The Greatest Man That Ever Lived!

I don’t want to be a naysayer but after reading a few passages I believe I have been corrected about something that I hear frequently. It’s not something Jesus said or something Paul wrote but it’s something John the Baptist said. You know, the guy of whom it was said “among those born of women none is greater than”.

It has to do with work. Our jobs. I used to blame Adam on the days I felt overworked or didn’t want to work. I think we would still be working if Adam hadn’t slipped up but we would have liked it. Sinners working alongside sinners can be aggravating. We try to make the best. We try to get the jobs we like and do things for a living that we love, but even the best jobs get boring and turn painfully routine. They have their temptations and moments of…how shall I say it…lack of desire.

We know that Paul was a tentmaker during his ministry. I assume he was a good tentmaker but I don’t know how he had time going from town to town sharing the gospel. Peter was a fisherman even though the recorded excursions were terrible without Jesus’s assistance. What about that Proverbs 31 woman?? She was no slacker and her model is held up to women worldwide. 2 Thessalonians says “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat”. We have to work, and Colossians says “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” We’re not supposed to work to impress those around us but to impress the Lord. We should be dedicated employees.

Over my 20 plus years as a believer I have heard countless messages from pastors warning us about spending too much time at work, or being a witness at work and being a good steward of our money from our labor. These are the predominant messages; I’ve never argued or questioned for a minute even though most of these messages made me feel like I couldn’t possibly measure up to what was expected.

Then came this exchange between John the Baptist and those following him(Luke 3):

“John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

Even tax collectors 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.”

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.”

When asked by these people what they should do to flee from the wrath and keep with repentance, what did the greatest man to walk the face of the earth say?

Compare that to what a good, evangelical Christian might have chosen to say.

What about not spending too much time at work, or being a witness at work and being a good steward of our money from our labor? Instead of give your money to the church, dedicate more time to your wife and family, honor your parents, follow the Law, etc….John addresses the struggles directly related to each person’s job.

If you are blessed with clothing and food, share. Tax collectors, don’t collect any more than you are required. Soldiers, don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely.

In this day and age, our jobs define who we are because our character is revealed in our jobs due to the amount of time we spend there. Work eight hours, sleep eight hours, and squeeze everything else into the other eight hours. Jesus spent much of his time preaching in the marketplace where people were working.

I think we should consider John’s advise and pray about wherever and whatever work we are involved in and not downplay that third of our life as something we must suffer through. It is a ministry and a testimony of Christ at work in our lives.

 

 

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