Stewardship

Put back the holy in ordinary secular work

put-back-the-holy-in-ordinary-secular-work

Key scripture: Mat 5:16 “may your good works glorify your father in heaven” (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV). Do all to the Glory of God

One of the key concepts of the Reformation was coram Deo: all of life is lived “before the face of God.” In other words, there was no separation between the sacred and the secular Excerpt From: “The Reformation Manifesto: Your Part in God’s Plan to Change Nations Today” by Cindy Jacobs. Scribd. Read this book on Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/235000503

You cannot fix crooked getting with right giving.

I find sometimes this believe among Christians that they are trying to fix with religious activities like prayer and giving a bad and wrong work-ethic. You cannot fix deceitful getting by giving tithes and offerings. The way you earn your giving is as important as the giving.

It is very clear, work is worship. The manner and way we work glorify God. After all these thousands of years, we still stand in awe at the wonder of God’s work – creation! What can we learn from the way God worked creation? His creation is sustainable, intricate, beautiful, in order, balanced, wonderful, and creative. When Godly character is evident in our work, God gets glorified. Proverbs 22:4,9 By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life. He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor. Many people say I have no skills. You can teach any man a skill, but character is birthed. The most sought-after job-seekers are ones with godly character. Society is calling for leaders with character.

Made in His image we have received the same abilities and potential locked up in all of us, get working! (Prov 22:29) “excel in your work, will bring you before Kings” I believe if every Christian Born Again believer work God’s way, there will be no unemployment in the church. We would be the most sought-after individuals on the planet for employment. He has put the Christ-like ability in us at our salvation. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work (2 Cor 9:8) God even anointed certain men with the skill to do special work. (Ex 31:1-6; 35:30-35) The first ever people to be anointed by God was the artisans. Daniel worked in a Babylonian system: Dan 5:14, could find no error in His work Dan 6:4 Joseph ruled over Egypt through his wisdom and insight – Gen 41:38-39 We have the spirit of God with us, to lead an guide us in business decisions.

I learned that Genesis tells us God gave us a job even before he gave us a family. We were created in the image of God to be co-creators with Him. Gen 1:28 “fill the earth and subdue it. Subdue: kabas: A verb meaning to subdue, to bring into subjection, to enslave. It means basically to overcome. We are destined to overcome, life’s obstacles and difficulties. Every big invention we celebrate today, first have been a big problem.

Avoda, or Avodah is a Hebrew word, literally meaning “work”. In a modern context, usually refers to business-type activities, it can also mean agricultural work and, more traditionally, serving God. In its original, traditional sense, “avodah” was applied to sacrifices offered in Temple in Jerusalem. The word was also used to described the epitome of sacrificial rite, the complex and fraught main service of the The High Priest on Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement). Today it refers to a liturgical reenactment of the aforementioned ceremony which is recited during the Musaf Amidah of Yom Kippur.

True Christianity creates no division between secular and sacred. Every task we undertake, paid or not paid, is to be done to the Lord. May the Lord Jesus by His powerful Spirit remove the duality in our thinking today! Work is holy! In Switzerland all work is seen with dignity. Work is dignity. The oppressive slave system of colonialism made certain tasks and work seen as lower, degrading, and of lesser importance and prominence. If you are called as a street sweeper, do it to the glory of Go, so that those who pass by exclaim: “look at the clean streets, it looks like heaven”

Labor for eternal food

(Joh 6:27; Mat 4:4; Joh 4:13-14)

Working for food and belongings can never satisfy your soul, only finding your purpose in God. Our creational purpose is to be Christlike Rom 8:29 Our lives are hidden in Him (Col 3:2) The curse of work that came with Adam’s sin, is loosing our true identity. The curse is not in the work we do, but doing it like a slave, because you have to, not because it is your calling. Many people after retirement become even more busy, because they love their work. Work makes you happy. You feel good after a day’s work. Sleep well.

