the second highest power in Egypt. He then gave Joseph the intuition to see what was about to take place. Through this work Egypt and Israel were saved.
Of course the Israelites ended up in bondage to the Egyptians for four-hundred years. This was according to the prophecy and plan of God. When the Jews came out God could have delivered them to a life of luxury. Instead they had to fight for the Promised Land. Even when God sent Manna to them they had to go out and gather it every day. He did not drop it in their lap or place it in their cupboard.
All through the Old Testament God’s people worked. What about the New Testament? Well, for one example Jesus worked as a carpenter (Mark 6:3). No one had a greater ministry than the Lord and yet He worked. His disciples were workers, also. Most of us remember them as being fishermen, tax collectors, etc. Luke was a physician and the Apostle Paul was a tentmaker (Acts 18:3).
Please don’t misinterpret me and go tell your Pastor that Brother Paul said he needed to get a regular job! That is not my point. My point is that God’s people should work and do everything within their power to provide for their families and God will do the rest. He wants us to stay occupied.
Our economy being in the state it is gives license to many people who find it easier to live off the system. It’s not always their fault. Often they discover that the only job they can get pays less than unemployment or welfare. Other times they are qualified to do much more than the jobs that are open and feel that they are stepping back unless they can get a job equal to their education. We know a lady who has a master’s degree and was out of work for two years. A few weeks ago she took a job at a discount store for little more than minimum wage. It’s a start and in time God will open doors for her. Working is much easier than waiting.
You see if we are Christians we are supposed to work. When God created the Garden He gave Adam companionship and a job. Our Creator made us in His image so we are only content when we create, too. This past week Angie worked in the shop making wooden toys. I haven’t seen her that excited in a long time! She worked harder than most people do on their paying jobs and yet she was happy because she accomplished something with her hands. It is fulfilling to create something tangible. I work with computers a lot and when I get home I get my hands dirty. I’m gardening, splitting firewood, working in my shop or mowing the grass. I have to get busy with my hands because my day was spent fixing other people’s problems on a screen. As an example- a few days ago I had a huge chunk of my day reloading an operating system and associated software and watched a box say “please wait” in between clicks of a mouse.
It has been determined that man needs three things to be content. He needs someone to fellowship with, a task to accomplish and to worship a higher power. We all probably do the other two as Christians but are void in accomplishing something. With modern technologies we can easily waste our day watching a screen. It takes no effort and doesn’t even require paying attention. It will continue running without us. How much different it is to read, build, create, or do!
What are you spending your time doing? Are you working for a living? Do you have the fruit of your labor to satisfy you? In your recreation do you still do something or does something do it for you? Put your hands to the plow and get some real satisfaction at your work. Be blessed with work!
Prayer-Father, thank You for blessing us with the need to work. I pray for those who have not yet discovered the real joy of labor. May they learn that in work we all are doing what You created us for. I pray that those who are in need of jobs will find them that they might be fulfilled in their lives.
In Jesus’ Name-Amen
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