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You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. Exodus 20:9-10 (NLT)

During the ‘Good Ole’ Days’ Sundays were different! Shopping wasn’t an option because no stores were open. Even the best little boys and girls kept Sunday clothes on all day because that was proper. At least 50% of the people weren’t home for a good part of the afternoon because after church they were at someone else’s house for dinner and fellowship.

Stringent and legalistic as the rules were in those days, they had nothing on the original ‘Sabbath Day’ rules handed down to the Israelites. Work of any sort was forbidden. If you were caught working you were stoned first, then the action was investigated. Sabbath worship wasn’t an option, it was a requirement.

Then Jesus came along and taught us a valuable lesson regarding the Sabbath. He taught us that the Sabbath was made for men; men were not made for the Sabbath. Quite often Jesus got himself in trouble for what he did on the Sabbath. He did terrible things like healing people and taking away their pain. It’s interesting to note that most of these healings took place around the temple or synagogue. Why? Because Jesus was on his way to Church when an opportunity arose and he met it. Never let yourself forget, Jesus honored the Sabbath in his heart by doing Kingdom work with his hands.

Jesus changed the focus of the ‘Sabbath’ from duty to permission. There are many different views of when the Sabbath is for the Christ-follower, or if it should be followed or how it should be followed. But many of those arguments and viewpoints miss the intent of what God told us way back on the mountain.

Mankind was made for work. Some of us work with our hands, some with our heads. Some work to build things, some work to build lives. Some work to heal, some work to teach. Some work to serve, some work to provide. Work is a privilege for each of us and God has gifted us to work for his Kingdom and all work is Kingdom work for the believer.

But God’s original command was two fold. Not only are we given the privilege and giftedness to work, we are given permission to rest and reflect on all God has given us. Jesus came to teach us that the ‘rules’ of the Sabbath had been replaced with permission to worship God whenever and however we can.

The human body was made for work. The human soul was made for worship. Six days (days or your choosing) are to be set aside to work, but you have permission to set aside one day (at the least) for your soul to be refreshed and to reflect on what God is doing and calling you to do.

Do all to the Glory of God. Worship him in your work. Worship him in your play. Worship him in your rest. But take one day to let your soul catch up and focus on what God is doing in your life. He’s given you permission to do that.

PRAYER: Lord God I thank you for all you have done for me. I praise you for my giftedness and my ability to do Kingdom work for you. When my work becomes stress-filled help me remember it’s all for your glory. Thank you for the permission you gave us to take time for our souls to rest and reflect on your goodness. Amen.

But Jesus said, “My Father has never stopped working, and that is why I keep on working.” John 5:17 (CEV)

The story of Mary and Martha is a great study in work ethics. Martha was the typical ‘type A’ personality. When there was work to be done, she found it…and in her eyes there was always work to be done.

Mary on the other hand was a ‘type B’. I’m not saying she didn’t see the importance of work. She agreed with Martha in one respect. There would always be something to do. But since work would always be there, there was no urgency to get it done. Look at the other things in life. Take time to smell the roses. Life is too short…you get the picture.

So, it’s no surprise that when Jesus stopped for a visit Martha sprang into action making sure everything was just right while Mary took some time to sit at the master’s feet. When Martha confronted the issue Jesus gently reminded her that while work was important, the more important things were to be about kingdom work and with kingdom work there is no calendar.

Jesus had a tendency to view Kingdom work a little differently than the establishment in that regard. Take for example the day he became a missing person in the family entourage home fromJerusalem. After being missing for three days Mary and Joseph found him talking to the Pharisees in the temple. When she questioned him, his response was to remind her that he needed to be about his Father’s business. Kingdom business knew no calendar or age requirements.

Throughout Jesus’ ministry he had a penchant for doing the work of the kingdom and never once do we read that Jesus told some poor sick person to see him after the Sabbath! When he saw a need, he met it.

The lesson for all of us in this isn’t that Kingdom work is the ONLY important work. Kingdom work should be a part of our everyday work existence. You are a plumber? Do it for the Kingdom. A greeter at the local discount store? Do it for the Kingdom! It doesn’t matter where you are, what you are doing or what day the calendar says.

Never stop working for the Kingdom because the King has never stopped working for you. Every day the sun rises and sets. Every day the world spins on its axis. Every day you receive the strength and grace and mercy for another day of work.

