“Good theology is necessary to thinking right, but living out good theology is essential to being like Jesus.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 27, 2021
I [Paul] have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. Acts 20:33-34
Ernie Johnson is a sports commentator who recently gave a talk about his special needs son, Michael. With grace, his son inspires Ernie to live up to his potential at home and work. In the course of the condensed five-minute speech, Ernie mentioned that he was blessed with a get to work job, not a have to work job. What an interesting phrase, get to—have to, and for me I have certainly been blessed with a get to job for many years. There have been seasons of work that were less fulfilling than others, but overall, I believe I have for the most part followed God’s call on my life. And, when I pause to pray, I am reminded of how I get to do my work unto the Lord.
Paul, the pioneer of the gospel, experienced a get to work for the Lord job in two ways. Rabbis commonly learned a trade as part of their training (i.e., Jesus, carpentry). There were seasons of sewing goat hair into tents so Paul could earn a living and not be a financial burden on others. Tarsus, where he was from, was in the province of Cilicia, famous for raising goats and producing a goats’ hair cloth that was used for tentmaking. Paul also worked with Pricilla and Aquilla in the trade of tentmaking, but most importantly, the three partnered in the gospel!
“There [Corinth] he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah” (Acts 18:2-5).
So, what is your view of work? Do you have a get to or have to job? Be bold, and follow Jesus by faith into a get to role at work. Be willing to gain experience with responsibilities that push you out of your comfort zone, or co-create with your supervisor a professional development plan to move you to the next level of leadership. Regardless of your job situation, live out the gospel, as your light of love shines bright and your words speak clearly and compellingly about Christ! Work is your ministry and your ministry is your work—both are conduits to love others to Jesus.
C.S. Lewis, a person who earned his living as a university professor, gives a healthy view of tentmaking and ministry: I’ve always been glad myself that Theology is not the thing I earn my living by. On the whole, I’d advise you to get on with your tent-making. The performance of a duty will probably teach you quite as much about God as academic Theology would do.
Good theology is necessary to thinking right, but living out good theology is essential to being like Jesus. So, do both—and whether your work context is a get to or have to job—point people to God. You will learn much more about the Lord and how to love people well when you see your work as ministry and your ministry as work. In your work be a blessing, not a burden! Stay grateful to God if you have a get to work job, and faithful to God if you have a have to work job.
“Work hard and cheerfully at all you do, just as though you were working for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23, TLB).
Heavenly Father, I praise you for giving me the opportunity to work with you and for you, for your glory, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
In practical ways, how can I grow in my love for God and people as I do my work unto the Lord?
The Porter’s Gate feat. Liz Vice, Josh Garrels, & Madison Cunningham: We Labor Unto Glory
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