February 1, Thursday

Devotional Thoughts for This Morning

Why Work?

Genesis 42:6 “Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.”

There is a Christian colleague I catch up with from time to time. A while back, I had confessed to her that I had felt disengaged, unmotivated to work furiously towards the success of our company. She had been feeling the opposite: she felt blessed to work hard. Over the last couple of years, her team had been very successful, and each person had received generous bonuses. To her surprise, she was able to pay off her student loans years ahead of schedule. After she saw how God had used a seemingly worldly thing to miraculously provide in her life, she believed that working hard was a way to honor Him. Upon hearing this, I was chastened and encouraged to work hard as an act of worship.

The “sacred-secular” construct is one that we as Christians often wrestle with – that is, we are tempted to overvalue some types of work because they happen within a church context and undervalue work that does not seem to have eternal consequences. However, we never completely know what God intends to do through and around us. He can use any “holy” or “unholy” part of our lives, like a bonus because of a successful project at work, to bring about a testimony of His grace.

Joseph governed over a land that was not God-fearing. As far as we can tell, he was faithful and committed, and he made wise and fair decisions. Through Joseph’s administration, God provided for both non-believing Egyptians and their believing neighbors during the years of famine. Imagine if Joseph despised being an administrator because it seemed too unspiritual to be used by God! He would have missed the opportunity to let God set redemptive plans in motion.

Today, let’s remember that God is honored when we work diligently. When we use our gifts and talents, we showcase the brilliance of the Creator who made us. We do not know how He will use the work of our hands, but let us keep in mind that being hardworking and responsible is an act of worship. He will open our eyes to see how He aims to use everything for His glory!

Prayer: Father, open our eyes! We are so short-sighted when it comes to what You orchestrate on this earth. We confess that we can be so callous to Your presence all around us. Would You open our eyes so that we can worship You through our work? Give us a fresh perspective on what it means to worship You with the work of our hands. Help us to be faithful and find great joy in our work today. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Numbers 20


Lunch Break Study

Read Colossians 3:1-17
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[c] In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[d] with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,[e] free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”’

Questions to Consider

  1. What does it mean for us to live but still set our lives on things that are above?
  2. After we are instructed to set our mind on things above, what are the rules for how we should live the rest of our lives on earth?
  3. Let’s take note of all the qualities Paul lists here as characteristic of God’s people. Which ones are you good at exhibiting, and which ones can be increased? Pray and ask God to continue to transform our hearts and character.

Notes

  1. Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, our lives are now transformed and hidden with Him. We set our lives on ’things above’ but living with a heavenly perspective. We are completely rooted in the reality of our lives on earth; however, our ultimate purpose, identity, and goals are linked with the eternal life we have with God.
  2. The meaning and impact of our lives are largely defined by the attitudes of the heart. The dimension of our work that is most important revolves around reflecting the image of Christ to those around us. The focus is now whether we love God and others deeply.
  3. Personal reflection

Evening Reflection

Reflect on the past day of work. Did we find an opportunity to find God as we yearned to be faithful and attentive to the tasks at hand?

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