Day 5: Work of the Lord (for one another)

2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 NRSVUE
For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not irresponsible when we were with you, and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day so that we might not burden any of you. This was not because we do not have that right but in order to give you an example to imitate.

“Indeed, ‘in the Bible and in the first centuries of Christian tradition, meeting one’s needs and the needs of one’s community (especially its underprivileged members) was clearly the most important purpose of work.’ Two observations follow from this: (1) Work is a fundamental characteristic of human life because work provides the means for sustaining life. Without work, there is no life. (2) In the biblical tradition there is an altruistic aspect to work. One works not just for self (i.e., to support oneself and one’s family) but also for others (i.e., to support those unable to work).” (M. Holmes, The NIV Application Commentary)

Ultimately, the Lord sustains all life through his work and has also given us work that can be done as an expression of love. It is this work of the Lord that we are privileged to participate in as Christians, who fully live and work out of the love of Christ through the Spirit.

Prayer: Father, thank you for the examples we see in scripture and in your church. Anoint the Agapé churches to do the work of the Lord like never before – that we and those we are serving would know how we belong to Christ and to one another. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s sing “Even Still Even So” by Matt Redman as we offer ourselves to our God who alone is worthy (click here).

– CHH

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Day 4: Work in/for the Lord

Colossians 3:22-4:1 MSG
Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work. And masters, treat your servants considerately. Be fair with them. Don’t forget for a minute that you, too, serve a Master—God in heaven.

What Paul encourages sounds obvious at first glance – you should work well whether you’re a Christian or not. Even though anyone can strive to work well, only those who belong to God can work from the heart for God. In other words, you won’t give yourself fully if your heart isn’t in it. If your heart does not belong to God, then you cannot work for God. Jesus worked for us so that we would belong to God. He paid the price to free and redeem us so that we don’t have to work alone. We can now work with him. We’re no longer just workers in society… we are co-workers in and with Christ, whom we live for. (adapted from P. Jason Han’s message)

Prayer: God, help me by your Spirit to “keep in mind always” and “don’t forget for a minute” that I serve you and depend on you in every small and big responsibility. May I work in and for you on this new day. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Let’s sing from the heart “I Turn To Christ” by Passion (click here).

– CHH

 

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Day 3: Calling = belonging

Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us.

“… Fee demolishes the widespread identification of vocation with occupation. Vocation is a truly redemptive and renewing summons to be in the fellowship of Christ (both in the fellowship with the Lord and in fellowship with the Lord’s people). ‘In fact, this is the only understanding of calling in the New Testament,’ says Fee.” (G. Fee, Offer Yourselves to God: Vocation, Work, and Ministry in Paul’s Epistles)

Your vocation or calling is about who you are and whom you belong to. It’s God summoning you – it’s his gracious work – to be in the fellowship of Christ. Some think God’s calling is about figuring out what you’re supposed to do for God; rather, it’s about being with God. It’s like hearing his voice over and over again, calling us out from how this world defines us to how God sees us. Our significance comes from who we are in Christ as God’s child, and it’s as God’s child that we do God’s good works. (adapted from P. Jason Han’s message)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for the privilege and starting point of all our works – that we belong to you. May this fellowship with you and with your people overflow and be worked out in everything we do today. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Let’s worship with “Build My Life” by Pat Barrett as we remember one another and the mission that God has given our churches in prayer (click here).

– CHH

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Day 2: Work from the Lord

Genesis 1:27-28 NIV
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Genesis 2:5, 15 NIV
Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground… The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

“Review from Genesis 1 and 2 the spare but pregnant description of God’s intentions for human creatures made in his image. What does he want us to do? What large and long-term implications unfold from these simple mandates: have dominion, be fruitful, fill the earth, till the ground, keep the garden, name the animals? Since God works, we work; since he creates, we create; since he cultivates, we cultivate; and since he loves, we love. What dignity and responsibility he affords us!” (B. Gross, Living the Christian Year)

Prayer: Father, thank you for Jesus’ work on the cross that redeems both our relationship and our work. Thank you for your working in my life, and the various responsibilities you personally have for me to bring about your order in my life, home and school/workplace. I pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s adore our God who made us to work and relate to him with “The Praise Is Yours” by Matt Redman (click here).

– CHH

 

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Day 1: A prayer at work

Let’s read aloud the following scripture and prayer as we offer ourselves and all that we do unto the Lord today:

Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Prayer: Almighty God, you have so linked our lives one with another that all we do affects, for good or ill, all other lives: So guide us in the work we do, that we may do it not for self alone, but for the common good; and, as we seek a proper return for our own labor, make us mindful of the rightful aspirations of other workers, and arouse our concern for those who are out of work; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Collect for Labor Day, the Book of Common Prayer)

Let’s take multiple moments throughout the day to worship and reorient our work to Christ with “Belong” by Aaron Shust (click here).

– CHH

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