Consider the Work Ethic and Honorable Provision of Our Heavenly Father.
In Genesis, God goes to work. He creates, improves, and organizes all things for the benefit of his loved ones. He is their Heavenly Father. Oh, how he loves his children who are created in his image! And upon completion of his work, oh, how grateful they are for his diligent and skillful labor!
In Psalm 23, David muses of his Heavenly Father. Listen as he describes the loving care of the hard-working Good Shepherd:
Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Can you feel the sentiment as David honors and brags about his Father’s character and work ethic? Overall, because the Lord has been so diligent, David and his household consider themselves to be contented sheep. The Father is the one providing rest, peace, provision, and refreshment. He is providing for them externally and internally. Externally he leads them down the right paths, and as they encounter the pains and terrors of this world, they are internally comforted by his external protection. Notice how David lauds the bounty of the Good Shepherd; he provides more than their fair share of niceties; their heads are anointed and their cups overflow. And because he is so consistent as a laborer and provider, the sheep have no concern regarding tomorrow. They are utterly convinced of the incessant care and provision of the leader. The Psalmist then ends with a declaration of confident delight. How great it is to dwell in the house of the Good Shepherd forever and ever! How fantastic it is to be under the care of this sort of man!
Consider the Work Ethic and Honorable Provision of the Perfectly Created Man.
Adam was created after the image of God. He was created to enjoy and glorify God, and he was to do so by going to work six days each week. In the initial chapters of Genesis, what one sees is — Like Father, like son.” As the Heavenly Father and Good Shepherd enjoyed his work on behalf of his family, so too did his holy child.
But then came the fall.
Consider the Sloth and Lack of Provision of the Sinfully Influenced Man.
All men have been infected with the disease of sin, and it manifests itself in thousands of ways. Men do not love God as they ought. They are not as concerned about the well-being of their families and neighbors as they should be. Additionally, they often become consumed with money and become workaholics, or they become consumed with ease or hedonism and become lazy.
In this devotional blog, it is this second sin of sloth that I wish to focus upon. Hear God’s indictment against those who value not work:
Proverbs 6:6-11 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
2 Thessalonians 3:10-11 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.
1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
God hates the sins of self-love and sloth. This is especially true when one takes the responsibility upon himself of husband and father and cares not for those placed under his care.
Consider the Work Ethic and Honorable Provision of the Holy Son.
He sees the horrid sins of men and women. He sees the damnation they deserve. Then, in love, he determines to come to earth and go to work on man’s behalf. As a child and a man, he labors so well. He does so for his Heavenly Father, for his elect family, and for his earthly neighbors. No one has ever been cared and provided for as we, the Bride of Christ. How great is the work-ethic of Jesus Christ!
He is not done working in and through us. Again … like our Father, like the Son, so shall be his sons.
Consider the Work Ethic and Honorable Provision of the Sons of God.
Like Solomon, we grow in wisdom and learn to repent of sloth while enjoying our occupation:
Proverbs 10:4–5 A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.
Proverbs 12:11 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.
Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.
Proverbs 14:23. In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.
Proverbs 20:13 Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.
Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.
Proverbs 24:33–34 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
Proverbs 28:19 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.
Ecclesiastes 2:24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,
Ecclesiastes 3:22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?
Ecclesiastes 5:18 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.
Ecclesiastes 8:15 And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.
Like Jesus, we find ourselves working diligently for the glory of our Father.
1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Like Jesus, we wear ourselves out in love for our spouse and children.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Boaz was a good example of such love, as he was noted for his provision for Ruth, Naomi, and needy souls in the community.
Like Jesus, we work hard for the church of Jesus Christ. This is what one sees in the early chapters of Acts and throughout Paul’s epistles. Believers loved one another and shared the profits of their labors one with those in need. Additionally, in the stories of Moses, David, Solomon, and Nehemiah, it is the delight of God’s people to go to work, make a profit, take a portion of their proceeds, and use it to build houses of worship for the Lord.
Finally, like Jesus, we seek to shower blessings upon those in need in our neighborhood and around the world. We love seeing ourselves a bit more like the Good Samaritan.
Luke 10:33–35 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
Friends, let’s pray and then go to work.
Then let’s give glory to God when our wives, sons, and daughters read Psalm 23 and think of both Jesus and us.
Let’s humbly smile and give thanks when our neighbors hear the story of the Good Samaritan and our faces come to mind.
And may our children in the church not be shocked when they read the opening chapters of Acts and see the expensive and extravagant love of those in the body. May they not be surprised at all because they have seen this over and over again in your own local church.
Friends, Christ is working in us that we might forsake laziness, and labor hard instead. Let’s recommit ourselves to enjoying and glorifying the Father by going to work, making a profit, and then using the profit of God to love our families, our church, and our neighbors. As believers in the household of Christ, we have experienced the fantastic provision of our Father and Groom. Now let us seek to be such responsible leaders for those in our care. Let us enjoy being remade in the image of God. May it be said of us, “Like Father, Like Son, like Sons.”