I Choose To Abound In Kingdom Work
This Sunday is the final day of our 2016 summer series. Brother Gardner Hall will be with us and present two sermons. After our 9:00 a.m. Bible study and 10:00 a.m. worship, he will present a sermon entitled "Blind Man Healed In Two Steps." At 3:00 p.m., he will discuss "Of Another World." Please join us for either or both of these assemblies. If you have been unable to join us for our summer series, audio recordings of the sermons can be found on this website and video recordings can be viewed at youtube.com/channel/UCzLtH9YY6CxJ7-yaAZOzU9Q.
Douglass Hyde described a typical day in his life as a member of the Communist party in Great Britain before he became a Roman Catholic.
You got up in the morning and as you shaved you were thinking of the jobs you would do for Communism that day. You went down to breakfast and read the Daily Worker to get the Party line–to get the shot and shell for a fight in which you were already involved. You read every item in the paper wondering how you might be able to use it for the cause.
He then described his day at work circulating the Communist newspaper, the Daily Worker and talking to others, trying to direct the conversations to the party’s talking points. When the workday ended he met with his Communist cell from the factory to discuss the days’ events and plans for promoting the cause the next day. Then after a quick supper he would either attend classes on different aspects of Marxism or hand out Communist pamphlets on the street before coming home exhausted, falling asleep and dreaming "of the jobs I was going to do for Communism the next day."
The idealism and urgency in the lifestyle of Hyde and other Communists contrasts with the laid back style of too many Christians today when serving in the kingdom. God never meant it to be that way!
Work and Sacrifice – Linked With the Kingdom
The parables about the kingdom almost always include the theme of diligent work and sacrifice:
* The sower sows the seed (Matt. 13:3-9).
* The man who found the treasure and the pearl merchant sold everything they had to obtain the treasure and the pearl (Matt. 13:44-46).
* The Fishermen fished (Matt. 13:47-50).
* Servants worked with talents (Matt. 25: 14-30) and in the vineyards (Matt. 20:1-16).
God is looking for those who "abound in the work of the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58), not those who give it half-hearted effort. The apostle Paul’s description of what he went through to labor in the kingdom in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 is jaw dropping even after we’ve read it a number of times. The best example of diligence in the kingdom is of course, Jesus, who accomplished so much when at the point of total exhaustion (Mark 3:8,9,20; 6:31ff, etc.).
What Keeps us from being Energetic and Effective?
* Lost idealism – When the fire to reach the world for Jesus begins to go out, so does our energy level. Our kingdom work becomes a matter of routine rather than passion and we lose our effectiveness. How salty are we when our work in the kingdom resembles little more than punching a time clock for the Lord rather than passionate living for him?
* Prosperity – Contented workers with full tummies often accomplish little, hence the warning all through the scriptures about the dangers that accompany prosperity (Deut. 8:8-10; Hosea 13:6; 1 Tim. 6:9, 10, etc.).
* Peripheral activities – So often we spend so much time tinkering with our computers, blogging, hobnobbing with preachers, running errands for the brethren, reading new books, etc. that we actually spend little time taking the gospel to the lost and teaching new Christians. So many similar activities, though not evil in themselves, and even helpful in some ways, aren’t basic kingdom work. However, they salve our consciences because after all we’re doing something.
Steps to Renewing our Spiritual Energy
* Accept the fact that God wants and deserves more than comfortable routine (Rev. 2:4,5) A meaningful existence here that leads to eternal life requires effort and "getting out of our comfort zones." God hates lukewarm routine (Rev. 3:16).
* Confession (James 5:16) If our lives of service in the kingdom have slipped, we need to be humble enough to confess that to God and to others. As we confess to others, we ask for their help, prayers and suggestions as to how to do better.
* Imitation of dedicated people around us (1 Cor. 11:1) Most congregations have dedicated, prayerful saints who are constantly serving others. Imitate them! Ask them to let you accompany them when they are visiting others, distributing tracts or serving in other ways.
* Prayer (1 Thess. 5:17) Every day should begin with a prayer for God’s help to have a pure heart for energetic and effective service.
* Planning (2 Cor. 1:15, 16; 8:18-24) Just like Douglass Hyde in his Communist days; even as we’re preparing for our day we can be thinking of ways we can serve in the kingdom. Unlike Hyde, we can know that the Creator of the universe will back us in all that we do. Who can we call or visit? Do we have some tracts or invitations we can hand to friends at work? If not, where can we get some? Who needs prayers? Who might accept a Bible reading session in their home or at Burger King? Who can we send to encourage others? Make lists! Even if plans need to be adjusted, as was necessary in Paul’s dealings with the Corinthians, they need to be made.
The only full and meaningful life is one dedicated to Christ and his kingdom. May God help us to fight lethargy and easy routine to be truly effective workers.
"Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease, While others fought to win the crown and sailed through bloody seas?" (Isaac Watts)