'The Dignity of Work'
by Travis Wiginton
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We all do it....and we either hate it....tolerate it...'not bad'....or....enjoy it.
What am I talking about? I'm talking about work and as the fella said,
"You spell wurk and you can't do it without 'u'."
My Dad never talked about the dignity of work in those terms, but I do remember him saying to us 4 sons, something about 'you don't work, you don't eat'. They didn't have to talk to us like that often, for we worked as a team and....because we loved them.
It would have been a sin NOT to work, just as it is in response to all of God's love and goodness.
What many parents forget is, if you want your children to love God, they need to see God's love in you! Also, let the church be an important ally in getting love, responsibility, and discipline across to your children. In our home, it was only natural that before age 12, we 4 sons were saved, baptized, and on our way to being profitable citizens on earth....and in God' Kingdom.
La Moyne feels the same way about her parents, as she had similar experiences. Her Mom was a fine Christian homemaker (and an accomplished seamstress). Her Dad drove a road-grader, building/paving a runway at an Air Base in Burns Flat, Oklahoma during WWII.
He also helped build the roads inside Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs where NORAD is located, as well as helping pave the grounds for the Air Force Academy.
When Seminary was out for the summer, we went to live with my in-laws and I worked with my father-in-law, paving roads. He would sit with a different worker each day during lunch, so that he could share about the Lord. I noticed when some of the guys might be telling 'off color' jokes, etc. they would change their talk whenever Jim walked by. There was no finer Christian man than my father-in-law!
Now to the dignity of work:
Before we can do God's work, we must become His workmanship
('poem'...see Eph. 2:8-9)
We can become beautiful miracles, like beautiful poems-- all creations by God!
Several Scriptures on 'work' and 'workmanship' are:
1) Philippians 1:6:
"We are confident of this very thing, that He Who has begun a good work in you,
will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."
2) Philippians 2:12:
"My beloved brothers, you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God Who works in you, to will and to act according to His good pleasure."
A better translation might be "Let God work out of you, all that He works in you".
3) I Corin. 10:31:
"Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do ALL to the glory of God!"
4) Colossians 3:23-24:
"Whatsoever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord..and not unto men, knowing that of the Lord, you shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for you serve the Lord Christ."
5) II Timothy 3: 16-17:
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is able to make us complete, thoroughly equipped unto all good works."
6) II Timothy 2 gives several 'callings' that describe the work of Christians:
Verse 1: Children of God - strong in grace.
Verse 2: Faithful teachers - having been taught, we now teach.
Verse 3: Soldiers of Jesus Christ - fighting the good fight.
Verse 4: Athletes - living according to the rules and continuing to the end.
Verse 6: Farmers - laboring for the harvest.
Verse 15: Workmen - approved by God and sharing the Word of God.
Verse 20: Vessels of God - Cleansed, called and used for God's honor:
"Christ in you, the hope".
Verse 24: Servant of the Lord - Always knowing 'who' your Master is and serving faithfully in all good works.
Hebrews 6:10 "God will not forget your work and labor of love, ministering to others."
In all these, work becomes worship when you really work for the Lord.
Work was ordained by God in Genesis 2:15.
"Then the Lord God took man and put him into the Garden of Eden, to cultivate and keep it!"
Work is a high calling and we were made to be creative and productive in our labors.
In fact, I Corin. 3:9 encourages us that we are 'laborers together with God'.
However, make sure that you know 'Who' is boss...and know your boss well.
Solomon's search for success and satisfaction ended when he realized
(and wrote in the last 2 verses of Ecclesiastes):
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; Fear God and keep His Commandments for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed of man into judgment, including every hidden thing whether it is good or evil."
How then can we never 'lose the wonder of work'?
A long-time evangelist, Gypsy Smith, was asked the secret of his long and effective tenure, he said, "I never lost the wonder of it all."
I owe that same kind of attitude to my Mom and Dad, whose faith in God kept them living and working with zest.
G.K. Chesterton's winning motto for the Chicago World's Fair was:
"The world will never starve for wonders....only for the want of wonders."
There's nothing worse than a 'blah' existence and missing all of the wonders!
When someone asked General Booth of the Salvation Army, the secret of his success,
"God has had all there was of me to have, from the moment I got the poor of London on my heart and a vision of what Jesus would do."
Many have learned from him, that the secret of a man's power, is the measure of his surrender.
He also was asked by some young preachers, the secret of revival and he replied,
So today and every day, enjoy all of God's blessings....and in all you say and do...
realize that you are BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING.
Don't ever get the feeling that your work for the Lord is over!
The tragedy along the Gulf Coast this week, appears to be the worst in our nation's history. Once again, it has been amazing to see how Americans mobilize (and give) in times of tragedy. The Red Cross and many Christian groups from several states have been quick to serve there.
What stood out to me, were how many volunteers for these different service groups were Senior Citizens. God isn't through with me (or you) yet!
This is a great worthy example that God's work never stops, no matter your age!
One volunteer was a 76 yr. old from Oklahoma who said,
"This is a mission from God...I'm a Christian and our works prove our relationship to God. We're not working to get to Heaven. It's because we are ON OUR WAY to Heaven, that we do this work."
Ask yourself, "What work am I doing for Jesus while I'm on my way to Heaven?"
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