Work is Worship
The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
Work Is Worship
A pastor attended a community prayer breakfast and sat at a table with a group of men he didn’t know. In the course of their conversation, the subject of retirement came up. The man sitting next to the pastor, who appeared to be in his early fifties, was excited by the prospect. He talked about how much he was looking forward to the end of his career and related a conversation he had with his wife that morning.
“My wife asked, ‘What are you going to do when you retire?’ I told her, ‘I’m going to sit on the couch and watch TV all day every day.’”
The table was silent, but the pastor couldn’t keep quiet any longer. “If you do that,” he said, “you’ll be dead in a year.”
The man looked at the pastor, wide-eyed, and asked why.
The pastor explained, “If the lack of purpose in your life doesn’t kill you first, your wife will.”
In the third chapter of Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonian Christians he finds it important to bring up a problem that seemed to be plaguing the Christian community there. Apparently there were folks who were not pulling their share of the load. Some were lazy and unwilling to work to take care of themselves and their own families. Some scholars believe that it was the rumors Paul had to dispel concerning the immediacy of the Second Coming of Jesus that had contributed to a thought that, “if Jesus may come tomorrow, why work at a job.” Such thoughts were silly, because we do not know when he will come and besides, there are places in Scripture that tell us when we work we should work as to the Lord, not for our bosses. (See Colossians 3:23, Ephesians 6:7, 1 Timothy 6:1-2)
It is likely that, with the church under great persecution, they were having to live communally, similarly to the Jerusalem church in the early chapters of Acts. As a result, some were not pulling their weight and leaning on everyone else to take care of them.
Paul became quite blunt in his comments when he wrote, “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule:
“The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
We live in a culture where many work too much and many hardly work at all. It is understandable that those who can work should help those who cannot, but everyone should be “willing” to do as much as they can. I have a pastor friend, who is highly educated and an excellent speaker. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, not of his own making, he found himself out of a ministry. For the sake of his family, he is working as a dishwasher in restaurant. This is way below his educational and vocational capabilities, but not below his ego. I have tremendous respect for him because he is doing what he has to do to support his family and to enjoy the knowledge that he is working for his living as to the Lord.
For some, “work” is a four letter word to be avoided at all cost. To God, it is a requirement and a form of worship. Do you worship God through your work?
This Sunday we will bring the final message of our series based on Acts 17:1-9 and both letters to the Thessalonians with a message titled, “World Shakers are Responsible, based on 2 Thessalonians 3:6-14. I look forward to sharing this exciting, God honoring, sermon to the church family and anyone else who desires to attend.
Working for Jesus,