HOW DO WE WORK FOR THE KINGDOM
9 Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia.Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more,11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
We have been given such an amazing opportunity in life. One that allows us the ability to see things in so many different ways. And then God loves to allow our minds to really be blown with the ability of stretching us beyond what we would ever see. It is a working concept to know that things will always change. Things will never stay the same and the real reason is because we are continuing to see how God, as a constant, is moving us to really change from a worldly view to a godly view of the world. That is something that I really struggled with for a long time. Not that I didn't want to see things from God's perspective, but that I continued to struggle with getting away from them worldly views that I had adopted as my own. I was conditioned by the world I was raised in to think a certain way, study a certain way, dress a certain way and work a certain way because that is what was accepted by my family. We worked for everything that we received. And that work ethic has continued to play a huge role in my work ethic in ministry to this day.
But what do we look at when it comes to work ethic in our lives as it pertains to the Kingdom
of God? I mean I know that there is a way that we all like to do things. I know that we have a particular way of how we want things to be done, but are we really willing to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty for the glory of God? As a little boy, I remember watching my dad work on cars. I would always grab a wrench and act as if I was really working hard too, when in reality I had not done more than made some noise and gotten my hands dirty. I
remember the smell of the oil and the feeling that I had between my fingers. It was not work, but it was fun.... it was a joy and I really didn't care how many hours I had spent doing it. The same should be said for our call in working for the Kingdom of God. It shouldn't have to feel like a job or a task. It should a part of our passion in such a way that we don't even realize how long we have been working. Time will fly by and our hands will definitely look as if we have been willing to sacrifice all that we can to finish the task at hand. It is also a pure joy... It is the feeling we have when we spend the time investing in people...investing in lives and it has no time frame at all.
The callouses, the bruises, the cuts, the pains just don't matter but is a sign of a giving heart that is willing to see past personal gain and step into the fullness of God. The Kingdom of God is all around us. The work is all around us. The opportunities to truly change the world is all around us and we are truly showing a desire to come alive through the passion that is infused in our dry bones through the love of God. I will say it again... It is NOT a job. It is NOT something that we would consider as work, but an opportunity to truly step into this desire that dwells inside us to think outside the lines, to step outside of the boundaries that we have allowed the world to surround us with and give us the freedom to do what God has created us to do. Paul writes about that today to the people of Thessalonica. Paul is calling us to recognize the power of God that lives in us and allows us to in turn live a life that is not drawing people to us but to draw people to God. Paul is stating that we are to live a life that is quiet and dig into the ground with our hands. We are to live our lives as an example of God's grace and love and mercy. We are not to go around grandstanding about who we are, but live in such a way that will draw a moth to a flame. We are to live in a way that people will see us as what we are willing to do and not what we are looking to gain in return.
We are truly asking ourselves to answer questions that the world is bringing to the table. They want to know why we would do these things when the world continues to beat us down and calls us hypocrites. Why are we willing to give everything that we have not even worrying about what we are to receive in return. See that is having a Kingdom of God mentality. It is our willingness to truly stop living for the world and begin working through our passion for God. It is not a hard concept to say, but it is a very difficult concept to actually follow. See we have to continue to stretch our vision, stretch our minds, stretch our whole thought process of what it means to do for others. It is working for the Kingdom of God. It is living in such a
way that you take every breath and give God the glory. As we spoke yesterday about living our lives as a doxology, we are truly having to battle for a new concept for our entire lives. And trust me it is not going to be easy. I keep saying that, but anyone that has ever crossed over the world's threshold into God's neighborhood, you realize the real sacrifice that is before you and continue to praise God for the journey. We work for the Kingdom by letting go of self and anything that we seek to gain, the accolades, the attaboys, the positional or financial gains, and we turn every bit of it towards God. Minds must change.... hearts must change.... lives must change.... and the only way that is going to happen is for more of God to be planted into the world. We have to dig deep and realize that it is not in this life that we will see the final results. We are working for the future that is to come... and that is exactly what every other spiritual leader that has gone before us had to realize. It is not for the present but for the future of the Kingdom that I work and that my work will not be in vain. Glory to God... AMEN!