Remain in your calling

1 Cor 7:20 The Bible does not look negatively to slavery. To build a healthy economy you need workers, slaves and leaders. Each one have received a different talent all according to his own ability. (Mat 25:14, 15) Jesus Himself took on the form of a bondservant. (Phil 2:5) The quickest way to discover your true calling, begin to serve somebody. The Bible is actually specific about this: we should honor our parents, the best way to honor them, is to serve them. Jesus learned to obey earthly parents first for 30 years, before He was released for ministry. He also had no ambition to begin His public ministry, His mother prompted Him. (Joh 2:4) Paul served for 17 years in total before he was commissioned as an Apostle. (Gal 1:18; 2:1) Paul often refer to himself as a Bondservant of Christ. (Gal 1:10) This Bible actually gives specific instructions to Slaves and Owners. (Eph 5:6-9) Paul wrote a letter to the owner of a slave, to honor and respect that role. (Philemon) General instructions is given to not judge another person’s slave. (Rom 14:4)

Once we have discovered His gift of righteousness, we work from a position of rest. (Heb 4:8–11) The rest of faith and obedience. We do not work to achieve his favor, or prominence before man. We have received His favor, acceptance, sonship and want to be productive with what we have received.

Riches is produced by the way we work, not mere work alone.

It is His blessing that makes one rich not to just work harder. (Prov 10:22) It is also important to realize that it is not work itself that brings riches. There are very hard working people in Africa that remains poor. The blessing is not in work alone, but in multiplication. See the parable of the talents. We often equate faithfulness with being steadfast, consistence, dependable, reliable, dependable, loyal, true, trustworthy, devoted, truthful. Jesus equates faithfulness with something else – multiplication. Whatever God gives to us, He expect us to multiply and present it back to Him.

Remove the curse of sin out of work

Most Christians see work as secular and worldly, unholy. With this mindset they seek to now work for God. How do you work for God? Preaching, prison visitation, feeding the hungry? What do pastors do with all their time, when everyone else is working? At least the apostles gave themselves to prayer and study of the Word. Instead we should take the holy back to the workplace, we need Pastors at the forefront to be examples in this.

APOSTLES WORK HARD
Joh 4:38 – and you have entered into their labor
2 Cor 6:5 – labors
2 Cor 10:15 – measure of our labour – We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others
2 Cor 11:23 – with far greater labors 1 Cor 15:10
1 Cor 4:12 Working with our own hands
2 Thes 3:8 with toil and labor

Work is a blessing to be enjoyed. (Eccl 2:24, 26) God is delighted in our fruitfulness. When the faithful servants brought their returns to their master, he not only blessed them, and gave them more he said: Enter into the JOY OF THE LORD. (Mat 25:20)

Work is ordained by God

Ge 1:27-28 See also Ex 20:9 pp Dt 5:13; Ps 104:23

Work is part of the rhythm of life. Like sleep, food, and fun, we need to work. It keeps us healthy. When an old person can do no more work, they die soon. Work keeps you moving, productive, feeling dignified and healthy.

God works Joh 4:34; 5:17; John 17:4 thus being created in His image, there is something Godly and divine about work. Employment is going to become the most scarce resource on earth. May we take up our Godly call not to only find work for ourselves, but create work for others. Like Paul we say: “as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” (2 Cor 6:10)

In his book “Jesus a Pilgrimage” James Martin explains in great detail life in Nazareth, we Jesus grew up as boy and young man. Nazareth was located “on the fringe of the Roman Empire, both geographically and politically.” Only two to four hundred people lived there in Jesus’s day. Today the ruins of the houses in Nazareth are scant, but the archaeological evidence has revealed small dwellings built with local stones (basalt or limestone) that were stacked roughly atop one another. The floors were of packed earth and the roofs thatched, constructed over beams of wood and held together with mud. Families lived in small houses clustered together around a “yard” where common activities were performed. Evidence from the rooms points to little privacy for the inhabitants, but a great sense of community. Every one knew each other, is this not the carpenter’s son Mt 13:55–56.

