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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Donegal Creek Willows
Willlows along Donegal Creek
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"Serving Wholeheartedly"
"So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 8:15). "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does" (Ephesians 6:7,8).
EverettEverett works here in the Lancaster area. His interesting distinction is that he has worked for the very same company at the very same location for 55 years. He started working at 16 and at 71 he's still going strong and tells me he really enjoys his work. In my chaplaincy visit yesterday he told me he had considered retiring at 62 but his wife felt that he should go ahead and work till 65. At 65 he determined he just enjoyed working and has stayed on.  Each time I visit with him at his workplace I sense this joy.
Today so many have a bad attitude toward their work. In fact many people use the familiar expression TGIF, which is an acronym for "Thank God it's Friday" (there's even a restaurant chain named after this theme, although you can eat there seven days a week.) The attitude this expression conveys is that life really begins with the end of the dreaded work week. Well, I prefer a Bible phrase that declares, "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!"  That's a truth we can declare with each new day!
In today's first text the writer of the Ecclesiastes commends the enjoyment of life. I especially note the phrase "joy will accompany him in his work." What a blessing it is when joy accompanies our work! We enjoy preparing these messages and usually work side by side: Stephen at the desktop and Brooksyne at the laptop.   Writing and preparing these messages daily has its challenges but we find great reward in this ministry as well.  What a joy to regularly hear from readers all over the world who have been blessed or challenged with a message from God's Word.  In fact just as we are writing this message we heard from a brother named Ebenezer from Nigeria who writes often. We're always uplifted to hear from readers locally, nationally, and around the world.

The nature of any type of work presents challenges and it delivers reward.  Challenges give us opportunities to trust God and reward gives us opportunities to thank Him.
The Scriptural teaching in the second daily text is a call to diligence.  This is actually a teaching of the Apostle Paul to Christian slaves but this principle can easily be applied to secular work. Consider the phrase "serve wholeheartedly."  This is specifically pertaining to our work. Now certainly Paul had his priorities right and he was surely not asking the slaves to be any less devoted to Christ.
But in our work responsibilities we should indeed serve wholeheartedly.  Christians should be diligent, and in fact, as a part of their testimony, be among the best exemplary workers any company has!  What kind of employee are you? I encourage you to consider the end use of the product you are making or service you are providing and the blessing it is to so many people.  "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Father, when we're tempted to be halfhearted in our vocational work or find ourselves bored by monotonous repetition help us to find creative means that will make us even more productive and content in our work assignments.  May our conduct and attitude reflect values set forth in Scripture.  Make us a blessing so that we bring joy to our co-workers, supervisors, and to the workplace in general. During times of personality conflict or when disagreements arise bring to our memory file the Scripture that reminds us our primary motivation for being a good worker is that we are serving You when we are diligent in our work.  Though the weekly paycheck is a monetary reward for saying "Well Done" we look forward to the ultimate reward given to us by You when we hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joys of heaven."

Joey CullenThis morning I was blessed to get an email update concerning a young man now serving in missions in Korea. Joey Cullen was a boy when he started attending the church I pastored in New England in the mid-nineties. He went through a period of severe rebellion before accepting Christ and going through the Teen Challenge program. He then went on to Bible College and is faithfully serving the Lord. (It appears he is involved in some type of skit with a Korean man in the photo.)  His mother, Yvette, has a remarkable testimony which we have posted on the website. Joey's older sister Nicole is also faithfully serving the Lord and is getting married in early July.

Mom and Joey CullenAs I consider the Lord's work in Joey's life I recalled a photo of him and my Mom taken many years ago when he came down to visit us shortly after we moved from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania. Mom had such a love for people and I have no doubt that she prayed for Joey many times.

Recommended resources pertaining to
today's message

Christianity 9 to 5: Living Your Faith at Work  Is your Christianity like a light switch that's ON when you're at home, but OFF once you enter the workplace? Dr. Michael Zigarelli's Christianity 9 to 5: Living Your Faith at Work helps you approach your job as a ministry so that the light of Christ is always shining in you! Zigarelli offers a Bible-based model that helps you maintain job satisfaction, establish healthy relationships with co-workers, and most important, apply Christian principles to everyday work situations. 152 pages, softcover, Beacon Hill.

2939023: Rich in Every Way: Everything God Says About Money and PossessionsRich in Every Way: Everything God Says About Money and Possessions  By Gene Getz / Howard Books  Our relationship to our possessions topics are more timely for today's blessed Christians . . . or more neglected. Yet author Gene Getz tells readers that the Bible says more about the things we own than any other subject except the Godhead. His thorough exploration of biblical history reveals overarching "supraprinciples" of ownership that apply to all people everywhere, then and now. Getz shows how Christians can resist the deadly tendency towards selfishness inherent in today's culture and how to use their possessions as effective tools for witness and spiritual growth. Avoiding both the extreme of "selling all and giving to the poor" and the greed-centered "prosperity gospel," he explains the biblical attitude toward possessions: a releasing of "this is mine" view of our possessions and allowing God's gifts to flow through our hands to meet human needs, demonstrating His love to an unbelieving world.

As I considered music to supplement today's message I recalled the old Scripture chorus we often sang in church many years ago, "This is the day that the Lord hath made" but was unable to find an online version. Here's a song many are singing now titled "Lord You Have My Heart" (mp3)

(Check out the full context of today's second passage in Ephesians 6:5-9.)

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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