by J. Randal Matheny, editor
Many modern societies like the U.S. are turning toward a philosophy of entitlement, expecting the government to guarantee basic personal needs. Governments encourage such attitudes. The more money they can generate through taxes, tariffs and fees, the more power they accumulate.
God created man as a creature of work. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve were given the responsibility of tending the garden of Eden. After the Fall, man’s work became onerous and difficult, and this area of his life, as were all others, was adversely affected. But the inherent goodness of work was not changed.
Human beings were made for activity. The body needs movement. The mind requires challenge. The hand seeks a tool.
Men often depend upon the success of a work for their self-worth. While such dependence is crippling, God did intend for people to find fulfillment in work.
Work is what makes rest sweet. Without labor, rest degenerates into idleness and slackness. Paul gave sharp instructions about the slack: “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this command: ‘If anyone is not willing to work, neither should he eat'” (2 Thessalonians 3:10 NET).
To “work with your own hands” is honor for the Christian (1 Thessalonians 4:11). Even the most menial tasks and positions deserve effort “with enthusiasm” (Colossians 3:23).
Spiritually, God’s servants were “created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10). He gave us Scripture in order “that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).
He judges each one impartially, according to his work, a relief on the one hand, and a motive for godly fear on the other (1 Peter 1:17). Christians are everywhere urged to be “ready for every good work” (Titus 3:1).
God does not tax some saints to relieve others. He does not take from the productive to prop up the slacker. From his power and goodness he supplies all for every need, not that we may be idle, but for our usefulness.
“And God is able to make all grace overflow to you so that because you have enough of everything in every way at all times, you will overflow in every good work” (2 Corinthians 8:9, please read the rest of the chapter).
Those who refuse to use God’s grace for service lose their place in the kingdom. This is the lesson of the parable of the talents.
The Lord guarantees that work in the Spirit will succeed, not necessarily in terms of numbers or visible results, for God’s measure is faithfulness. “Now what is sought in stewards is that one be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).
If God gives the increase, he guarantees the results in his way in his time, not ours. Therefore, we may work relieved of the pressure of producing, knowing that faithfulness brings a harvest.
“So then, dear brothers and sisters, be firm. Do not be moved! Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Work, then, both physical and spiritual, is good and essential to the well-being of man. Let us rest in this truth!
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