The conditions was “filthy, malodorous and unhealthy” by contemporary standards. Most skeletal remains predictably show iron and protein deficiencies, and most had severe arthritis. A case of the flu, a bad cold, or an abscessed tooth could kill. Life expectancy, for the luckier half that survived childhood, was somewhere in the thirties. Those reaching fifty or sixty were rare.

Life was hard, and people lived perilously close to the edge, economically and socially. People did not travel afar much, since it was both dangerous and expensive. When they did— for example, for the pilgrimage to Jerusalem— they did so in larger groups so as to ward off bandits. Life was, as Crossan and Reed say, “predominantly local.”

Nazareth is not mentioned anywhere in the Old Testament. Nor is it mentioned in the Talmud, which lists sixty- three other villages in Galilee, or in the writings of Josephus, who names forty- five other Galilean villages. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” asks Nathanael. 23 In that Gospel passage Nazareth is, quite literally, a joke. And yet, just four miles from Nazareth was Sepphoris, a bustling city of thirty thousand, which was being rebuilt at the time by Herod Antipas. Yet Jesus chose Nazareth as the proper place to prepare himself for public ministry.

One archaeological team wrote about Nazareth: “The principal activity of these villagers was agriculture. Nothing in the finds suggests wealth.” In his parables and stories Jesus frequently makes use of images not from carpentry, which one would expect, but from farming— the sower and the seeds, the mustard seed, and the weeds that grow up alongside the wheat,

We will eventually be judged by our works:

Mat 16:27 reward each one according to his works
Mat 23:3 but do not do according to their works, for they say and do not do.
Mat 26:10 she has done a good work for me
Your works bears witness of who you are: Joh 5:36; not being able to work is compared with darkness. Joh 9:4

Faith is work

Works of faith vs works of the law (James 2:14- 26 vs Heb 6:1)
We are called to be workers of miracles not waiters until he does the miracles
Faith is proven by its works (James 2:22, 25)
Good works acceptable unto God are only possible through God’s grace active in one’s heart (Matt. 5:16; John 6:28; 14:12). They are always the result of salvation and not the means of salvation. Man cannot do any work to earn God’s favor unto salvation (Rom. 4:1- 5; Eph. 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5). Salvation is given by God in grace, and there is no way that it can be earned.

THE PURPOSE OF WORK IS:

God ordained work as the normal routine of living. Every legitimate human task, therefore, is of intrinsic worth, however menial it may seem, and is potentially a means of glorifying God.

• That people should be self-supporting Ge 3:19 See also Ps 128:2; 1Th 4:12
• That people should find self-fulfilment Ecc 2:24 See also Pr 14:23; Ecc 3:22; 5:19
• That people should serve/give to others Eph 4:28 See also Pr 31:15; 1Th 2:9; 1Ti 5:8
• That people should glorify God Col 3:17 See also 1Co 10:31; Eph 6:5-8 pp Col 3:22-24

Surely like all good things the enemy seek to corrupt what God has given as a gift. People get absorbed in their work, they only work and not rest in Christ, we work and have no fun, loosing our playfulness, we become work orientated and task orientated and loose loose our sensitivity for people. Getting the job done becomes more important than people. It is not easy to learn to balance all these priorities and tasks. But the life of the spirit is a life of rhythm, being focussed on HIM, working for Him, obedience to the spirit, rather than obedience to the TO DO list. Daniel made it his duty to pray 3 times per day. Dan 6:10 Cornelius work, and good deeds, and prayers became a remembrance before God. Acts 10:1-3

Your workplace is the only church some people will ever see. Let God open our eyes to see the god-given value of work. We are called to do even greater works than Him Joh 14:10. This is why He has given us His strength to do all things. (Phil 4:13)

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Jan Oosthuizen

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