SHORT BIBLE LESSON - SACRED LABOR
Blessings. Col. 1:29 says, "And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me." For what do you labor? Is it to get a better car, more money, a wonderful family? These things are fine and there is nothing wrong with them. But, Jesus should be the center of your life, your prayer life, your work, your school, your family, etc, and out of this focus should your labor be directed as you seek to labor for the glory of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Labor is a godly blessing. It is a reality in this fallen world just as it was a reality in the Garden of Eden before the fall; God told Adam to take care of the Garden giving Adam a purpose in his labor. Therefore, labor is a God-ordained blessing. We are all familiar with having to labor to feed ourselves and our families. This is good and it glorifies God to be a productive member of society. But, our labor is not only in the secular. As Christians, it is in the sacred as well. Our sacred labor is vitally important, more important, than the secular labor because in the sacred the battle for souls is fought.
Sacred labor involves prayer, petition, intercession, ministering, compassion, tithing, giving offerings, sacrifice, and so much more. Let's quickly review these. Sacred labor is prayerful in that it labors before the Lord in petition and intercession in asking the Lord for direction, deliverance, and salvation for those that the Lord would put upon your heart to pray for. Sacred labor is ministering in that it is other-centered. There are so many who need to be loved, helped, and uplifted. Do you know of anyone in need? Do what you can for those you can help -- even if it means you must sacrifice something. Sacred labor is full of compassion. It sees the needs of others and feels for them, senses their hurt and need, but it doesn't stop there. For true compassion should motivate us to do something, otherwise, it is simply empty feeling. Sacred labor involves tithing because the reality of this world is that money is needed. God has ordained the order and blessing of money which makes so many things possible. God gives it to us to use for His glory. If you can tithe, then tithe and support your local church. GIVE! Sacred labor is also the giving of offerings. These are above and beyond the tithe. The tithe is for your local church. The offerings are for other people, other ministries, other needs that you see. If it makes you cringe to give even more than a tithe, then quickly look around your house and see if you have enough possessions to be satisfied. Then look outward to the world and see where people are dying, where the gospel needs to go forth, where needs exist. Look further into eternity and see what treasures you want stored there. Then, look back at your possessions. For what are you laboring?
Finally in this small list of items, sacrifice is also a sacred labor before the Lord because it is in the trust of sacrifice that you approach the heart of God. I say "trust of sacrifice" because to sacrifice something means that you are trusting God to provide where your sacrifice has deprived you. As Jesus trusted the Father to resurrect Him in His sacrifice, so too must you trust the Lord to bring to you your needs as you sacrifice for others. This is the nature of true love because true love is other centered: "For God so loved the world, He GAVE His only begotten Son..." (John 3:16).
Do not be caught up in the comfort and security of this world so that you constantly seek to provide yourself with one more little toy, one more little pleasure while the opportunities of sacred labor go unfulfilled around you. Stand on the word of God, by faith, and reach out to others. Do what you can to further God's kingdom. Pray, petition, intercede, minister, show compassion, tithe, give offerings, make sacrifices, and do whatever else the Lord would call you to do in the service of the Kingdom of God.
Eternity is where our treasures should be stored and our eyes, and goals, and hopes should be focused. On that distant day when we bow before the Lord, we will all want to hear His words pronounced upon us, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master," (Matt. 25:21).
I've finally received back the first prints of the new notebooks. I only have 1100 pages to go through and edit, paginate, etc. It is a lot of work, but by God's grace, I'll get through it.
I've been working on a new section on CARM dealing with Open Theism which is the teaching that God does not know all things, that people's free wills are paramount in God's concern, and that the very nature of the future is that it is non-existent and that God cannot know it. This is a dangerous teaching. Look for the new section in a week or two on CARM.
On June 22, 2003, this Sunday, I will be debating a Muslim on the doctrine of the Trinity at www.paltalk.com. It will be in the Christianity section with a room name of "God in Islam and Christianity" 3 PM, CA time. Check out http://www.carm.org/more/events.htm periodically for updated information.
If you want to volunteer to help CARM out you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out our help wanted page at http://www.carm.org/index/helpwanted.htm. If you have an idea that isn't listed, please let us know anyway. Diane will get back to you.
VERSE OF THE WEEK.
"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus," (NASB).
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Matt Slick, your missionary to the Internet.
Equipping the church to defend the faith in a post modern world.