The Nature of Our Work

One more week and we are finally through our series, Telling Our Story. I hope this has been as encouraging and productive a journey for you as it has been for me. Today, having spent lots of time talking about the how and the why of the things the first church did, we shift gears and talk about the what. What was is they were doing that enabled them to be so successful? Read on to find out.

The Nature of Our Work

What does it look like when you’ve done a job well? That depends on the job, of course. A school project done really well looks like a paper with a big A on top. If you’re selling insurance, it looks like helping someone understand the worth of investing in a personal safety net should the tightrope that is life get plucked, sending you falling to the ground. If you’re a firefighter, it looks like a rescue made with as little collateral damage as possible. For a NASCAR team, it looks like a trip down victory lane. If you’re building something you ordered from Amazon, it looks like not having any extra pieces beyond the ones that are supposed to be there. The list here is as varied as the jobs we could imagine. Let me give you one more, though, what does it look like when we’ve done church well?

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Morning Musing: Habakkuk 2:12-14

“Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and founds a town with injustice! Is it not from the Lord of Armies that the peoples labor only to fuel the fire and countries exhaust themselves for nothing? For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord’s glory, as the water covers the sea.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

What kinds of accomplishments really matter? What is it that makes a certain accomplishment significant anyway? Is it the way we go about it? Is it the intent with which we pursue it? Whatever it is, we want to know that what we do matters. If we’re going to achieve this aim, though, we’ve got to figure out what it is that makes anything matter. Not hitting that mark in anything we do would be awful…a bit like judgment…just like Habakkuk describes here.

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Morning Musing: Hosea 13:6

“When they had pasture, they became satisfied; they were satisfied, and their hearts became proud. Therefore they forgot me.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Where do you turn when things get tough? I’ve asked that question before. You already know what I think the answer should be: God. Perhaps you do turn there and good for you. Many people turn to something they identify as a higher power when things get tough. That’s not at all unusual. It’s also not what I am interested in this morning. I just wanted to distract you a bit. Here’s what I’m interested in right now: Where do you turn when things are smooth and easy?

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Morning Musing: Hosea 10:1

“Israel is a lush vine; it yields fruit for itself. The more his fruit increased, the more he increased the altars. The better his land produced, the better they made the sacred pillars.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you experienced success before? That’s a bit of an open-ended question. What kind of success? There are many different kinds: relational, financial, vocational, social, athletic, parental, life generally. Okay, let me narrow the question in a bit: Have you experienced success before? See what I did there? That’s not really the question I’m interested in right now. Here’s that one: Where did that success come from? Here’s why that matters: If you know where your success originates, you can experience more of it more easily.

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Morning Musings: 2 Chronicles 26:16

“But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction.  For he was unfaithful to the Lord his God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Uzziah’s punishment can seem awfully big in light of his apparent offense.  I mean, he burned a bit of incense in the Temple.  Why should that have drawn a punishment of leprosy?  But, the light external offense was only a symptom of the much more dangerous internal issue.  As faithful as he had been throughout his reign as king, he eventually started to see himself as the source of that success.  Once he did this, his downfall was nigh.  <!–more Read the rest…–>

This poses a stern reminder for all of us.  The perils of success are great.  We should run after it with all we have, but if we begin worshiping it as our god, it will lead to our doom.  We never escape the necessity of being wary of this temptation.  Pride, or a belief that we are sufficient in and of ourselves for, really, anything, will always eventually lead to our undoing, and not only ours, but often for all the people who have attached themselves to our wagon as well.  This is never pretty.  Instead, let us always remember who is God and remain humbly reliant on Him; constantly aware that apart from Him we are nothing.