Pastor’s pondering

This weekend our nation celebrates the annual Labor Day holiday. This is a time in which the hard work of our country’s citizens is recognized, for without this labor what could be done?  According to Scripture, humanity has been established for labor, for work in the world.  According to Genesis 2:15, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden to till it and keep it” (NRSV).  Right from the start Adam, and later Eve, had the task of working in creation.  Who knows what this looked like.  Could you imagine working in the Garden of Eden?  What beauty was there to see.  What splendor was always right there in front of the first couple!  But then, The Fall and the punishment for the sin that occurred.  In Genesis 3:16-19, God tells Eve and Adam that the labor they would now have would not be easy.  In fact, it would happen with pain, toil, and sweat.  This is what we have been given by God to do in life – to work and work hard at what must be done.

            There is a parable which Jesus tells in Luke 12:35-40 about those who were given the task of watching over the house until the head of the household returns.  In it, Jesus knows that there is a great reward for those who will endure the labor necessary for the care required, and, as such, we must be ever-ready, ever-vigilant, always prepared to do that which needs to be done.  Matthew’s Gospel enhances this story with the Parable of the Talents (Matt 25:14-30), and it is there that we find the phrase I think all Christians long to hear from Jesus when the time comes for us to be held accountable for our labors – “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

            The problem is, Jesus also recognized that the laborers are becoming fewer and fewer.  There is much work to be done in the Kingdom, but there are few that are participating in it (see Matt 9:37-38).  We need more laborers!  We need more servants in and for the Kingdom!  Sure, it is hard work.   But it’s worth it!  It’s worth it to see how the world is transformed by that which God leads us to do in every time and place.

            So, the real question is, the thing for all of us to ponder – while you may be taking a restful holiday this weekend, how are you working for Jesus?  How are you laboring for the Kingdom?  Will you hear those much-treasured words – “Well done, my good and faithful servant?”

                                                            Always pondering,

                                                            Pastor Steve

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