LEARNING TO WORK

“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

Do you remember your first “paying job?” While I began mowing some lawns, my first real job was when I was ready for 9th grade…and I needed tuition to attend the George Washington junior high in New Castle, Pennsylvania. (It was out of my school zone, hence the tuition.) And the job was on the campus of Geneva College washing dorm room walls where dust and dirt from the steel mills had turned the cream colored walls to gray. The work was often hard. But I earned my tuition!

When I was later a student at Geneva College, I joined Roy Blackwood, Willard Mc-Millan, and Don McCracken one summer working as laborers for Midland Steel Co. That, too, had it’s tough times, especially shoveling out flu dust under the open hearth furnaces. It was so hot, we wore wooden clogs on our shoes and worked three minutes in and five minutes out, cooling our respirators and our bodies.

Learning the business of work is an important discipline, according to Paul the apostles’ counsel above. And it’s not necessarily a “heavy” task that makes the challenge. It can be trying to stay awake on the 12 p.m. to 4 a.m. watch in the military or in the hospital. No, there are various aspects of learning what it means to work, including attitude, as Paul says “heartily.”

But I’m most caught up with that last expression: “It is the Lord Christ Whom you serve.” I just recently read of some survey taken across the US in reference to religious commitments. This poll reported that only 50% make any reference to God. Even those who had abandoned church had indicated their real abandonment of God Himself. Whether this is true or not, we shouldn’t be too struck. After all, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” But it’s the proportion that struck the pollsters. Are you surprised?

All of which indicates that even Christians need to learn what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I knew a man who painted houses. He was a Christian. He said he could watch a man paint the side of a house and tell whether or not he was a disciple of Jesus. His point: a commitment to Christ – a serious allegiance to the Son of God – will show in a man’s work. Do you agree with him? It makes us ask, “Does my work flesh out I’m a Christian?” Can you see why serious Christians meet the Lord in the word and prayer to begin the day? The challenge is on! Think about it.

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Taken from MAN TO MAN, the monthly blog of Ken G. Smith, retired Presbyterian pastor and discipler of men. You can also read about Ken in Rosaria Butterfield’s THOUGHTS OF AN UNLIKELY CONVERT. Ken is the pastor mentioned in the book who led her to the Savior!

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