Saturday, August 15, 2009


Is there anything more "Christian" than work? I'm not talking about the hum-drum 9 to 5 stuff, but old-fashioned work that we consider working for God. Teaching, preaching, volunteer work, disaster relief work, vacation Bible school, after school programs, nursery duty....the list could go on infinitum. And sometimes, especially for the foreign missionary, it seems it does!

I've been thinking about work lately. There seems to be a bit of a dichotomy in the scripture with God encouraging us (on one hand) to work and on the other, to rest.
According to Ephesians 2:10, good works were the very reason we were created. There is nothing like the feeling of finding the work you seem to be made to do. I have that sense from time to time. I'm in the grove, my personality and skill-set a puzzle-piece match with some need. In the book of James, we see works held up as the very proof of our salvation.
But salvation is clearly by grace alone. Right?
Sure. Look back at the passage in Ephesians, just prior to the statement that we are created to do good works. It says, "by grace are you saved...."
Matthew 11:28-30 is one of my favorites: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
How do we understand these verses together? Work! Rest!
It's not just a matter of timing. Sure, there is an aspect (see Ecclesiastes 3) that there is a time to rest and a time to work. But I think it has more to do with attitude.
According to 1Corinthians 3:9, we are "God's fellow workers." We are not in this labor alone. In fact, from John 15, we see that we can do nothing without him. 
Grace (God's divine favor towards his children whereby he freely loves, forgives, and exalts undeserving sinners into sonship) and work are inseparable. This is an apparent paradox. I love the way Paul explains his work:
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me."
So the key to all this work is grace. Realize this is an amazing deal. God merely wants us to be a channel of his love to the world, a channel of his grace. We work when we allow him to work through us. He sets up the opportunity, gives us the right words, works by his Spirit through us, and then rewards us for the work in the end. That's grace!
I believe there is a place at the intersection of our passions and our gifts where we find fruitful work in God's kingdom. When it all comes together, it is not because of man's striving. It is because God is at work. That's the essence of Grace! Remember how Louie Giglio described it: Grace is God at work. It's not grace when it's me at work.
Motivation is also key. We don't work in order to gain salvation. We work because salvation was given to us by grace.
Just my thoughts,
Harry Lee

Saturday, August 8, 2009

God loves you-part 2

     God loves us. This is an explosive, life-altering message. But how human to not believe it, or to allow our thoughts to cascade into a thousand other self-demeaning directions. How dare we call unlovely what he has loved with the price of the cross! Yes, God loves us--unconditionally, totally, genuinely. But his love is not a wispy or wimpy "because I love you I will never hassle you about your behavior or call you to account for the ways you disobeyed me." His love demands that we admit our sinfulness, and yet also makes a way of forgiveness--the death of Jesus in our place. Sadly, we pay too little attention to this great love.

     Romans 8: 35-39 tells us that nothing can separate us from God's love.  What incredible news! Nothing can separate me from his love. Not even my particular temperament or my feelings. Nothing. Period.
     This news should be the source of a never-ending refreshing, a spring so cool that it never ceases to satisfy. This news should prompt an overflow of love into the world around us and form the basis for the message we share to initiate the formation of new disciples--in effect, a fulfillment of the Great Commission.
     Not sharing this love is antithetical to its very nature. Our mission as Christians is made easy when we are dwelling in the reality of Romans 8.
     I love the way Eugene Peterson says it in his popular paraphrase:
     "Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settle on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love....(What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celbration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son." Ephesians 1:4-7, Message
     I adapted this blog from my book, "The Cure."
     Have a great day. Relish in this:  GOD LOVES YOU!!!