One of the things I learned at a very young age is that all great endeavors take a lot of hard work and effort. Whether it’s music, art, an invention or whatever, every great work requires that you put effort into it. In fact, you can have all the natural talent in the world and do wonderful things, but if you don’t put the work into it, nothing comes of having that talent. It is hard work that creates things of value.
The noted scientist and inventor, Thomas Edison, once said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
The sign of true genius is the ability to take a thought or concept, develop it and then create something of extreme value. It is not enough to tell the world that you are a genius unless you are able to show a tangible example of what you’re capable of. You can say anything you want about your IQ and how smart you are, but you have to be able to back up those words.
Our Christian lives are the same way. It is not enough to say we are Christian. We must work hard at our faith and be able to show the world that we truly believe what we say. It takes a lot of effort and dedication to be a Christian. It is more than just saying you believe. It requires that you put a lot of effort into your new life.
The author of the Book of Hebrews wrote, “Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.”
As Christians, our lives are devoted to working in the Kingdom and doing, what we often refer to, God’s work. In the Kingdom, no one ever retires. We work tirelessly for the Lord and do what we are commanded to do. All the things we do are for the glory of the Lord. Nothing comes easy for Christians. Everything requires us to work. We work for peace and we work at living a life dedicated to righteousness. Our reward for doing what we are commanded to do is eternal life with the Father in a place where there will be no more tears, death, sorrow or pain. All of those things will be gone forever.
The other thing about our work is that we have chosen this path for ourselves. God has provided us the gift of salvation, but we must choose to accept it. Before accepting that gift, we already know what is required of us. There is no fine print or disclaimers when it comes to the Lord’s promises. We must toil in the fields to bring in the harvest. There are people who live in darkness and need to hear the Word of God. That is the work we must devote our lives to.
Paul, in chapter three of his epistle to the Colossians, writes, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”
As we work our daily jobs, we must do them as if we are doing them for the Lord. In the minds of some, there is work and then there are our private lives. In one, we are followers of Christ Jesus and in the other, we are just trying to make a living. When it comes to living as a Christian, there is no separation between the two. Our lives must reflect all that we have learned and accepted as truth.
You cannot worship God only on the Sabbath and then worship money on the rest of the days. You cannot profess your love for God and others and then on the other days cheat people and say that it is only business. That is not what we are to do as Christians.
Our lives must always reflect the glory and light of God back into the world and, at the same time, all the glory and recognition we receive must be given back to God. He is the one who has given us the talents and abilities to do extraordinary things.
In chapter two of his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul tells them and us, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
As His masterpiece of creation, we are not to squander the talents He has given us. Since the beginning of time, God had planned our lives and given us great talents and the ability to serve not only Him but also others. If we fail to live up to His plans, then we are wasting our lives and taking those God-given talents for granted.
Think about this. There are those who can teach others. Others can preach. Others can do other things that bring glory to God. All of these things come from God. They are gifts from Him and we are to use them in the best and most righteous way possible.
James, in chapter one of his book, writes, “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”
Every single “good and perfect” gift comes directly to each of us. He intends for us to use them not for our own benefit but for the benefit of others and for the glory of God. He has never nor will ever lie or cast a shifting shadow with us. His words and promises are true and will always remain that way. Those wonderful and good gifts must be used in only one way, for the good as they were intended to be.
When we use them for our own personal gain or telling people that what they received from God came from their own hard work, we are dishonoring God. This is the way of this fallen world. By doing that, they push God out of their lives and only work to bring glory to themselves. That approach to life will only bring destruction to themselves and all those who decide to follow their example.
We should always use the talents we have received from the Lord for good and bring honor to Him. But, it is not enough to just have the talents, we must work hard at whatever we put our hand to. By living our lives in that way, we tell the world that there is hope and that there is a light that pierces the darkness that can guide them to a life full of joy and meaning. That life is a gift from God. Once we accept that gift, we are to work hard and devote ourselves to all the work in the Kingdom. When we work for others, we should do everything as if we are working for our Master, Christ Jesus. Living that way is the only way for us to stand firm in His grace.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.