God Will Meet Our Needs
Depending on God does not conflict with working to earn our daily bread. Indeed, work and the ability to do it are part of God’s provision. If we doubt that, we should consider the fact that Jesus Himself worked. Even though He came from heaven and all things belong to Him, He labored as a carpenter for years, confirming the pattern that was laid out for humanity in Genesis (Genesis 2:15).
Similarly, the apostles, living by faith and wholeheartedly pursuing the growth of the church, worked diligently “night and day.” They refused to be lazy or to eat anyone’s food without paying. As ministers of the gospel, they did have the right to ask for help with provisions (1 Timothy 5:17-18); however, they took responsibility for themselves and practiced the trades they knew, serving as “an example to imitate” (2 Thessalonians 3:9).
In the midst of our own labors, we must recognize that we can abuse work in at least two ways: through either laziness or overactivity. The warning of Proverbs applies to us: “The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing” (Proverbs 20:4). Or, as Paul puts it, we must not be idle. But we must pay equally careful attention to the psalmist’s words when he says, “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil” (Psalm 127:2). Yes, we are to labor with our hands. If we aren’t working for God’s glory, though, we are left toiling at a feverish pace, yet in vain.
Nowhere is this more apparent than when we ignore the Sabbath principle. Nothing so reveals our unwillingness to take God at His word and to trust Him for daily provision as when we abuse the command to work six days and rest for one (Deuteronomy 5:12-15). Why do we think we need to work all day, every day? The answer is, quite frankly, because we struggle to trust that God will meet our needs. We must find our security not in our work but in the God who provides both the work and the means to carry it out.
In our materialistic culture, it is not easy to work faithfully while learning to be satisfied with our God-given lot. Take a moment to reflect on your own work, be it in the home, the field, the factory, or the office. In what ways are you tempted towards laziness? And in what ways towards overactivity? What will it look like for you to work hard and trust God? In a world ensnared by materialism, your contentment—in your work and in God’s provision—will be a compelling testimony to the divine love that alone provides true satisfaction.
The Ten Commandments
1And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them. 2The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. 3Not with our fathers did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today.
12“‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15You shall remember that you were a slave3 in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
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