Jascha Heifetz had a brilliant career as one of the world's greatest violinists. From his earliest concert at the age of nineteen and throughout his career as a violinist his performances demonstrated his mastery of the violin. He never ceased to command respect and this brought him the highest esteem of those who heard him play.
When his concert career ended, he was invited to become a professor of music at UCLA. Shortly after he accepted this position, a reporter conducting an interview with him asked, “Why did you change careers?”
He answered, “Violin playing is a perishable art. It must be passed on as a personal skill; otherwise, it will be lost.”
Christian living is a perishable art. It is a way of living that reflects “the way, the truth and the life” of Jesus Christ. And because it is perishable it must be passed on or the message of the Gospel will be lost and people will not come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
When we become Christians, God gives us a new vocation - not an avocation. An avocation is what we do to entertain ourselves to escape the trying demands of life. The word vocation comes from the Latin word vocatio - a calling. All Christians have a calling.
When we become new creations in Christ, we are called to a new profession: to pass on the Good News.
Prayer: Lord, may we realize, recognize, respect and accept our new calling in Christ and be faithful witnesses to always pass on Your salvation to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Matthew 4:19
Booker T. Washington began life as a slave and ended life as a famous educator, author, orator and political leader. As a young man he wanted to attend Hampton Institute. He often recalled his “entrance exam” the headmaster gave him prior to his admission.
Wanting to be careful before admitting him to the Institute, the headmaster asked him to clean a room. To make sure his work was acceptable he swept the floor three times and dusted it four times.
Unable to find the slightest amount of dirt or dust, the headmaster said, “You'll do to enter this institution.”
“That,” said Washington, “was the turning point in my life.”
Work has always been a significant part of God's creation. Often when we allow our tasks to become sheer drudgery or demeaning, we forget that whatever God calls upon us to do we are to do it as an act of worship and service to Him.
Paul said, “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” For Jesus' sake, we are to work without complaining or resentment because whatever we do we do to honor Him as part of our discipleship.
We were born to work and worship. They go together. Whatever He calls us to do let's pass the “exam.”
Prayer: Lord, we recall with fondness that You were called to work as a laborer in a carpenter’s shop. May we, as You certainly did, do things to the glory of God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not men… Colossians 3:23-25
Andrew Bradford was an early American printer in colonial Philadelphia. In fact, he printed the first newspaper in Pennsylvania in 1729. He also had the contract for all of the public printing in the state.
One day the governor delivered an important speech and Bradford printed it in his newspaper. It contained several mistakes. A young printer saw the poor work and decided to reprint it with care and precision and make it an excellent presentation of his workmanship. He then mailed a copy of it to the governor and his co-workers.
The next year when it was time to issue a new contract for state printing, it was awarded to that young printer: Ben Franklin. He received the contract for all of the public printing for the state of Pennsylvania because he understood what really mattered: excellence.
Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, said this: “For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives.” He wanted them to know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, what was important and what was unimportant, separating the vital from the trivial. He wanted them to have a desire for moral integrity and spiritual discernment. He wanted them to understand the importance of living their Christian values because what they did and how they behaved reflected the importance and meaning of salvation. Their lives were a reflection of what being a Christian was all about.
Paul also prayed that they would keep growing in knowledge and understanding which is the foundation for discernment. It is His discernment that enables us to make the right choices in life.
Prayer: Lord, we pause and pray that we will be pure and blameless in all that we do so that our lives will be an excellent representation of You to those around us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Philippians 1:9-10 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,
He was new at his job of painting yellow lines to divide the city streets. The first day he painted three miles. The second day he painted two miles. On the third day he painted one mile.
Noticing that his work was taking longer and the lines getting shorter, his supervisor went to him and asked, “What’s happening? You did three times as much work the first day as you did today and two times the work yesterday that you did today. What’s going on?”
