Remember I said there was a lot packed into this chapter?
Let's go back and look at this verse:
In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” John 5:17Sometimes we parents ask our kiddos, "What do you want to do (be) when you grow up?" And we encourage them to seek their passion, to do what brings them joy.
That's all well and good. But it doesn't necessarily follow that every adult will have a job that makes them bounce out of bed each morning, grinning about going to work that day! It's a fact, though, that work is something that we do, in order to provide for ourselves and our families, to witness to others, and to give God glory. Now, those are things we can find joy in, even if we find our job to sometimes be a chore!
How we think about work, our work ethic, is important.
The mentality to work cheerfully is a very good thing -- our God worked in the beginning of time as we know it. He worked and created the stars and planets, the earth and all the plants and animals on it. Of course, we can assume that it was not hard work, since He is Almighty and all-powerful! But He was pleased to work, and give us that good example. He put a lot of Himself into His work, didn't He? (Grin) After all, we are made in His image!
We can find a wonderful example of a work ethic, and how we should adjust our attitudes toward work, in Paul's letter to the church at Thessalonica:
II Thessalonians 3:6-10 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 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."We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.What a tremendous example! How in the world can we hope to do that?
One key to that is the realization that we are serving our Lord and our fellow man in some way or another. Regardless of what we are doing, we can give the best service possible. We can give our best in everything.
Another key to accomplishing our work in the way Paul spoke, is to always be considerate of others.
Peter told us:
I Peter 3:8-9 “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”This scripture tells us how Christians should treat one another, but in reality, we should treat all people this way: in harmony, sympathetic, compassionate, humble, and not seeking vengeance. Trying to combat evil with evil never pays.The point of I Peter 3 is that we should work with people and not against them. We should work together as a team and caring for one another at the same time. The work place is always better when people are considerate of one another.
The last key is to remember Who we are working for . . . we are to:
"obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 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 3:22-24We all believe our Lord is our real boss in life, or at least He is supposed to be. He is the giver of every good gift, and the ultimate gift, eternal life. We should be listening to Him and trying to do what He would have us do.
There used to be a lot of cars on the road with bumper stickers that read "Jesus is my co-pilot." It always made me think, and I wondered why it didn't say, "Jesus is my Pilot." If He is our co-pilot, that means we turn over the controls to Him when we are tired, or when we want to take a break. But shouldn't He have the controls all the time? He does a much better job at charting our course than we can do!
Sometimes we may take a wrong turn, or do the wrong thing. We might be frustrated and forget that we are serving our Lord and one another. We might not take the time to be considerate. We might even forget Who our boss is. And work becomes a terrible four letter word . . . no joy, no fun.
On the other hand, we might be able to do our work with a grin instead of a groan, if we follow these rules from the Word. I know I need to follow these rules more closely -- how about you?