April 10 – Work Hard

Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.
(Luke 13:24)

Read: Deuteronomy 34:1-Joshua 2:24, Luke 13:22-14:6, Psalm 79:1-13, Proverbs 12:26

Relate: Before becoming a pastor he was a salesman… a failed salesman. The way the half rate movie portrays him, he was really a bit of a shyster and even on taking this first pastoral assignment, he still had a few rough edges to work out. There was a small, failing church called “All Saints” in a small Tenessee town and Spurlock was sent there to oversee its church closing and property sale. This was supposed to be a brief assignment but then Spurlock discovers that this town has also recently taken in some Karen refugees from Myanmar (Burma). They have come to him to help and he quickly realizes that no one else is willing to do anything for these poor souls. Since these refugees had once been farmers and since the church is sitting on a bunch of property Spurlock comes up with a brilliant idea to “save” the church. They will turn that property into a farm which will be able to cover the building’s debt and thus receive a stay of execution. Of course lots of drama ensues and I don’t know how much really happened and how much was Hollywood drama but the end result, the church keeps its doors open, it continues to minister to these Burmese refugees, and it is now a mission church where potential overseas missionaries can get practical cross-cultural experience before going to their field.

The thing is, this plan to turn the church property into a farm was God’s idea. He also intervened in one after another miraculous “coincidence” after another. Even still, it was hard work. This pastor being obedient to God’s call was out there working in the field sunup to sundown day after day and then doing the work of the ministry in the evenings until it was time to drop… only to get up a few hours later and do it again. The Karen refugees would go out there early in the morning and work until it was time to go to their paying jobs. They would then return only to get back to it for even more time each evening. God was going to save the church, but it still took an awful lot of work from His children.

React: We are saved through grace alone. This grace comes through faith which is not our own. The work of redemption was complete at the cross. These are not just good ideas. They aren’t simply great concepts. They are rock solid truth.

Even still, Jesus says here, “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.” Paul tells the Philippian church “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

I still don’t fully get it. I don’t think I ever will, at least, not on an intellectual level. But I definitely understand it on a gut level. The work has all been done, and yet it is still hard work. This is just one of the many paradoxes that are part and parcel of life. In every area of life, they exist and our theology is filled with them. Working hard for God is not legalism. It is not heresy. It is obedience.

Respond:

 

Dear God,
Please don’t ever let me use Your free grace as a copout for my laziness. Help me to truly understand and live out the truth that diligence is an expression of godliness. Help me to work, and work hard for You because there is nothing else worth working towards.
Amen

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