“Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading trough; The Lord shall command the blessing upon you in your storehouse and in all that you undertake….”
Deuteronomy 28: 5, 8
“The Business at Hand”
“Hard work is the yeast that raises the dough.”
How has God blessed me in all that I have undertaken?
“Work becomes worship when done for the Lord.”
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
Colossians 3: 23
My dad was the most industrious person I’ve ever met. Orphaned at six months of age, Daddy spent his summers working in lettuce packing houses in the hot Arizona sun. As a young boy, he often had two or three jobs and throughout high school and college, continued with his dedicated work ethic. During his college years, he went to school in the day, slept a little in the afternoon then drove 30 minutes to a local Veterans’ Hospital where he worked all night as an orderly to pay his living expenses.
Daddy’s diligence was a trait he engrained in his two daughters, as my sister and I like to call ourselves, “Daddy-boy’s worker bees.” (Our nickname for our father was “Daddy-boy.”)
The most important thing our father taught us was that ALL we did, even our secular jobs, should be done as though God was our employer not man, just like the Apostle Paul wrote to his friends in Colossia.
The idea that all we do is done for God is, I believe, one of the most important elements in having a successful working career. As I am certain we can all attest to, this world is full of some interesting people – some who are not nice at all. At one time or another, all of us have ended up with a horrid boss. Years ago, when I was working as a nurse, the hospital which was quite small, hired a new Director of Nurses. Because there wasn’t a huge staff, all of the Registered Nurses had direct contact with this lady. Believe me, we were always on our guard when this woman was around. She would demean you. Scream at you. Embarrass you, if she could. And the hospital management didn’t seem to mind her intimidating tactics. Work was hell! But how thankful I was that my dad had taught me that I worked for my heavenly Father not a meanie whose demeanor was so abusive. When I walked into the room of a sick patient who needed my nursing care and love, I tried to take my Heavenly Employer in with me, for God’s healing, I found, was what my patients needed most.
The great preacher and one of my favorites, Charles Spurgeon, asked this question about work: “We have worked, we have even worked hard; but the question comes to us – ‘What have we worked for? Who has been our master?’”
Our text in Deuteronomy 28: 5 is God’s assurance when we, “work for the Lord, not for men” our basket and kneading trough, those things we make with our hands or use our hands to create, will be fashioned for the glory of God. As the King James Version of the Bible so eloquently states: “In all that thou settest thy hand unto; He shall bless thee.”
Several weeks before my dad died suddenly nearly 22 years ago, we were fortunate to spend a few days together. At that time, neither my dad or I knew our time together would be shortened. It was very early in the morning and the two of us “early risers” went outside to watch the sun come up.
As we talked, my dad made this comment. “Dorothy, many years ago, as a young man, I committed my life to God. When I did, I promised Him I would work for Him all my life. Someday, I’ll see Him face-to-face and I’ll be able to say: ‘When I put my hand to the plow for You, I never let go.’”
I love the way The Message Bible paraphrases Colossians 3: 23, “Don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God…. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ.”
As Deuteronomy 28 points out, no matter what the work of our hands, nothing by God’s children is ever “menial” or “common” work. George Smith Patton penned this beautiful thought: “If a man is called a street-sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street-sweeper, who did his job well,’”
In the words of Moses, God’s blessing and His presence is upon your basket and bread bowl; and on your barns and workplaces.”
“A (worker) with this clause
Makes drudgery divine;
Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws
Makes that action fine.”
God Give Me Work
“God give me work
Till my life shall end
Till my work is done.”
“That which I give my energy to;
which I love
This is my work –
that which I must do
on a daily basis
in order to live
and to prove
that I am fully alive.
Lord, thank you that as we work in the world
engaging our best energies
in that which is before us,
you work within us
through that same struggle,
the fabric of our redemption.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Available May 2009