Last week on the blog we talked about being in the wilderness and how our words can curse us and keep us there, going round and round the same mountain. I pray that we are learning how to guard our words and speak those truths that agree with God and His Word.
But there’s another element to moving out of the wilderness and into our promised land. We will have to work for it.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10, NIV 84).
Are We Wishing or Working?
God created us to work. We aren’t saved by works, we are saved to work. I know, that’s a dirty, four-letter word to most people, even in the church. 🙂 We tend to think that if we have faith, God will do the rest.
“What good is it, my bothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:14-17).
Did you know the Hebrew word abad means both to worship and to work?
Think about that for a minute.
Worship and Work
The truth is that if we are really seeking Jesus in worship, then He is going to lead us on mission with Him, just as He did His disciples. Jesus calls us to WORK with Him to build the kingdom.
“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field'” (Matthew 9:37).
Let’s go back to the Israelites in the wilderness. When God called them out of Egypt, they had to obey His directions and walk in faith, leaving behind all that they knew. They struggled to trust Him for provision, complaining about a lack of water and food, and fearful of their enemies. Time and time again, God protected and provided for them, proving that He could be trusted.
But they had to do more than just believe. They had to act on their faith. They had to gather manna daily. They had to set up and tear down tents every time God told them to move. They had to follow His cloud by day and fire by night. They had to consecrate themselves, receive the Word, and then guess what? They had to put their talents and tools to work and BUILD.
God gave specific instructions for building the tabernacle so that He could dwell among them. That was His goal all along. He wanted to be with His people. God also knew that a traveling worship center shaped like a cross would stand out among the nations and His glory would be seen. Their work and worship led to His glory.
What about you and me? Are we staying close to the Lord so we recognize His call as Moses did? Are we seeking His Word and obeying what He calls us to do, even if it means walking away from everything we know to follow Him? Are we complaining when our wilderness wanderings don’t look quite like we thought, or are we speaking God’s truth? Are we willing to pick up the tools He’s given us and the talents He’s blessed us with and go to work for Him?
God Is a Builder
God is a Builder. He is building a kingdom on this earth, and we are His chosen co-laborers.
“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9).
Being on mission with God will require us to leave behind comfort, security, and maybe even familiarity. We’ll have to lay aside our own desires and follow Jesus into hard places. But He promised to always be with us. I guess my question is: What else have we got to do with this life?
What are we struggling to build other than the Kingdom? Because only those things that are eternal are worth building.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1).
“If any man builds on this foundation [Christ] using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
In other words, we can spend a lot of time working to build things that don’t last, but on Judgment Day, those things will perish. If we work for the Kingdom, however, we are building something that is eternal. Kingdom work is just that: WORK. It’s not something we can sit on the couch or on a pew and wish for.
I wish more people would come to church.
I wish we could see revival.
I wish God would work in our community.
Wishing or Working?
Let me just tell you straight up: No one moves out of the wilderness and into the promise of God by wishing. The church is not built through wishing. People aren’t saved just because we hope for them to be. Revival doesn’t come just because our intentions are good or even that our hearts are right.
We build the Kingdom of God through hard work. Real prayer is hard work. Studying the Bible and seeking God require effort. Obedience and discipleship are achieved because we work for it. Doing Kingdom work is messy and hard. But what else are we going to do with our lives that matters?
We are all in a wilderness of sorts. If we’re believers, then we’ve been called out of slavery to sin and we are headed to the Promised Land. While we are in this world, our job is to do the good works God created us to do.
“‘As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no man can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world'” (John 9:4-5).
Right now, Jesus is in the world through us. We are now the light of the world. We are His hands and feet. But Jesus is coming soon, and for those left behind, night is coming. The time to work is now. The harvest is plentiful. God needs workers who will go out into the fields and share the Gospel. There are needs to be met, hands to be held, prayers to be prayed, words to be spoken, comfort to be given.
What is God calling you to do? You will never be happier than when you are on mission with God. If you seek Him, He will lead you step by step, just as He did the Israelites in the wilderness. God has Kingdom work for us to do. So, let’s get off the couch and out of the pew. Let’s get up and get to work!