by Bruce Goddard
We live in a hurried world. We get up early, run long hours, fill our days to the fullest, and have to fight and plan to have any leisure. Right or wrong, this is how most of us live. Often a Christian can think, “This Christian life is a lot of work” or I’m tired and need some rest.” I do not experience these feelings any less than anyone else, but then I read about the Lord and the people we are following in the Bible.
John 9:4 “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”
Mark 6:31 “And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”
Sounds as if our Lord was somewhat pressed. We need to be careful that we do not run more willingly for the world and the flesh than we do for eternity and Christ. We will get up tired and go to work for money; why not get up early and go to prayer meetings and soul winning for God? We will run long hours for money and the evil world around us; why not run long hours for revival meetings, bus routes, and soul winning?
The fact is, there are days when it is a fight to get to our secular jobs, deal with the people, the pressure, and the conflict. Then we read about Paul:
2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”
1 Timothy 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
John 4:34 “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”
Let’s get over this pity party mentality. We can drag ourselves out of bed and fight all day for a dollar, then we pout because we are expected to be on time to work in the church nursery and Sunday school.
Acts 20:31 “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”
Paul worked his secular job; then he worked at preaching and starting churches.
1 Thessalonians 2:9 “For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.”
Not being “chargeable” refers to Paul’s working to make tents or to do other regular work. Then he pushed himself to use the rest of his hours to preach and go soul winning. It was “labour” and involved long hours.
The work of soul winning is labor. Church ministry is labor. Rearing good children is labor. Making enough money to support a family is labor. Add serving the Lord, and you labor night and day. That is Biblical living. Tired? Of course we get tired. But I watch my neighbors, and they all work long hours; then they work on their boat or motorcycles and run off to the lake or desert and come back tired late at night, but get up early to rush off to work. We both have a religion. The difference is — mine returns eternal wages while theirs returns little but a smile. Be it having money, a home entertainment center, a garage full of motorcycles, or a commercial drivers license to drive a Sunday school bus, it all takes time, money, energy and leaves you worn out on Sunday night.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”
Some of our finest men have lost their jobs for one reason or another. Wow! A very depressing, fearful, anxious time; then they are forced to labor at looking for a new job, retraining, filling out frustrating applications for jobs, making decisions, praying, and begging God for help. So what is wrong with learning to teach a Bible class, drive a bus, or lead a soul to Christ? At least those things are guaranteed to make a difference for eternity and to help people. The wages and benefits are eternal.
The big challenge is knowing how much time to labor in the world for money, how much time to labor in the church for souls, and how much time to labor at home for our families. As in Nehemiah’s day when the people had to build the wall, yet defend themselves from attack, they did double duty — frustrating, but eternal and right. So work, work till you die, as long as some of your work is for God, souls, and things that will meet you when you get to the “other side.”
Nehemiah 4:17 “They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.”
vs. 21 “So we laboured in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared.”
As the song writer says, “We’ll work, ’till Jesus comes.” He does not say we’ll rest ‘till Jesus comes. But be sure of this, rest is on the way, ” There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” (Hebrews 4:9)
by Bruce Goddard
Original article can be found here.