“Well, sir,” came the reply, “I am getting further and further from the locker where we store the paint and it takes me longer to walk back and forth to get it.”
This is a great example of hard work instead of headwork. To be successful in life it takes both, especially, for the Christian.
The quality and quantity of our work is very important because it reflects our relationship with God.
Paul said, “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive His approval.” It is important for us to remember that God examines our work. There are times when what we do becomes boring or seems to be insignificant; but we must always remember that whatever we do, we are to do it for the glory of God.
Prayer: Lord, may we constantly remind ourselves that whatever we do represents You to those around us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: 2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
Years ago a Jewish immigrant from Russia gave his son a violin for his eighth birthday. After months of lessons and hours of practice he became very accomplished.
Years later while performing at a concert he paused and shared a funny story about an experience he had that day. The audience laughed heartily and applauded loudly. He was so delighted and encouraged by their response that he decided to end his career as a violinist and become a comedian. The violinist who became a comedian was Jack Benny and as a result of his decision he brought joy and happiness, honor and hope to countless thousands.
God has something very special for each of us to do. And he wants to do through us what He has not and cannot do through anyone else. Each of us has a special place in God's heart and a unique role for us to play in His world. Scripture plainly says "To every man his work."
We often struggle and strain to discover what God has for us to do. But, if we are open to the nudging of His Spirit and develop the gifts He has given us, He will present many opportunities for us to serve Him.
Prayer: Lord, we ask that You guard us and guide us as we follow the paths You have planned for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.
An employee was suddenly taken very ill at work and was rushed to the hospital. He was well liked by everyone for his constant humor and great disposition. The first one to visit him at the hospital was his boss.
Standing by the side of his bed and holding his hand, his boss encouraged him by saying, “John, please don’t worry about a thing. Just get well. We’ll all get together and do your work – as soon as we can figure out what you’ve been doing.”
It seems as though every organization has an employee named “John.” He’s over here, over there, everywhere but where he is supposed to be, not doing what he has been hired to do. He’s busy but doing nothing while others take up the slack.
Paul said to “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than people.” We are encouraged to work responsibly as if Jesus were our supervisor. Even when we find our work unsatisfying or unfulfilling at times, we must always remember that God will reward us for what we do and how we will do it, for we do it for His glory.
Prayer: Lord, when our work becomes difficult and we want to quit, encourage us to go on for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:7-8 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
The great American novelist, Sinclair Lewis, was invited to give a lecture to a group of college students who wanted to become writers. As they sat quietly and waited expectantly, he opened his remarks by asking, “How many of you intend to become successful writers?”
Immediately, everyone in the audience held up a hand to declare their intentions.
“In that case,” said Lewis, “my advice to you is to go home and write.”
Shortly after creating Adam, God directed him to care for and tend to the Garden that He had created for him. And ever since then man has been responsible to work with God and take care of His creation. Each day we are to take every task and do it as “though we are working for the Lord.” Why? Because we care!
“Remember,” said Paul, “the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward” if we “work hard and cheerfully.” We must accept every task and each responsibility He offers us as an opportunity to worship and serve Christ every day of our lives.
Prayer:  Father, may we remember that whatever we do, in word or deed, we are to do to the glory of God whom we love and trust. In Christ’s Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today:  Colossians 3:23-24 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.
Most of us who enjoy working and being productive avoid or have a certain amount of contempt for those who are “lazy.”  It is difficult for me to enjoy their company. In fact, if possible, I’ll do whatever is necessary to avoid any association with them. How or when this behavior began may be a mystery for some. However, it was a real problem for Solomon. There are twelve references in Proverbs that address the dangers of laziness. It’s a familiar theme that runs throughout his writings. Perhaps it was a warning to his sons. It may have troubled him when he saw his “employees” trying to get out of their responsibilities and sneak in a nap.

“Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless man goes hungry,” he wrote. Notice how one contributes to the other because laziness is, according to Solomon, self-perpetuating. It actually does seem to go in a circle: A person does not do anything because he is lazy. And if one is lazy and does nothing, the best option for that person is to sleep. Hence, laziness brings on sleep because of the feelings that are the result of not doing anything because of not feeling like doing anything.

Here’s Solomon’s circle: the choice to be lazy is a conscious one that arises from an attitude that one can’t do anything or can’t find anything to do. Either one comes from a choice that is self-centered and results in a state of powerlessness, self-pity and self-defeating behaviors. It is not what God intended when He created mankind. He intended mankind to work in His garden, and in turn, glorify Him for His gifts.

Note the word “shiftless.” A “shiftless worker” is one whose work is “half-hearted” and has a poor work ethic. The “shiftless worker” produces an inferior unacceptable product. Neither head nor heart is involved - they are elsewhere. Soon, they’ll be hungry.

Prayer:  Lord, may we delight in work. May we seek it and in our work, honor You by being faithful, diligent and doing it “right.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 19:15 Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless go hungry.

Unfortunately, most of us do “it” without thinking about “it.” “It” has become part of our nature and we do “it” constantly - much to the displeasure of God. The “It”? Rewarding the undeserving.

Our hearts go out to them: the “unfortunates” - or so we think of them as being “unfortunate.” Or incapable. Or unable. Or not having had opportunities. Or not having a teacher or mentor or who or whatever it took to “get” what they “got.” But if they were or are capable of “getting” what they “got” according to Solomon, the “it” is not fitting. Rarely do we think of them as being what we must recognize: the “unwilling.” This is a category that we have allowed to become eroded from our minds.

“It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury,” wrote Solomon. Perhaps we need to look at “it is not fitting” more closely. It is more accurately translated “inappropriate” for the point he wants us to understand, accept and apply. Unearned gifts to others, no matter how deserving we may think the recipient is, do not reflect God’s wisdom. Those gifts, the “its” of life, are not a result of a person living according to the teachings of God’s Word or the application of His wisdom. Our skills and talents are gifts from God - and what we do with them is our gift to God. Developing our skills and talents to enjoy the “luxuries” of life is important.

Receiving an inheritance or winning the lottery or receiving any gift that is unearned often reveals a person’s “flawed character.” Unearned “gifts” are often squandered in the pursuit of selfish and self-centered “luxuries” that are unneeded, unnecessary and ungodly.

There is nothing essentially wrong with having “luxuries.” But there is something wrong with not earning them by honoring God’s wisdom. Wealth that comes from hard work honors God because we learn the value of earning the “luxuries” that He gives us.

Prayer:  “Work” began with You and is something You did willingly. May we honor You by working for our “luxuries.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 19:10 Luxury is not fitting for a fool, Much less for a servant to rule over princes.

There can be no doubt about the significance of work in the eyes of God. It is a theme that we find throughout His Word. Work glorifies God and is a way to demonstrate our obedience to His plan for our lives as well as a way to worship and honor Him.

Consider Paul. He was a tentmaker by trade but a minister of the gospel, theologian, philosopher, warrior, legal expert, missionary and author of Scripture under the direction of God. In fact, he instituted a “rule” with “the church of the Thessalonians.” This rule was blunt and to the point: “For when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work he shall not eat.’” One does not need a degree in Biblical exegesis to understand that.

Solomon addressed two points of view about work: “He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.” Willing workers will be blessed and have all their needs met. God will see to that. God, however, has another rule: if we know of someone in need, who honestly cannot work or find work, we who are Christians are obligated to help them.

Those who “chase fantasies lack judgment” refer to “delusional” thinking. They are the ones who chase an easy way of living by devising schemes to take advantage of others. They want to receive life’s rewards without hard work and riches from “rackets” not righteousness.

And, yes, they may have “their day.” But, in the end, they “lack judgment” that comes from following God’s way and His wisdom, and ultimately, face His judgment.

Prayer:  Sound judgment, wise decisions and eternal rewards, Lord, come from obedience to Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 12:11 Those who till their land will have plenty of food, but those who follow worthless pursuits have no sense.

1 2 3 4 5