Sunday, August 26, 2012

You Need A Job

Sometimes the word "work" can be treated as a "dirty" word in the Body of Christ. Some people's attitude is that God will provide, expecting that they can just go through life living off of other people's generosity. Yet, there were times when even the great apostle Paul worked to provide for himself so he would not be a burden to others.

The reason I think this is relative is because some of us have the idea of God's blessings all backwards. Whether our work is our studies as students or labour in the work place or effort in ministry, it all comes from the hand of the Lord and we have been told to work hard at it. We dishonour our God when we just sit back and "let it happen".

We have a responsibility to work:

For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:7-10)

There is nothing selfish in our work unless we make it selfish. We work to provide for others, for the church, for our families. We are told to change our ways from being self-centered to being generous:

He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. (Ephesians 4:28)

Our attitude is what matters. If we are short-sighted and can only see what is around us then our labour could become a thing of bitterness. But when we do our work as if we are working for the Lord and not ourselves then there is joy in the work of our hands:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)

Some would say that they want to work but there is no work for them. We must recognize that all things we receive are from the Lord, including our work. Work is a blessing from the Lord not a curse. It is good to work but just like all blessings, if our relationship with God and man are messed up then the blessings can't flow. This all goes for students as well. If you are struggling in your studies, examine your relationship with Jesus and with the people in your lives.

God has promised to bless the work of our hands but he can't do that if we are not strong in our relationship with him and with our neighbour. If we live in rebellion against him, openly or in secret, and we hate our neighbour then we cannot expect the blessings of the Lord to flow freely through us. Honour God and your neighbour and you will see doors of blessings and opportunity flying open:

If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God ... The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. (Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 12)

For those of you who are seeking the blessings of the Lord in work, whether labour or studies, I join the psalmist in praying:

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
    establish the work of our hands for us—
    yes, establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:17)

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