Labor Of Love
Greetings in the name of Jesus! This is Rob Haymes. This is 15 Minutes With Jesus. I want to thank the Lord for giving me this program. Well over a year ago He gave me this program, and He’s been faithful to me every week to give me a program; to give me words to share with you. So these words are from the Lord: I do not spend time trying to think up something to say. I spend time seeking the Lord for what He would have me say. Today’s program is called Labor Of Love. Let’s turn to 2Thess 3:6-16, But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone's bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all. Let’s turn to 1 Thess 4:9-12, But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. Let’s go to Col 3:23-25, And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality. Verse 17, And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Verse 22, Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. Eph 4:28, Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. There are different ways to steal.
Paul and the Apostles labored so as not to be a burden to others. They set the example. God will give you good work to do and bless you in your work as you do it with all your heart unto Him; as you give in obedience to Him. In Genesis, chapter 3, God told Adam, In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken, for dust you are, and to dust you shall return. God ordained in the beginning that we must labor in order to eat. People that labor to find a way to eat without laboring are against the ways of God. They end up in witchcraft, manipulating others to provide for them, or in thefts. In the beginning God put Adam in the Garden and commanded him to dress it; to care for it and to keep it; cultivate it. Gen 2:15, Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. In 2 Thess:3 we read, if any would not work, neither should he eat.
The first thing that God did with me, when I got saved in 1976, was put me to work. Up until that time I had had part time jobs here and there, but I never was able to keep a steady job. I was too interested in my own pleasures. But after I got saved, God put me to work. It was the first thing He did. He started me working in construction in Estes Park, CO. And God blessed me in my work. When I started, with this particular man, a contractor in Estes Park, I decided that I really liked the work, but I had no idea how to do carpentry work. And, so, on the way home one night from work I prayed and I asked God to give me the gift of carpentry. I had one son, and another one on the way, and I asked Him to do that so I could support my family. That’s how I prayed. And you know what, God answered me, and He blessed me, and He began to teach me and give me understanding how to do it; how to do carpentry and construction. He blessed me and He was with me in my work for over 40 years. He blessed me with many good jobs and good customers. The labor that I did, with all my heart, striving for excellence, was a blessing to them, as well as to me, and to those to whom I gave out of my earnings.
Let’s turn to Acts 20:32-35, So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. In the parable of the talents Jesus said to the man who had 10 talents, Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities. Do you think it might take some work, even in a glorified body, to rule over 10 cities? God has work for us to do, and it is glorious, but first we must be found faithful in the smaller tasks that He has given us. Matt 25:24-30, Then he who had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.
But his lord answered and said to him, You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The Bible says that if you won’t provide for your own household, you are worse than an infidel, or unbeliever, and you have denied the faith. Are you faithful on your job? Don’t complain and murmur and speak wickedly about your employer or your coworkers, but, rather, be thankful for them, love them, and do good, and serve them, and God will bless you, and you will overcome. Let’s turn to 1 Pet 2:11-25, Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.
For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Jesus said, If you have not been found faithful in that which is another man’s, who will give you that which is your own. Are you faithful with money? Can you manage $500.00 and not waste it on your desires? Jesus said, If you have not been found faithful with the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches? So the Bible says labor with your hands, doing that which is good, that you may have to give to those that are in need. It is a great blessing to have work given to you by God, and to do it with all your heart, faithfully unto Him. I’m reminded of the beautiful picture in the Book of Ruth: when Boaz, a man of strength and wealth, a righteous man, is coming in the morning by his fields, and he calls out to the workers in the field, The Lord be with you!, and they answered him, The Lord bless you! I always picture it as a beautiful sunny morning, with the sun reflecting on the dew of the grass; just a beautiful picture. Ruth was there that day and she labored faithfully in Boaz’s field, and she obeyed his instructions. She also obeyed her mother in law, Naomi, and she soon became Boaz’s wife, and the great grandmother of King David! It all came through faithful labor and obedience and the blessing of the Lord that was upon Boaz for his faithfulness and labor and kindness to those who worked for him. So rejoice to do the work that God wants you to do, even if it’s not something you want to do. Humble yourself and be faithful in that work, and the time will come when the Lord will bless you with something better. Meanwhile, as you do that job He has given you faithfully, He will bless you in that work. God may want you to quit being a scammer and a schemer and to go clean toilets for a while. If you will humble yourself and obey Him and do it with all your heart unto Him, He will bless you in it, and through it, and He will change you; you will become a more humble and gracious person, and more of a blessing to others. He will send people into your workplace to talk to them about Jesus and His love for them. If we will be faithful and obedient with what He gives us, there is no telling what God might do in our lives. In 1 Cor 2:9, it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.
The most important thing about this is love. Let your work be a labor of love, for God, for the people you are working for, and for your family, as you labor to provide for them. Let yourself become a servant to your Lord, to your boss, to your coworkers, to your loved ones, and to the poor and needy. If you are laboring out of self love, only for yourself; manipulating and oppressing others just to get your money and power and fame, it is all in vain and you are cursed; you are not blessed and you are not a blessing. But there is still hope, if you will consider what I am saying and humble yourself before the Living God, who richly gives us all things to enjoy, and turn from your wicked ways, and do the work that He wants you to do with all your heart unto Him. Stop using all your wisdom and strength to manipulate people and work the system so you don’t have to labor, and you can live off of other people’s labors. Start seeking God for the work He would have you do, and for His wisdom and love to work through you to be a great blessing to others, so that someday you can greet those who are working for you or with you saying, The Lord be with You! And they will answer, The Lord bless you! And you and they will be truly blessed.