PRAYER: Father I thank you for the work you have given me to do. There are days when it’s tedious. There are days when office politics come close to driving me insane. Help me to remember that the work I do is for your Kingdom. Thank you that you never stop working on my behalf. Amen

But since I was worse than anyone else, God had mercy on me and let me be an example of the endless patience of Christ Jesus. He did this so that others would put their faith in Christ and have eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:16 (CEV)

To the Judge your value is determined by your ability to follow the rules. To the educator your value is determined by your grades and your performance in the classroom. To your spouse your value may be determined by your ability to perform according to their expectations. To your friends your value could be determined by your willingness to go along with their crowd. To the businessman determines your value by the amount of profit you generate. Bottom line is the motivator. The politician determines your value by the strength of your vote and the depth of your pocket. The religious zealot determines your worthiness for the heavenly gates by the number of ‘spiritual hoops’ you need to jump through.

With all these demands on us, it’s no wonder that we find ourselves asking the question ‘Am I good enough?’ We look around and see other people who seem to have arrived and wonder what is wrong with us. We try and fail. We pick ourselves up and try again…and fail again. Sometimes we decide it’s easier just to give up. We are misunderstood, abandoned by lovers, used by friends. Finances don’t work out and our health gives out.

In the midst of the gloom and doom, when we find ourselves in the midst of despair and disappointment; when the anger and bitterness and frustration seem to be too much it’s important to remember that our Heavenly Father, the creator-God of the universe tells us a different story. While others look at our failure and dismiss us, God looks at our failure and uses us.

Our best work for the kingdom comes because we have failed and been forgiven; because we are weak in ourselves but strong in our faith; because we have used our own shortcomings to prove to those around us that while the world may say you won’t amount to anything, in God’s eyes you are his everything.

Don’t listen to the lies of those around you. It’s your inability to get things right that gives God an opportunity to use you in mighty ways.

PRAYER: Father God, I’ve been living far too long under the scrutiny and judgment of the world around me. I’ve believed the lies that my worth comes from my ability and not my faith in you. Thank you that in Jesus, no matter what, I have great value. Empower me with your Spirit to live according to the value you’ve placed in me to do your work. In Jesus name, Amen.

For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:9

I had an uncle who lived the American Dream. After the sixth grade school seemed meaningless to him so he quit school to help on the family farm. When he was about 16 he headed west from the northern Minnesota farm he’d called home all his life. Back in that day, such an event wasn’t unheard of. He landed in Seattle and took work at a ship building yard. Slowly, over the years his hard work and leadership abilities were noticed. When he passed away at the age of 70 he was owner of that shipyard and a very wealthy man!

That’s the stuff we always dream of. We want to grow wealthy. We want to be rich. We want to attain to the top level of our area of expertise. While there is nothing at all wrong with wanting to succeed in life, our view of success: [richer, more powerful, and higher social standing] isn’t in God’s business plan.

When the Apostle Paul writes his letter to the Corinthians he is writing to a group of people who’d gotten caught up in the deadly game of comparison. Some followed this man. Others followed that man. They began compartmentalizing and grading the work of each person in the church. They weren’t comparing apples and oranges. They were making a decision about which apple was the biggest and best. Paul tells them, basically, to knock it off! In God’s kingdom business as usual isn’t business as usual.

Whether you are a ditch digger or pastor; whether you are a recovering addict or squeaky clean; whether you are a financial planning guru or deep in credit card debt; regardless of your past or where you are now in life, in God’s workplace you never work alone.

In God’s workplace there is: no seniority or tenure; no ‘right hand man’; no organizational chart or chain of command; no ‘working your way up the success ladder; no bonuses (in life, but the retirement benefits are out of this world); no ‘overtime’ and no performance reviews or quotas to reach.

Paul says we are co-workers with God. He’s not the boss. He’s the kind of guy who works right alongside you. And if God is our co-worker then who can be above us in importance?

Jesus said, “I don’t call you slaves. I call you friends. Friends let you vent. Friends don’t order you around or demand that you follow them. They are there to help, to comfort, to encourage and to guide when you need them the most. That’s the kind of God we have a relationship with. A God that wants to come along side you no matter where you are on the journey. That’s grace. That’s love. That’s our God!

PRAYER: Father God. Once again you have amazed me with your love for me. Why would the Creator God of the universe choose to be a co-worker with me? It can only be due to grace. Thank you for loving me so much. In Jesus name, Amen.

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September 2022
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