Sunday, September 22, 2019

All labor and all skill

“Again, I saw that for all toil and every skillful work a man is envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind” (Ecclesiastes 4:4).

Everything man does is one man striving against another man.

That's a humbling thought. We all get hungry. We all need to eat. “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). One primary point of working is to earn money to buy food (if one does not work his own food source). The only way to earn money is to exchange value with others. We must engage with others, and all our interpersonal activities are in some way motivated to satisfy and please our desires.

God demonstrates the opposite way. “For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me’” (Romans 15:3).

Jesus Christ did not please himself. To get an idea of how not pleased He was with the task before Him, consider He “who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).

Leading up to the death of the cross, “He knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.’ Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:41-44).

Sweating blood in agony is not something done to please oneself. He emphatically laid aside His own pleasure on our behalf. The Father “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

He laid aside his pleasure for a greater pleasure. As a result of His obedience, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

If we want to show the world what God is like, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification” (Romans 15:2).

Figure out the target of your service.
• Do you serve money to meet your desires?
• Do you serve God and others to meet His desires?

It's one or the other (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13).

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