Work, Worship and Honor.
10/22/2015 12:07:46 AM
from Matthew 13.47-50 Is work just work, or something far greater?
Work, Worship and Honor. Matthew 13.47-50
It was a warm day—hot even—when I met my friend at our nearby harbor. The water seemed to sparkle like dancing crystals in the sunshine, creating a sweet backdrop for meaningful conversation. Into our talk, “Donna” mentioned that she was not yet ready to retire, though she was experiencing more and more aches and pains as a result of many years at her rigorous job as a labor and delivery nurse.
“Hey, do you ever look at your work as serving God?” I asked her. She looked out at the water and back at me, “Well yes, I have started to look at it that way and even said an occasional ‘I am praying for you’ to several patients. We talked about some of the grateful responses she has gotten to the quiet extension of her faithful self, and smiled.
May I be so bold to ask you the same thing:
Do you think of your job as an expression of worship?
Do you think of the work of your hands as honoring God?
On this day recounted by Matthew, Jesus looks into the eyes of the 12 he loves so much—several that had been full-time fishermen—and he shows that he ‘gets’ them. Since fishing was a major vocation all around the Sea of Galilee, Jesus indeed dignifies the work of all of them by his comparative reference to the Kingdom of Heaven. I love that!
He says, “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven [Remember--The Kingdom of Heaven is at once referring to our present doing of the will of God in our lives, knowing that in Jesus, the kingdom came, but is still not what it will be in all of its fullness ~ when God’s will is perfectly done on earth and among mankind as it is in heaven and in Jesus Christ.]1 is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind. When the net was full, they dragged it up onto the shore, sat down, and sorted the good fish into crates, but threw the bad ones away. That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous, throwing the wicked into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”2
Four sentences replete with meaning. From the shore, two different styles of nets could be seen gathering their stores of fish. But note what Jesus says: the nets caught fish of every kind. Indeed the kingdom of God’s people YET TODAY is to be filled with every kind—from all nations, tribes, colors and tongues. As communities who gather together in Jesus’ name we are to welcome all, extending the net of his love to any who come. [These must not be just words]
The fishermen in the crowd knew of course that not all fish were worthy of being kept; some had to be thrown out—perhaps they were either ‘clean’ or ‘unclean’ to meet Jewish dietary requirements. But do not miss: Jesus is making a strong point of saying again, ‘One day, Child, a judgment is a-coming, and not all fish, not all people, will enter the perfection of Heaven where God reigns.’ Those who have not responded to God’s tug on their hearts will be forever separated from him. All are invited, all have the opportunity, but not all will respond. Those who reject him and forgiveness of their sins will in turn be rejected.
But back to Jesus’ reference to the fishermen. Fact is, Scripture commends the value of an honest day’s work and wages. David wrote poignantly and so desirous of God’s blessing: “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.”3
And the radically-transformed Paul in his letter to the Colossians encourages the devoted with these words, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. . .” And then he even ups the ante, “since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”4
Don’t miss this point: the work of our hands and minds can and should be worship of our Creator. Consider this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HukWGekxrGU ;
First and foremost, it is a mindset, a predisposition . . . a face turned toward God our Maker, and a desire to honor him with our whole being.
Christine Todd DiGiacomo
1 - Quote from Morning Briefing, “The Value of the Kingdom”, www.pastorwoman.com ;
2 – Matthew 13.47-50
3 - Psalm 90.17, NIV
4 – Colossians 3.23-24, NIV
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