Section Three: The Lifestyle Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic Two: Serving Christ in the Workplace.
Our reading for today: Hebrews 12: 1-3 (MsgB)
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility He plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
Let’s face it, folks.
W-O-R-K is not called W-O-R-K for no reason at all. As a matter of fact, many would call it a four letter word!
W-O-R-K, you see, is hard. Tough stuff!
Our jobs are many times distasteful; full of things that make us want to throw in the towel on a daily basis. Some suggest that we avoid this problem of W-O-R-K by finding something we truly enjoy doing in life and then finding a creative way to make a living doing just that. Now, that idea sounds great on paper, but here’s the problem…
Most things that you and I truly enjoy (like vacationing, enjoying a good meal, taking coffee breaks, and daydreaming) just don’t produce the kind of income we need to live, move and have our being…unless, of course, we want to house ourselves in a cardboard box down by the river!
So, the truth is that you and I, for a good portion of our lives, assuming our bodies are fit to do so, are forced through our earthly circumstances, to get up out of bed each morning and trot our tired old bodies off to W-O-R-K.
But here’s the good news!
As dedicated followers of Jesus of Nazareth, there are many resources available to us in our W-O-R-K that so many of us, so very often, fail to recognize. As we discussed last time, the amazing truth about Jesus of Nazareth is that He is not just a holy person interested in our spiritual lives. In truth, the Master is fully committed to getting up early each and every work day and joining us as we go to W-O-R-K. As a matter of fact, the idea of Jesus only being available to us as we sit in a church pew on Sunday mornings is as foreign of a concept in the New Testament as it is to believe that Jesus was a white guy with blond hair and blue eyes!
Martin Luther, the great reformer of the 16th century, was one of the first saints to address this false concept that God is found only in holy, sacred cathedrals of the world. To Luther, W-O-R-K was the best place where God could be discovered, and as a matter of fact, he was quick to slam those who believed that full-time “ministry” was somehow a much better work assignment, or a more holy work than the labor of the peasants in the fields and streets of the surrounding community. Luther, and the other Reformers, believed in what we call “the priesthood of the believer” where every man, woman, and child has full access to God and His presence; not just those special men and women who spend their time laboring for the Lord in a church or sanctuary.
So, as I see it, that’s why the writer of Hebrews encourages us Christ-followers to keep our minds and hearts focused on the prize awaiting those who W-O-R-K their way through this lifetime. You see, Jesus, the Master didn’t pull Himself out of the workplace in order to be closer to God. He didn’t become a hermit, secluded and hidden away, believing that the world had to find its’ way to Him in order to receive the many blessings He was able to offer.
Jesus, as the writer of Hebrews states here, was willing to go to W-O-R-K on a daily basis, exposing Himself to many painful experiences in order to be the faithful servant of God that He wanted to be.
So folks, as we force ourselves to get out of bed tomorrow morning, stumbling around for that cup of coffee to get us going, I suggest that we turn the pages of our Bibles over to “He-brews” as well and take to heart these highly-caffeinated words of encouragement:
When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility (Jesus) plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
Up and at ‘em, gang. It’s time to go to W-O-R-K with Jesus!
My prayer: Jesus, You are the supreme example of running the race, enduring the pain, in order to keep on keepin’ on for the cause of God’s Kingdom. If You did it, Master, so can I…not by my strength alone, but through the indwelling and empowering work of the Holy Spirit. May I choose today to go to W-O-R-K, knowing that You have completed Your assignment and are now actively involved in helping me with mine. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: What needs to change inside of me when it comes to my attitude toward my job? Am I aware of the assignment of God that is contained within my employment? Am I aware of the fact that God can be found at work, possibly much more there than on a typical Sunday morning as I sit in a church pew?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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