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It's Good to Work
By Mike Stickler
16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute Him.
17 In His defense, Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working.”
Have you ever stopped to think that Jesus was working during His ministry on earth? He said as much. In context of John 5, Jesus heals a man and subsequently, this man went and told the Jewish leaders that Jesus had made him well. The leaders accused Jesus of working on the Sabbath. And to my astonishment, Jesus agreed with them(!). He didn’t deflect the accusation. He didn’t hyper spiritualize it by saying, “I performed a healing.” There’s no mention that Jesus received compensation from this healing. He just agreed with the accusation.
He worked ... but He trusted the Father to provide.
If we would separate our work from our provision, life would be easier for each of us, too.
All too often we attribute our provision to our employer, our wise savings ability, the effectiveness of our business, or the support of individuals or institutions. How many of us in our lifetime have had different jobs or businesses? How many were working; but, are now retired and draw income from a different source from our early years? But does our provision actually come from those entities? Or does our provision come from God?
Don’t get me wrong, here: Work is good. It’s honorable. It’s expected in proper Christian stewardship. Yet sometimes we lock our work so tightly to our provision that we don’t actually see what God wants us to do.
Years ago I knew a youth pastor who was bright and talented, with such a wonderful future in front of him. Like most in ministry, he was bi-vocational. He spent most of his time as a youth pastor, making a difference in kids’ lives for the sake of the Gospel. Yet he worked a few nights a week at a steak house as a server where he made a fairly decent living. One evening, a local businessman had come in to the restaurant. He was so impressed by this young man that on the spot he offered him a job. The job paid well but would take him away from the kids he loved and the significant impact he was making in their lives and in the community.
After praying about it, he took this job. The allure of relief from financial pressure was too great.
As you can imagine, the job became a millstone around his neck. Over time he hated the job and what he was doing. He had more perceived comfort while doing this job but little else. The good news is that he repented, went back to school, became a high school teacher and now again serves the youth of his community through his work.
I believe we all to often think of work as what we do to bring an income. The other things that have more of an eternal impact are often further down the priority list. This results in giving our eternal best the leftovers of our time and resources.
But with this connection, we have it all wrong! We work, because that is what we are designed to do. We are provided for, because that is what our Creator does.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
If you had all the money you needed to keep your existing lifestyle, meet obligations, raise your children, etc., would you be doing the same job you’re doing today? Would you have the same employer, the business you currently have? Is this really what the Lord would have you do? Write down your answers and thoughts here.
P.S.: If the answer is “no,” go speak with your pastor about how to reprioritize this area of your life. Caution: Go slow and be deliberate.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.