When work is our idol

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The other day, I saw a post about Charles Spurgeon and his work for the Lord. Known as the “Prince of Preachers”, he wrote about 150 books and preached four to ten times every week. This is not including running a megachurch, directing a theological college, ran an orphanage, and oversaw 66 Christian charities. Ok, I haven’t done any fact-checking but I’ve known he did a lot of work for the Lord while he was alive.

I understand that the purpose of the post is to encourage to labor for the Lord. Afterall, whenever we do God’s work, or any work, requires perseverance and sweat.

But my concern is ar e we putting work, even the work for the Lord, as an idol in our Christian community?

Either in Canada or in Singapore, whenever I engage someone in a conversation, the one question someone asks is, “what do you do?”

It seems a harmless question. We like to find out more about that person. We like to know his or her profession. What do you like to do?

Our society and probably a part of ourselves drive on doing something. If you ain’t doing something significant, you do not consider useful or valuable. In essence, your work determines your self-worth.

Sometimes I see that creep into the Church as well. We define someone as a good Christian because how many ministries he/she is part of.

I don’t have any problem with work. I also enjoy working. Right now, I am in the midst of running a webinar series on Relationships. I get high after teaching a webinar. It feels great.

My problem though is when we define ourselves by the work we do. God formed each of us differently and He has given us different amount of work to do. The key then is not about the amount of work we do but rather whether we are obedience in following Him.

There is no much in publishing 1,000 books for God if God tells you to preach to the nations. Yet, the world and the church will applaud you.

Then, there are works where we deem more valuable than others. But God never place such definition. He simply asks us to be obedience to Him.

Productivity then shouldn’t be based on our output. Rather, it is based on obedience.

Look at Jesus, there are times when He preached, the crowds leave Him because His message was hard to swallow. In fact, often times the crowd turned hostile against Jesus. Jesus wasn’t trying to be ‘productive’ to draw people to Him. He was doing His Father’s Work.

I think this is what we can share with the next generation. I often hear them saying, “I am not doing anything meaningful in my life. I am a failure.” No, you are not. You don’t have to be a Charles Spurgeon or a Hudson Taylor or a Martin Luther or a John Wesley. You simply need to be who God created you to be and as long as you OBEY Him, you will always be PRODUCTIVE.

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By Cliff

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