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August 21, 2007 / beidson

Hard Work as the Display of Christ’s Worth

hardwork.jpgA believing friend of mine who owns a few small businesses told me recently that he hopes to retire by age 30.  My initial reaction was, “Why?”

What would a man do for the rest of his life if he retired by age 30?  I guess it depends on what you mean by “retire.”  If he means that he dreams of the day when his investments are accruing enough profit to support his family, so much so that he can stay in bed as late as he wants and fill his time with leisure and recreation . . . if this is what he means, then he misunderstands the stewardship of the gospel.  Profits do not relieve a man of his repsonsibility to work.  Seeking to escape work is seeking to escape biblical manhood (and womanhood).

Nowhere in Scripture are we permitted to bask in the pleasures of profit for pleasure’s sake.  Scripture speaks of life as a stewardship given to us by God, which ought to be lived at every moment for the glory of God.  This is not to say that we ought never enjoy recreation and leisure, but that we should not seek after these things as if they are the most valuable things we could have or do.

As for the goal of our pursuits, Scripture presents Jesus Christ as the supremely desirable object of our affections.  And as for recreation and leisure, they should fit within the context of the gospel of Jesus Christ, with a view to the Last Day, when we will stand before him and give an account of our seconds on earth.  Our time off from work is time considered by King Jesus.

Hard work is the display of the value of knowing and loving and hoping in Jesus Christ.  By working hard, we prove by our lifestyle that God is more valueable than leisure.  We prove that the curse still holds many people captive, and that there is work to be done, even behind the grill of McDonald’s.  We prove that we truly believe that our life is not our own, that is belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, and should be spent for his sake.  There is no way that a life lived for leisure can prove this.  It only displays the value of living for one’s self.

One reason I ought not surf the web at work is because my boss does not pay me to surf the web–he pays me to work.  How should I, as a follower of Christ, use my employer’s money?  The reason I ought to limit video gaming is because time is precious, and a plastic box cannot give back to me what I give to it.  That time is lost forever, and therefore, ought to be spent wisely and carefully.  The reason I ought to work as long as I am physically and mentally capable is because Jesus Christ will return soon, and my life will be laid bare before him.

So if I ever do “retire” it will not be for leisure and recreation.  There will always be work that needs to be done for the sake of the gospel.  Wherever we work, and whatever kind of work we do–at home or out of the home–we ought to work hard and prove by our lives that Jesus is more precious than relaxation.  Hard work keeps us from laziness, which keeps us from Christ.  As long as Christ continues his work in us (Philippians 1:6), we must continue to work for him.

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