August 7, Saturday

UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on January 26, 2014.  Check out his YouTube channel containing almost 70 videoblogs in English and Spanish. 

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Hope and Work”

Prov. 13:12

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life 

I once read an article about the displaced Innu Indians in Canada entitled, “Expectations Have Grown Thin in a Village That Has Suffered the Starvation of Hope.”  It was about six Innu Indian youths who sniffed deadly gasoline fumes in order to die.  When the half-conscious youths realized that they were being rescued, they screamed “insults, throwing themselves at the walls.”

A while back, I spoke to a young man who was waiting for a call-back after job interviews.  Although the process hadn’t gone exactly as he expected, he was still enjoying the time of uncertainty because at least he had worked hard to put himself in a position where he could at least hope.  As a believer, he had the hope of eternal life; at that moment, however, he was hoping to get a decent job in his field and do something significant with it.

Of course, no human controls all the factors that can precisely guide their future; ultimately, it is in God’s hand.  Having said that, we must handle well a few factors that we do control.   In sports, one strategy to winning is hoping for the opponent to make enough mistakes to hand you the victory.  A team may win a few games playing it that way but never a championship.  

So what are the two factors that we do control?  First, we can work; second, we can work hard.  Imagine that you are hoping to make it big in your field but there is no offer.  Would you rather do nothing or take any job?  A main factor behind the starvation of hope among the Innu Indians was that they had no work, which, financially, was inconsequential since they received a welfare check from the government. Nevertheless, the prospect of no work was very consequential because it led the youth to fall into a state of abject despair.  This is to say, your hope has a better chance of being fulfilled if you work any job.  “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thess. 3:10) is to counter laziness that makes anyone good for nothing.   

Let’s say that you finally landed a job of your dreams, but everyone but you, are getting ahead.  What should do you do?  Work even harder, for “all hard work brings a profit” (Prov. 14:23a).  Would that guarantee the success you have dreamt all your life?  No, not necessarily (for there are other factors, including, unfortunately, discrimination) but we work diligently and earnestly because that is the will of God (Eph. 6:7).  Ultimately, without God’s favor, none of what we do, including hard work, is sufficient to fulfill our goals; but laziness ensures that our situation will remain unchanged.  So, have hope!  Work!  Work hard!  Then rest in the Lord.

Prayer: Dear God, thank You for giving me work.  Help me to be diligent and faithful in what I do.  Thank You for the hope I have in You.  I give all the glory and honor unto You.  Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Revelation 5-6