Wouldn’t it be nice if things were just easier? It seems that the task of the great thinkers and innovators of our time is to try and make things as effortless as possible. We all have a desire to get away or get around having to do hard work. The whine of every kid after receiving a chore and the groan of every adult after a long day at the office attests to this. The lottery draws droves of people as a way to get rich without the cost of years of effort. However, God has a design for hard work. Maybe in the midst of the mundane of everyday chores He desires to remind us of something. It is in Christ that we have a promise and purpose for our hard work.
When it comes down to it, the only reason we have to toil and sweat for any progress or profit is because of sin. God gave Adam and Eve clear instructions and yet they deliberately disobeyed Him. God says in Genesis 3:17-19, “Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face you will eat bread…” This was the curse that mankind had to live with for turning his back on God and His Word. God made things tough. He caused chores to be taxing on our time and our bodies but there’s purpose in this. When we are working hard struggling to make ends meet, complete tasks or finish a grueling list of chores we are brought again to our need for a Savior. Sweat is a result of sin so there must be a solution. Many try and get out of hard work. We may try to scheme ways to avoid it but we cannot avoid or absolve the consequence of our sin on our own strength. This just cannot be done. There’s no way of lifting the curse of God on our own strength. We need someone to rescue us from our sweat and toil and that comes only from Jesus.
When Jesus took the cross upon His back He also took on our curse. God caused the sins of mankind to fall on Him. He became the curse for us. He swallowed the pain and the punishment on our behalf. It is through this payment that God offers a promise of rest. Paul found strength in the midst of his weakness because Jesus purchased that at the cross. We are guaranteed the promise that in all of the hard work we may face in this life, Jesus has done ALL of the hard work necessary to lead to heaven. There is nothing left for us to accomplish. Jesus paid it all. We may sweat and we may labor but we are not slaves to the curse any longer. None of this labor need be wasted on efforts to gain our own goodness. Our sweat and labor is under new ownership. It is now through our hard work that we are able to magnify the cross of Jesus. So when we work hard the purpose is that we remember Jesus paid for this consequence and the promise is great rest found only in Jesus (Matt. 11:28).
I have been given more responsibility in the last few months than I’ve ever known. I’ve had to work hard at remembering tasks and receiving new ones. There have been many reminders of my weaknesses and my body hasn’t always wanted to keep up with the different demands that days have to offer but the Lord is incredibly faithful and good. Through this time He has shown me the beautiful glory of the cross. Through what Jesus has accomplished I am promised to be equipped and adequate for EVERY good work NOT because I buckle down and toughen up but because I look to Christ and His Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17). When I lean on my own strength failure soon follows but when I look to Jesus I have hope for even when the going gets tough. The Lord has also blessed me with each of you. He has extended His grace through your encouragement, gifts, and daily blessings. There has been strength found for every hard work in serving and following Christ alongside you. I could not be more grateful to have you as my family. I look forward to the work that God has for us and hold to the hope that He will meet our every need through the cross of Jesus Christ!
Working Hard With Purpose And Promise, Pastor Rudy