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Tuesday, September 4, 2012
We meet many interesting people in the course of our chaplaincy work. Last week we visited with Gene, an amazing 88 year old, who was driving a forklift in one of our plants. He continues to work five days a week along with a second job on a farm! Gene just enjoys working! Several years ago we saw him through some hard times during hospital visits, unsure that he was going to recover from his illness, but he has fully recovered and bounced back. Gene's smile in the photo is very typical. He pulls off his work gloves and extends a hearty handshake during our weekly visits.
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"To Live Our Lives Responsibly"
"For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: 'If a man will not work, he shall not eat'. We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12).
There's a call going out, across the land in every nation,
A call to all who swear allegiance, to the cross of Christ,
A call to true humility, to live our lives responsibly,
To deepen our devotion, to the cross at any price.
When I was a teenager I worked with my dad who, at that time, was employed by a company that installed and serviced air conditioning throughout the Kansas City area. Working with him during the cooler season wasn't so bad but there were hot summer days that exceeded 100 degrees with A/C units located on the roofs. That was brutal!
Daddy was a big man in his mid-fifties at the time, which is similar to my present age. I now personally realize how grueling the work was for him but he had the classic work ethic his generation is well known for with a strong sense of duty in providing for his family. He lived his life responsibly and that's a great heritage for a father to leave his children.
Let's consider how we can live our lives responsibly today in light of Scripture:
1) There are those who aspire to self-sufficient independence. A major goal of many in my generation (known as baby boomers) is "financial independence". This means working hard and planning ahead so that one is "set for life". This was the major goal of a man whom God called a fool in (Luke 12:16-21). Jesus teaches us to live one day at a time and, although hard work and planning is prudent, (consider the ant) we must be certain that our reliance is not on our own hard work, achievements or planning, but rather on God.
2) There are those who live irresponsibly in unhealthy and unbiblical dependence on others. Paul's statements are needed today with so many having the entitlement attitude: "the world owes me a living". This is a dominant and growing sin of our time. Paul's simple, straightforward rule to the Thessalonians, "If a man will not work, he shall not eat", flies right in the face of the current welfare state mentality. Perhaps even more blunt is his statement, "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Timothy 5:8). Faithful preachers need to preach on these passages!
Such statements sound unkind and unsympathetic to many in a generation bred under the prevalent philosophical view of "cradle to grave dependency". (Note however, that in other passages such as 1 Timothy 5:3, Paul advocates care for the genuinely needy).
3) The biblical teaching on this matter is the call to personal responsibility. Paul commanded and urged the Thessalonians to "settle down and earn the bread they eat". In other words God has ordained that we labor. We must be cautious about both an unhealthy attitude of independence that leads us to trust in ourselves rather than God, and that of dependence on others developing an attitude of laziness or personal irresponsibility.
Today as you work remember the words of Scripture and see your labor as an act of faith, obedience, and personal responsibility.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, all that we have is a gift from You, including that which comes to us through the work of our hands. You provide for us as you see beforehand all that we have need of. We're confident that You bless people who work by the sweat of their brow, responsibly caring for those in their charge. For some who have lost their jobs and fear that their home or life savings is in jeopardy we pray that You would open a door of gainful employment. Until then it is reassuring to know that Your daily provisions come in the most unexpected ways when it is not within our own ability to earn an income. Help us to remember that no matter what our circumstance we are entirely reliant on Your benevolent kindness to us. Amen.
Note: For many the economic downturn over the past few years has thrown a real curve to those who seeking to be responsible. I have a friend who has been out of work for several years and has used much of his savings intended for retirement.
We enjoy going to the Lancaster Barnstormers minor league baseball games on occasion and among our favorite features is Cylo, the team's very colorful and humorous mascot. Here he is serving as umpire during the warm-up. Throughout the game he cheers the team on and moves among the stands greeting fans.
The Barnstormers play at Clipper Stadium which was built since we moved to this area.
It's a small ball park with good views.
Butch Hobson, the manager played major league ball for Boston and later managed the Red Sox in the early nineties. He's a very colorful manager!
Cylo is loved by all, both young and small.
All Barnstormer photos are from Ester's photo collection.
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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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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