Redeeming Work


Sunday’s sermon from Proverbs was about work, which our pastor defined as more than what we do to earn money. Basically he said it is whatever we do that is productive, meaning that it accomplishes something. So taking out the trash is productive, and therefore it is work. And so on.

First, Pastor pointed out that God gave Adam work to do before the fall. So work is not a result of sin! It’s actually God’s plan for us and something that we will do in our lives with Him in the future.

What we are faced with today, however, is that work is hard. And that is a result of the fall. Pastor didn’t say this, but I’m pretty sure this is why we try to avoid work.

Of course, we’re pretty good with work that give us joy—golfers like to golf, those who love to tinker with old cars have no problem working on an engine for hours, shoppers can spend just as long looking for that perfect bargain, and so on.

We also have a tolerance level for the work that will benefit us in some way—painting the house to enhance its value, putting in new roses, mowing the lawn.

Even more, we work out and we diet if we think it will do us good—maybe so we can fit into that dress for our friend’s wedding or so that we won’t be embarrassed when we go to the beach. Or so we can avoid the disease our parents died of, so we can live to see our kids get married and have kids.

We’ll work, too, in order to provide for those we care about—private school, a college fund, life insurance, daily food and a roof over our heads.

But because work is hard and we don’t always get to do what we enjoy, we so often look forward to the weekend when we don’t have to do the any work except that which we choose to do. Too often conflicts between husband and wife lie within that have to space of.

Pastor pointed out that a good number of verses in Proverbs address the matter of work, the necessity of work, but he chose as his text 16:3—

Commit your works to the LORD
And your plans will be established.

The idea he stressed is that we can intentionally do our work as to the Lord. By way of cross reference he cited Colossians 3:22—“Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.”

Then there is Eph. 6:7 that says, “Render service as to the Lord and not to men.” Or how about 1 Cor. 15:58—“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

Another from the Old Testament. The context is what a prophet told a king of Israel who was restoring worship to the Lord: “But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work” (2 Chron. 15:7)

So there’s a choice we have. We can do our work to get paid—not a wrong motive, surely. We can do our work because it needs to be done: the groceries have to get bought and put away, for instance. Again nothing wrong with doing what needs to be done.

But we can also do our work to be people pleasers. We can work to win the award, get the bonus or the promotion. We can complete our tasks on time for the approval of our boss, we can strive to excel at our job so people will tell us what good workers we are or how much they appreciate our attention to detail.

We humans love that kind of encouragement, and honestly, we don’t give it to each other often enough. But if we are working for those things? It those are our motives?

I think we’re missing what Proverbs 16:3 is saying.

Generally we have a goal in sight, and we work toward attaining it. This short proverb says, if we commit our work, whatever that might be, to God, He will make sure it meets the goal. His goal. What He wants to accomplish in and through us.

I think this concept goes hand in hand with Matthew 6:33: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things [food and clothing] will be added to you.”

I know we tend to be skeptical about this. But how many times does God have to say it in His word. Seek His kingdom, His righteousness; render service to the Lord; abound in the work of the Lord; commit your work to the Lord; don’t lose courage for there is reward for your work.

In other words, we don’t have to worry about someone else moving ahead of us in the promotion line or winning the contract we had also sought. All we need to worry about is committing our work to the Lord. He’s got the results in His hands.

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Published in: on July 30, 2018 at 5:19 pm  Comments (2)  
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