by Michael E. Brooks
“Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need” (Ephesians 4:28 NKJV).
This past week there have been a group of Bible college students and staff members digging out the bottom muck of a pond on campus. Originally local laborers who contract for dirt moving were hired, but they soon quit, saying the dirt was too hard to work. At that point some of the female staff members said, “We will do it.” They recruited their husbands and the students and have spent every afternoon at the task. One or two men dug out clods of mud from the pond bottom, then it was passed from hand to hand through a human chain, across the floor of the pond, up the sides, and then to the place where it was to be put. Within a short time each person was covered with mud, and by the end of each afternoon all were tired.
The outstanding impression I have had of this work was of the sense of fun and satisfaction radiated by every person involved. There has been no shirking and no complaint from anyone. And the clean pond, ready to be filled with water and stocked with fish, is a source of pride to all.
We forget sometimes that work is not a bad thing. God created humans to be productive. I believe we are all best satisfied and fulfilled when we have a useful purpose. Psychologists have identified such purpose as one of the necessary conditions of happiness. Few can be truly content without it.
When God created man, he placed him in a garden and commanded him to tend and keep it (Genesis 2:15). In other words, he gave him work to do, purpose and meaning in his life. When Jesus came to this earth, he recruited disciples and trained them. Upon his departure, they were given the mission of being his witnesses throughout the earth (Acts 1:8). To the Church in Colosse Paul commanded, “… Walk worthy of the Lord, pleasing him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10). And to Titus he wrote, “Remind them (i.e., the churches in Crete) to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work …” (Titus 3:1).
Work is not a bad four letter word. It is a God-given activity that provides meaning and purpose to life, and produces blessings in the form of material, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional rewards. Let us embrace it and be fruitful.
by Michael E. Brooks