Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-11 (day six)
“…so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.” Titus 2:10
The Gospel changes both how we think about work and how we do work. Certainly God provides us good work as a means to meet our basic needs, but work also transcends a paycheck. The reality is that God uses our work to both sustain his creation and restore it. That is the work itself is more than a platform or place for ministry, but is a means through which God holds all things together and brings creation back in order. So, truthfully the Gospel restores work into its proper place, as a manifestation of being made in the image of God.
This reclaimed reality changes how we work. We begin to realize that work, either glamorous or mundane, serves God’s purposes; both farmers and lawyers are apart of God’s sustaining work in society. So work hard and with excellence, because you are indeed serving unto the Lord.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-11 (day five) Let me start by asking a couple of questions. Where to do you go to worship? Are there several answers you could give that are honest and truthful? I have friends say, “I can worship God anywhere”. But, do they? There is significant and meaningful value in gathering with believers for Worship and Bible Study. (Hebrews 10) Can we worship at other times and places apart from Sundays in a sanctuary or church meeting space? Can we worship in the workplace? Can worship really happen there? Paul seems to think the answer is “Yes”(Colossians 3:23). Worship is likely to happen when we labor with passion and faithfulness as employees (“servants be obedient”). Worship also can occur as we manage and lead others (“masters do the same thing”) with compassion, integrity, conviction, and honesty. Jesus has given us examples that glorify God both as servants and masters.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-11 (day four) In each of these letters, Paul drives home the same point…our lives relate directly to God rather than man. In a slave relationship…or, in today’s world, an employer relationship…we are not to resent or argue or deceive our authority. We are reminded that our work is unto the Lord, not to man. We can escape the notice or knowledge of our employer, but God sees our every action and knows our heart and intentions. We get away with nothing. Paul tells us in the Titus passage that when we respond properly to our employers (masters), we adorn the doctrine of God. ‘Adorn’ means to make more pleasing; beautify, embellish, enhance, enrich, and grace. We add glory to God when we serve Him over our petty, worldly desires and passions. Our goals need to change…we should not be seeking what is best for ourselves, we should be seeking to adorn the doctrine of God. Give glory to God by rightly serving your authority!
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-11 (day three)
“Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.”
Those in positions of power must wield it justly, and those in stations of weakness must leave room for God’s retribution. In Paul’s thinking this balance is necessary to preserve in this fallen world a social order that allows people to flourish. But in our fallenness we are unbalanced. So people in power begin to practice oppression, and people in weakness get exploited by those who would throw off all traces of authority. The powerful attempt to become God, and the weak forget God’s vengeance. In the resulting chaos, only the church can teach this world to live together in a social order that brings peace and plenty. Let’s get to work.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-11 (day two)
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:23-24
“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” Jim Elliot
This verse from Paul’s letter to the Colossians and the life and example of Jim Elliot have long given me purpose. Years before I felt, or more accurately understood, God’s call for me to go into ministry, I had this overwhelming conviction that what I did mattered for the kingdom. This philosophy played out mostly in my classroom. God wanted me to be a good teacher, to love kids, to invest myself into others. This was kingdom building. I have rarely know a time when I wasn’t “all in” to whatever I was into. If God is brought you to it, and will surely bring you through it, then roll up your sleeves and get after it.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-11 (day one)
Christianity declares that faith and works are opposite approaches to salvation. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. . .it is a gift of God; not of works, lest any may should boast.”–Ephesians 2:8-9. “No one will be declared righteous. . . by the works of the law”–Romans 3:20. Given this gospel truth, a common mistake is to suggest that our faith is critical or negative toward work itself (industry, effort, even ambition) It isn’t! “I labored even more than all of them”, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15 (and without a hint of caution that he might, by saying so, drift back into legalism). “Faith without works is dead” echoes James 2. “Work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men.” says Colossians 3. One assignment common to every Christian is that we become steady, hard, dependable, honest, and effective WORKERS! We owe it to Christ because we trust Him.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 20:13-17, Leviticus 19:16-18, Zechariah 7:8-10, Matthew 5:13-16 (day seven)
Jesus was a master teacher. He knew the power of symbols. Pictures that linger in the mind. Comparisons between the material world and the spiritual. One day (and not just any day, but the “Sermon on the Mount” day, the Lord’s “Gettysburg address” day) Jesus said that our relationship to culture is like salt. Salt permeates meat in order to preserve it. Salt flavors food to make it enjoyable. Salt was an early antiseptic. In the same way, Christians oppose corruption and add flavor and prevent the spread of disease (sin) in the world by living and speaking an alternative path of life. Abraham–“if ten righteous men can be found in the city, will you spare it? God–“If ten can be found, I will not destroy it.” (Genesis 18:16-33) The best thing that you can do for your neighbor is to live a holy life. When I say “neighbor”, you say “salt”!
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 20:13-17; Leviticus 19:16-18; Zechariah 7:8-10; Matthew 5:13-16 (day six)
“And who is my neighbor?” he asked (Luke 10:29). That is a wonderful and honest question. It was honest because the lawyer asking Jesus wanted to know the limits of the second greatest commandment; surely it doesn’t mean for us to love everyone. It was a wonderful question because Jesus’ answer serves as a great reminder for us as to whom we are called to love in every day life.
Jesus uses a simple parable to say that even the least likely person is your neighbor. The one on the opposite side of the road. The one with opposing views. The one no one else will love. The bloodied. The violated. The poor. The ones we normally would try to avoid when we are too busy, or because their need is too great. The least likely person is our neighbor. Will we love our neighbor? Will we shine our light to our neighbor? I am willing to repent of lovelessness, and eager to learn how to love as I ought.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 20:13-17; Leviticus 19:16-18; Zechariah 7:8-10; Matthew 5:13-16 (day four)
From the very beginning of the nation, God had given instructions to Israel on how to treat their neighbors. They were not to covet any of their possessions, they were not to take advantage of their weaknesses, and they were not to share in their sin. For generations, Israel did not obey God. They had not loved their fellow countryman and had taken every advantage of their neighbors for greed and self-gain. At the time of Zechariah, God was pronouncing judgment on His people. His command to “Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another “…had gone unheeded. Their hearts were like flint and they would not hear the law. We often believe we can ‘get away with disobedience’. We ignore God’s commands or seek to reinterpret His truth to suit our needs. There will be a day of judgment though for certain. Ask God to search your heart and restore your relationship with Him.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 20:13-17; Leviticus 19:16-18; Zechariah 7:8-10; Matthew 5:13-16 (day three)
“I am the Lord.” If God is in fact the Lord, then you are not. That’s more than an exercise in basic logic. It’s a statement of your place in this universe under God. Paul reveals that we will each stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Jesus says that time of standing before the Lord will take into account the way that we have lived with one another: “What you have done to the least of these, you have done to me.” Therefore, each moment that we encounter our neighbor is a moment that we encounter the Lord. It is a moment in which he reminds us: I am the Lord. If you’re not ready to stand before your neighbor, you won’t be ready to stand before God.