Kingdom Principle: God will give you the words & wisdom, you are to give him your work.
Work as if your Worth depends on it, Live in Freedom because it doesn’t
|Isaiah 12||Isaiah 65:17-25||2 Thessalonians 3:6-13||Luke 21:5-19|
Every minute of my day has purpose, unfortunately – I do not always claim it or live into its full meaning and purpose. When this is true more often than not – I become a busybody. However, when I hear the Lord’s leading and claim the fullness of every moment of my life – I can also become very busy. This however does not make me a busy body…. In fact – there are times of rest and abiding with God that I must claim in my life which can actually make me busier at other times. If I choose to set aside time to “be” with God (spirit directing), or to exercise and work out (body discipline), or to talk with a person who can not benefit me or serve me (soul development)… then the other times of my day must be more productive. I often feel this as busy. This becomes a discipline of listening and being led by God and rather than the impulses and demands of this world. (Romans 12:1-3)
The summary text this week is simple, “never tire of doing what is good” (2 Thess. 3:13) but this comes as an admonishment not to become busybodies. The concepts behind and supporting this lectionary text are not so simple; the timing for the return of Christ and the creation of the new heavens and earth, Judgment & Discipleship, Choosing Life vs. Rebellion and the overall understanding of how we share the Gospel in our lives.
What makes a good work good? This has been answered in a previous post, and in there it also captures how we can measure what is enough work to do. The question becomes not do I have enough $$$ to no longer work yet still live a good life, but rather it is if my life open to God enough for him to flow through me? We have addressed the saying “Idle hands are the devil’s playhouse” demonstrating this in King David’s idle hands – which lead to great disaster. Concluding that work is not about accumulating more or staying busy rather it is an act of worship. There are many people who become busybodies in their pursuit to avoid having idle hands, which leads them to idols strongholds. For this is not a call to work so hard becoming a slave to your labor, rather we are slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18) with and our life-work is as a servant unto the Lord.
Let’s keep this Simple – Work is a calling… and you are called to work until God returns. This does not mean God is anti-retirement, nor is God anti-welfare. In fact the church has very specific callings as a separate matter for both of these – but that is not the focus here. Here the call is to persevere and to labor, not in vain, but as a privilege to contribute to the coming of the Kingdom of God. (This idea is unpacked in the previous posts linked above) The King shall come in all His Glory, and we are neither to be idle nor to be “busybodies” because our faith says that God is in control. If the only reason to go to work is to pay the bills, then some muse – “God will provide”. This is an act of idleness – where we are foolishly making God our genie to provide for us in an act of arrogance. If we conclude that we don’t need to go to work because the King is going to return any day, and there is no reason to invest in this life or this world. This is an act of busybodies – for we will fill out time with acts of busy-ness without purpose or calling.
All of this is couched this week in a concept of Paul’s that is found in Jesus – it says “Follow me”, “Imitate me”, and “I have set an example for you”. The very call to imitate and follow is not to mimic or lose one’s identity – it is actually to find one’s identity in Christ. In this discover of life and purpose identity of self is embraced not as I see myself, but as God sees me, resulting in the truth setting me free. freedom. I don’t know a single pastoral leader or mentor of mine that has ever said the words… Follow my example and meant – stop living your life and start living mine. And yet there are many who I have admired and thought – If I could only live like them…. Therefore Paul s is simply articulating in freedom, that we are all to be free in the fullness of life of Christ. So I say to you – follow my example in
Be fully aware of the salvation which has been granted to me – and rescued me from a life of separation from God.
Be full of the Holy Spirit and to move in the full measure of the gifts and faith as I have been faithful to purse.
Be fully responsible for how you live your life as a Kingdom Witness as am I. I continually seek to more fully walk in the Grace and Truth of Jesus – seeking repentance and offering forgiveness in full.
We are all to be in full –time ministry… regardless of vocation…. This can be both pulpit ministry (within the church) and/or market place ministry. (These terms are from “Transformation” by Ed Silvoso –I have held both market place as well as church jobs, but my vocation and calling is pulpit ministry. ) Regardless of where your vocation places you, the real question is “How” that experience leads us to opportunities for Discipleship. May we imitate Paul and follow Jesus in such a way as to teach and encourage others to do the same….
This leads us back to the original issue avoiding idle and descriptiveness which has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God, and where our labor is in vain which means it is outside the will of God. We wrap of this lectionary year, never tiring of doing a good work. No matter who, what, or why; we continually press on to invest in the Kingdom of Heavens which is of this age and the age to come. For this we shall win life.