Entrusted

Psalm 37: 5 & 7                    God’s Word

Entrust your ways to the Lord. Trust him, and he will act on your behalf. Surrender yourself to the LORD, and wait patiently for him.

This is one of my favorite Bible passages. It is important to me because it speaks to an issue that I constantly must consider. This passage is about the partnership with God. When we partner with Him, then the work load is shared. We have our part and He has His. The key is for us to do our part and to stay out of His part. Therein lies the challenge but also ultimate success.

I believe in working. In fact, I believe in hard work and working smart. Most of all, though, I have learned that neither of those eclipses the number one guideline which is, let God lead. This reminds me of a verse that we should all memorize. It is Proverb 10: 22. The NASB and the King James read essentially the same, “It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.” I think few of us have understood what “He adds no sorrow to it means.” The Hebrew Bible clears this up for us. It reads, “It is the blessing of the Lord which makes rich, and your toil adds nothing to it.” The “sorrow” written of in the other translations is the sorrow from toil. There is no travail in success when the Lord is in it with us. Our “toil” isn’t what will bring success. It is He and His blessing which provide the success for each undertaking. The New International Version reads, “The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it.”

God isn’t against hard work, nor is He against working smart but what He really wants us to learn is to work wisely. That is an entirely different deal. Spiritually appraised people learn to work first in their spirits by connecting with the spirit of wisdom. Here is where patience comes in. The Passion Translation says to “commit everything you do to the Lord.” We are to entrust all our ways, all our plans, dreams and assignments to Him as the first step. Then we surrender ourselves and our projects fully to Him. He may have you working really hard for a time, but it is to be at His direction. Sometimes the thing He will tell you to do is to meditate. Okay, that does not fit into western thinking, but God knows that sometimes that is the best thing to do. And that is the point. We are supposed to surrender our thinking to His ways.

One last thought, none of this works without first seeking the Lord. The whole idea is partnering with Him, tuning into Him and allowing Him to guide you. Your work load is to be managed by the Father. We are supposed to wait patiently for Him but only after we have surrendered ourselves to Him and entrusted Him with our goals. So, this does not mean watching television while we wait upon God. It means seeking Him and meditating on Him and His Word. See, that is your part. Then the answers to all the questions will be presented to you. This waiting is in faith. It is expectantly listening. You are to be co-laborers. That does mean you work but it is at the Father’s direction. He will show you the way when you commit all your plans and hopes to Him.

Excellence

Colossians 3: 23

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.

There is a lot of talk about how the world is falling apart and falling into sin. I sometimes wonder what any specific person has in mind. Well, here is mine. This is part of what I don’t like about the new world we live in, the low value placed on excellence.

Our world is descending into a, “Oh, that’s good enough” mentality. What happened to excellence? What happened to doing everything to the best of your ability. You hear people say of their employment, “They don’t pay me well enough to do that.” There is a “just get by” attitude. This attitude is not limited to employees though. Companies, large and small, evidence a lack luster approach.

As much as it seems an ever increasing problem, it is not a new one. Paul addressed it two thousand years ago. Christians shouldn’t do things half-way well. Paul said that in everything we do, especially our work, do it as if we work for Jesus because, of course, we do. Everything in our lives is of, by and for him. Therefore, anywhere we dispense a half-hearted effort, we minimize his greatness within us.

This is not to say you can’t have a day off. Not at all. The point is do what you do with excellence. Do not be a sluggard or turn in sloppy work in any aspect of life. Show up, show up on time, show up on time fully prepared. Imagine your shirt says, “I work for Jesus.” Also, encourage others to show excellence in everything they do and expect top performance and customer service from the companies you do business with. Expect excellence in church, at work, and in everything. Give your best and expect it from others. Give people a reason to say that Christians are people of excellence.

Divinely Employed

Ephesians 6: 7 – 8

With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.

Not everyone has a pleasant job situation and even when you do, there is always some task you prefer not doing. God has made a way for us to endure the unpleasant tasks in our lives. Do your work as if you are doing it for the Lord. As we read through the rest of the verse we see that we actually are doing everything we do for the Lord. He is the rewarder of all we do. I also like to think of doing it with Him or Him with me. You see, every part of everyday can become part of your time with the Lord. You can move through your day with Him following along with you all day long. That is a good way to live.

God sees everything you do. That can either be good news or bad news, I suppose, but I take comfort in His being with me in everything. When you develop a consciousness of His being a part of everything you do, then you automatically want to do it to the best of your ability so that He may be proud of you. We should never do shoddy work of any sort. We should always provide excellence in what we do. Disregard from now on whether you like your boss or not. Disregard your feelings about the sufficiency of your pay check. The real consideration is, will your heavenly Father be pleased with what you have produced? If the answer is, “Yes,” then it is up to Him to pay you for good work.

Toil

Ecclesiastes 2: 26

For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God’s sight.

We were never meant to live off of the sweat of our brow. We are supposed to live through the gifts of wisdom, knowledge and joy from the Lord, our God. Toil is for the sinner. Wow! That is an amazing and powerful statement. He, the sinner, labors in order to give to the one “who is good in God’s sight.”

None of us were good in God’s sight but now, because of Jesus, when God looks at us, He sees the beautiful visage of Jesus. Because Jesus has clothed us with his glory we are “good” in God’s sight. In Jesus we have access to all that God is including His wisdom and knowledge. You are meant to live on the daily influx of God’s wisdom, joy and knowledge. Does this challenge your thinking a little? Our occupations ought to be what we do in order to make the world a better place. Our living, our sustenance is supposed to come from God.

