Hard WorkJon Burgess
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35 NIV
Paul makes it clear that the only way to live out the red letters of Jesus is through hard work. The blessing that comes with giving doesn't come easy. His hard work was in every area of his life. From leadership development, to tent making, to message preparation and communication, to praying, to meeting the needs of those in the community none of this came easy. What a powerful model of leadership Paul provided for the Ephesian Elders. The harvest doesn't get handed to you. He prayed like it depended on God, but worked like it depended on him.
This work ethic Paul modeled seems to be a rare commodity these days. We often want the benefits of hard work without expending the time and energy of hard work. I'm so thankful my Pop taught me the value of a job well done. Working in his landscaping business as teenager I would often look for shortcuts or loopholes or quick fixes to problems so I get done earlier and go hang out with my friends. Inevitably Pop would spot those shortcuts and call me back to that spot in the yard, or that joint in the sprinkler system, or that hole for the tree and tell me to do it right. He would patiently explain why it needed to be done right and I would impatiently whine that it was too hard to do. He would take time to show me how to do it, but would never do it for me. I hated it then, but I'm so thankful for it now. There's no such thing as a lazy Christianity. Pastor Wayne says often, "the harvest is ripe but it won't self-reap. However, it will self-destruct if not reaped. Reaping the harvest takes hard work. Sweat equity in the kingdom of God should not be considered unspiritual. Paul makes it clear that we are setting an example to those around us by how hard we work in both the prayer and the practical, the natural and the supernatural. Then and only then will receive the blessing Jesus was talking about!
Lord, it's Monday morning. I'm tired. The last thing I want to think about is working harder. But, I hear Your heartbeat for the harvest and it compels me to examine the use of my time during the work week. In Your Kingdom I don't graduate from serving, but I graduate to serving. Let me use the time I've been given for Your Glory. No short cuts, no loop holes, no quick fixes, just good honest hard work in prayer, with people, in planning, and with You!