There's no milk without manure!
“Where no oxen are, the manger is clean,
but much revenue comes by the strength of the ox.”
I have scribbled in the margin of my Bible next to that verse, “Sometimes you’ve got to make a mess to get things done.” As a man who likes a clean shop and every tool in its place and wiped clean of grease, I knew that there were times during the busy seasons where that just wasn’t going to be the case and that’s fine. The shop floor would have to get dirty and tools would have to be scattered around the shop benches, but there’s no profit without the mess.
Most of us don’t enjoy the maintenance work on vehicles, but we’d rather drive than walk! We don’t like vet bills or buying bags of food for the animals, but we enjoy the company of our pets that bring life and joy to our homes. We don’t like the upkeep required on our homes, but we sure enjoy a warm and safe place to live. Kids seem to make everything in the house sticky, their toys clutter the house, their diapers fill the trash cans, but they become the pride and joy of your life. Having a spouse requires us to give up some of our own wants or desires, but it sure is wonderful to have a companion to go through life with. It’s hard to get to church on time some Sunday mornings, but the fellowship in the Word is so good.
Remember that when it comes to hard work and discipline: good things come with a cost. That’s one of the reasons God created work in the first place. He created it for us to find a sense of purpose, accomplishment and reward in. In fact, if you study Genesis 2:15, you’ll see that we were created to work!
“Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden
to cultivate it and keep it.”
Also, we work because God works and we’re made in His image. He worked hard for six days creating the world and is always working (Jn. 5:17). God wants us to enjoy the work of our hands as He does.
Work is a good thing.
We work because God works.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians some firm words, telling some of the unproductive citizens to work and not be lazy, and to bring shame to Christ’s name. He commanded them to keep away from a brother in Christ who was leading an unruly life by not working. Paul himself, by working night and day and not eating anyone’s bread without paying for it, set a good example for them to follow.
“If a man is not willing to work, then he is not to eat either.
For we hear that some of you are leading an undisciplined life,
doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.
Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ
to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.”
2 Thessalonians 3
On the contrary, work is worship when it is done with a heart for God. In whatever we do, we are to do it for the Lord, as serving Him and not men. Our work is part of our calling in life and our intention should be to glorify God (Col. 3:23-24). This puzzles many who just don’t find satisfaction in work. But let me ask you: have you prayerfully asked God what He would have you do with the gifts and talents and interests that He has given you? Have you asked Him to accept your work as worship?
With a right heart before God, work is worship
But what about beyond this life? Many people seem to think that Heaven is going to be one big retirement party where was just sit around on clouds and drink wine and play harps. In fact, I’ve heard people talk as if the idea of work in Heaven or on the New Earth is repulsive and if we get there and find work, we’ll want to leave! On the contrary, I think the Bible makes it clear that we will be serving God uniquely as individuals, as His servants throughout all of eternity. It won’t just be one giant, eternal worship service of singing songs. On the New Earth, the curse will be totally lifted and work will be even more satisfying than ever (Rev. 22:3).
Revelation 22:3 says about the New Heaven and New Earth,
“No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God
and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him.
“None of us can separate our lives into sacred and secular,
worship and work.
We do not cease to worship when we work.
We are called to do all things for the glory of God,
including– perhaps especially – our work."
“Well done, good and faithful servant!
You have been faithful with a few things;
I will put you in charge of many things.
Come and share your master's happiness!
“Be fruitful and multiply.”