Work now…later we rest… Vol 65
God has given me a LOT of do-overs in my life. I didn’t deserve them and I didn’t always see them that way as they were happening…there were no flashing lights or wild-looking freaky dudes standing in wooden sandwich signs to warn me of the impending do-over…but it happened nonetheless…a lot.
I’ve lived a very interesting life so far. A life rich with experience. Some of it good…some not so much. Some of it intentional…some consequential…but tonight as I reflect on 58 years worth of living…I’m grateful for it all.
Occasionally I’ll allow myself the time to day-dream about winning the lottery or inheriting a lot of money from a long-lost rich relative. It’s weird, in my dream I start out by winning a million dollars…but I quickly up those winnings to hundreds of millions. (why not? it’s a dream…) I don’t know what that means… why isn’t a million dollars enough? Probably some kink in my DNA that I should work out in therapy…
Its fun to think about what I might do with the money. Maybe pay off the new construction at church, help missions, take care of our parents, put the kids in the school of their dreams, maybe move to a larger home, buy a Ferrari…. It’s all harmless fun to a point but the wish list never stops. After I get about 10 minutes into the fantasy I decide that with all this money…I should just stop working and relax. And I’m reminded of the dude in Luke 12 who had so much and nowhere to put it… he decided to tear down the barns he already had, to build new ones. Remember his motto…Eat, drink, and be merry? The story didn’t end well for him. He was dead within the day.
I’m no theologian but I can pull a couple of valuable lessons out of that story.
Life is not about stuff… life is about the work God has called us to.
There are multiple places in scripture where God requires us to work. We must work to take care of our needs, and work to take care of God’s commands. Some of us find tremendous pleasure in work…others tremendous pressure…still others find some of both.
I think work is a bit of a yardstick that God uses to measure us. Not to measure our worth…but our mettle. When asked about what we do for a living…the first thing most of us think about is where we are employed…where our paycheck comes from. Scripture tells us that if we won’t work…we shouldn’t eat. So working for that paycheck to make sure our family can eat is important. But I think the work we do on ourselves because of what God did in us, so that he can do something through us, is more important.
The “mettle,” the resolve, the determination …it is what is squeezed out of us in the fire of life. It is what the world sees…and often how they judge whether or not being a Christian is more than just our soapbox, but the very song of our life. It is often by observing us, Christians, in the pain of trial where unbelievers determine whether being a Christian is “worth it.”
Today we don’t see God judging our sin as quickly or harshly as He did with the rich dude in Luke. He probably should…maybe we’d pay more attention to Him…(I doubt it…) It’s not that there isn’t still a penalty for sin…or consequences, both natural and spiritual. Quite the contrary. Some of us live with the natural consequences of sin every day. That’s why there are people in jail and on antidepressants. But God is going to “square up” with us on the spiritual consequences one day soon. For those of us who know Him as Lord and Savior, we’ll receive our reward …Heaven…life with Him forever. And sadly, for those who never knew Him…an eternity of separation from Him in Hell awaits.
I’m convinced that there are no substitutes or shortcuts to work. It’s necessary.
It can be hard. It can be long. It can be tedious. But work can also be joyful, productive, and exciting. A lot of it depends on our attitude.
What’s your attitude like today? Is the glass half-full or half-empty?
I choose to see it half-full.