Sinners are supposed to pour into our bosom. We shouldn’t work for a living. We should give for a living. We are not supposed to be so busy that we cannot even call a sick friend or take time with our kids. We are to use our time to commune with God and receive His wisdom, knowledge and joy. Then we can take all that God teaches and shows us to the sinner and help them to be beautiful in God’s eyes. It is hard to accomplish the big tasks of the world, the global issues of humanity when we have to work ten hours a day just to make ends meet. Who shall go to the lost and hurting? We haven’t the time to slow down and hear the voice of God. He is speaking to us today. What is He saying? What does He want us to do with our time? The answer is not that He wants us to work ourselves to death. He wants us to position ourselves to receive His wisdom, His knowledge and His joy. Then we take what He gives us and give it away to those who are toiling, to all who are lost. The sinner lays up treasure for us but we receive treasure from heaven and dispense it to them so that they can rise up from drudgery and despair.

Our God is our provider. He didn’t call us to “make a living.” He called us to Himself. He means to provide and He is, but we have to get a big enough revelation of these important verses if we are going to live the lifestyle God created for us. It is a challenge. We can live as God designed, but we must first allow our minds and hearts to accept His vision of life. This is pretty big, I will grant you but it is also the Word and intent of God. If we can accept it, we could actually begin to live this way. That would be amazing. We could do so much for the Kingdom of God if we were not bogged down in our labors.

Think about today’s verse. Roll it around in your mind. Is God a man that He can lie? Did He mean these words when He gave them? Why did God make sure this verse ended up in the Bible? You are meant for higher things. God is calling. Can you hear Him?

Workplace Woes

Genesis 39: 5

From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph.


The place where you work should be blessed just because you work there. Every organization that you are a part of should be under the blessing just because you are there. Don’t ever minimize that important role you play. You may be wondering why you are where you are or why God does not take you out. Maybe you think you should be in a better job or that another company might appreciate you more. Maybe you are even in an almost unbearable situation. Don’t worry. Wherever you are, God has your back. It may be that you are the only light in that place or maybe you are not the only light but that if you left the few remaining people like yourself will not have the support they need. Whatever the circumstance, take your eyes off of yourself for a minute and ask God if you are in the right place. If you are, then just serve gladly and faithfully. Remember, Joseph went through some undesirable places but he ended up at the right hand of Pharaoh. You are going to end up at the right hand of God so do what you can to bless others even while in unlovely situations.

Happy Labor Day

Colossians 3: 23 – 24

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.

Happy Labor Day as we celebrate the rewards of joyous labor! What? That is not your perception of labor? Perhaps we all need a fresh approach to labor for by it we serve our Lord. It is a worthy thing for each of us to have something to which we can set our hands. We receive all of our blessing from the Lord without earning it but He certainly does bless all that we set our hands to. “The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand” (Deuteronomy 28: 12). 

Today’s verse reminds us to do our work heartily. What does that mean? I perceive it to mean that we should give our full effort to our labor and to do it with a good attitude knowing that our service is actually unto the Lord Jesus rather than to a boss or corporation. God has given us jobs and for that I believe we should be grateful and every day we should thank Him and apply ourselves as if Jesus were our personal supervisor for in truth he is. We should celebrate with a joyous heart because no matter what our job or occupation it is a means by which we can bless others. Even if you don’t particularly like your job if you really perceived Jesus as your supervisor wouldn’t that change the way you look at your job? Even the most awful job would, perhaps, be sufferable if Jesus was in it with us. And just think, maybe God has you there for some divine, Kingdom reason.

Rejoice and be happy for we have the means by which we can invest our labor. Make every day a work unto the Lord. I think that when we see ourselves offering a gift of our effort and work to the Lord, we will find joy and meaning in even the most mundane tasks. Make this “take Jesus to work” week and enjoy fruitful labor. Be blessed!

Labor to Believe

John 6: 29

Jesus answered and said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

We looked yesterday at entering into the rest of God. We found that the effort we are to expend is in entering into this rest. Today we see Jesus saying that the “works” that so many of us get bound up in are misplaced effort. Jesus said that the work that we are supposed to do is to believe in Jesus whom God has sent. So, are the verses from yesterday and today saying the same thing? Yes, I think so, are at least they are nuances of the same thing.

I so very vividly remember how badly I managed my work when I was practicing law.  I worked myself half to death, literally. I tried to keep God in the frame all day but I was so out of balance that I couldn’t hear Him no matter how He tried to get my attention. Now, I am attempting not to do the same thing again. There is always enough work to do. If you have a work mentality you will find plenty to do but Dad is showing me that He is unwilling for me to go back into that crazy lifestyle. He has even told me that He will not give me more of the ministry tasks He has in mind for me if I cannot keep my life in balance. So this is an interesting season in my life. There is a lot on my plate but Dad will not have me sacrifice my workouts or even my playtime in order to work. There must be balance. So, He is teaching me to labor to enter into His rest, to use my effort to believe in Christ within me who has the power to accomplish all that needs doing. My relationship with the father is much more important to Him than the “work” I do for Him.

Many ministers have lost their way working for the Lord. All of us, regardless of our occupation, must put and keep Jesus first in our lives. Then He will empower us from the inside to do all that we must do. The Holy Spirit is the power of God. We need to learn how to release that power into the world and into our workspace so that we can keep our priorities in line and not burn ourselves out. You can live till 120 years or more but not if you are burning your candle down too low now. I do not advocate laziness, not by any means. I am just learning that God is our strength and He can be the performance engine in us. This is a high challenge but for those who are ready there is a deep well here, a big revelation.

I would love to hear your stories of how you are allowing God to work through you and I am sure that besides myself, others can benefit from your experience. Click on the link below and go to our blog site and tell us how you are allowing this to work in your life.