Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen
At Work in the City
by Erik Momsen
I have often wondered about the nature of work. Some have it, too many do not. When we have it we often complain about it. I love the advert, there are not many to love, that asks us to stop complaining about how long it takes to get to work, "After all it is work".
Work is a mixed blessing. As some say "You can’t live with it and you can’t live without it". The blessing in it is that it was God’s idea. He gave Adam a job.
God blessed them: "Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth." (Genesis 1:28)
The curse of it came as a result of sin. As sin increases in us and in the world so will the curse upon our work. God told man,
"Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree That I commanded you not to eat from, 'Don't eat from this tree,' The very ground is cursed because of you; getting food from the ground will be as painful as having babies is for your wife; you'll be working in pain all your life long. The ground will sprout thorns and weeds, you'll get your food the hard way, planting and tilling and harvesting, 19 sweating in the fields from dawn to dusk, until you return to that ground yourself, dead and buried; you started out as dirt, you'll end up dirt." (Genesis 3:17-18)
My first reaction to this passage is that I don’t want to be on the wrong side of this great awesome God. The second things is that there must be some way around this curse. The fact is that there is a way to fight the curse of sin, death and destruction. The answer is the cross of Jesus that not only takes away sin of the heart but also “lets the Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”. I am not saying that we will have a perfect world but it could be a great deal better if we take the work of Jesus out of the pews and put it into the streets.
JESUS AT WORK
We often forget that Jesus was a carpenter most of His life and only spent three years as a preacher. I'd bet He’d say that the last three were tougher. He haggled to get good prices for materials and bit his tongue when customers accused him of overcharging. He worked hard building all kinds of things from tables to boats and houses.
Most of His lessons were taught not about church life but about street life. Parables about harvests, fishing, bread and wine making and woman and their money.
Faith has to be measured against a real world. The disciples were no different. Most of the early disciples were fishermen but also tax collectors and politicians. They even had a lawyer called Paul. The new testament has a list of over 75, stay in one place, people who worked and lived and supported the apostolic work of Paul and the others. Relatively few left their work to preach but they knew the work of preaching was vital so they supported it with their own work.
"Not that I'm looking for handouts, but I do want you to experience the blessing that issues from generosity. And now I have it all--and keep getting more! The gifts you sent with Epaphroditus were more than enough, like a sweet-smelling sacrifice roasting on the altar, filling the air with fragrance, pleasing God no end." Philippians 4:17-18
There a two possible result of not understanding that our faith must equip us for the streets. Some just survive the outside world thinking it the enemy, withdrawing from it’s needs and refusing to rebuild it into the kingdom of God.
Others live double lives. One set of rules and thinking for the church and another for the business world. One of the most disturbing things I have ever heard was from a dear Christian friend. "Business is business and the church is the church". He had not been taught that the values of the kingdom were meant for the streets.
THE MEAT IS ON THE STREET (John Wimber)
The vast majority of believers have and always will hammer out a faith in the streets, homes and work places of our cities. The answer, for the overwhelming majority, it not the desert, seminary or monastery.
1) God has placed you were you are to be salt and light. Some of God’s best people He placed in terrible places so He could change the world. Joseph went from the lap of his daddy to a pit, to the prisons of Egypt so he could control the economy of the ancient world
2) Wherever you are you are to carry the fragrance of Christ. Don't stink up the place!
"In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. 15 Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation--an aroma redolent with life." 2 Corinthians 2:14
3) Do any job as long as it does not lead people into sin. You are not too good for work!
"What should we do then?" the crowd asked. John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same." Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?" "Don't collect any more than you are required to," he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?" He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely--be content with your pay." Luke 3:10-14
i) Get your issues of generosity towards God and other sorted out. Do not rob God and be generous to others.
ii) It is O.K. to do a dislikable job as long as you do it honestly. God would rather have a honest debt collector than a dishonest one.
iii) It is O.K. to be in the military or the police. God would rather have a Spirit filled person doing difficult and dangerous work that the emotionally unstable.
iv) Break the curse by hearing and following the Lord in all things.
"Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine." (Proverbs 3:9)
In the death and resurrection of Jesus we have the power, little by little, to change the work place of curse into a place of Blessing.
"Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth." (Genesis 1:28)
Date Added: 2012-11-13
Go to Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen