"Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." James 1:22 (NKJV)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Week 21: Work With Your Hands

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands." ~ 1 Thess. 4:11

I hope "working with your hands" includes typing, because most weeks that's the only work that I do with my hands. In response to the command to "work with your hands," I've been putting down a new floor in our kitchen. Christina has wanted a new kitchen floor for years, so a little physical labor along those lines seemed like an appropriate and practical response. I'm still working on the floor (and my back has gone out pulling and scraping up the old vinyl), but Christina tells me she's happy with the results so far. Here is a picture, below, of the half finished floor. The old white vinyl is on the bottom of the picture, and the new faux stone vinyl tile is above.

I've always enjoyed physical labor and find it much more soul-satisfying than my desk job. I think there's more to this command, however, than remodeling my kitchen floor.

Many of us, when we're growing up, dream about being successful, famous and/or rich. We want to be a star athlete. A famous actor, musician or artist. Or, maybe the President of the United States. We have dreams of changing the world. We hope to travel to exotic places. We want exciting lives full of adventure. We want to own sports cars, maybe even convertibles.

For most of us, reality turns out to be very different. We find ourselves growing older and toiling away at obscure jobs. There's no standing ovation when we do well at work. We're very far from being rich and famous. At home, daily life is full of mundane chores: laundry, dishes, running errands, and mowing the lawn. And, instead of driving sports cars, we're driving used mini-vans. As we grow up, and this reality sets in, I think there's a tendency to become disappointed with our lives. That disappointment, if allowed to linger, can turn to bitterness. It turns to bitterness that shows up when we get disproportionately upset about trivial things. We explode at our spouse or our kids, and, if we're honest, we know it has nothing to do with them or anything they said or did. I confess that I've been there, and I've done that.

Here is what God has to say to us when our reality doesn't equal our dreams. He says that we're leading just the sort of lives that we should have aspired to. "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life . . ." Isn't that an interesting command? We should have ambition, not to become rich or famous, but to lead simple humble lives. Accordingly, God commands us to work diligently at our jobs, not for the acclaim of men, but for the Lord's sake. We're supposed to invest our time and energy, not in pursuing status or wealth, but in caring for our elderly, serving our spouses and training our children to follow God. We're to cultivate relationships, not by rubbing elbows with people of influence who can further our careers, but by humbly and quietly serving the people of our local churches and the poor and needy in our communities.

If we will make it our ambition to lead such quiet, humble lives, we will be blessed. God lifts up the humble. James 4:10. The humble will be exalted. Luke 14:11. He gives grace to the humble. James 4:6. Whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for such an inspirational message. God bless, Lloyd