Who is Doing the Work?

download (6)“There is a difference between “fruit” and “results.” You can get “results” by following surefire formulas, manipulating people, or turning on your charisma; but “fruit” comes from life.  Results are counted and soon become silent statistics, but living fruit remains and continues to multiply to the glory of God ( John 15:16)”  Warren Wiersbe, On Being a Servant of God
 
My friend Mike Wells used to say that when you walk through an apple orchard you don’t hear the apple trees grunting and groaning with all the effort of producing their fruit, but if you went to a factory making plastic apples it would be full of noise and smells…watch out for people claiming to work for God who are noisy and smelly.

Watching Being Watched

Evidently police don’t like being video taped while doing their jobs.  This story out of Lancaster, PA is just one of many I’ve seen in the past few years. I get it.  I don’t particularly like the idea of being video taped while I’m doing my job.  How hard would it be to account for every moment?  Every act?  I know some Christians think it is somehow useful to think of themselves as being watched by God at all times so they will behave or not misbehave or whatever.  I’m not sure I want to live that way.  I’d rather think about God watching my like I watch my children playing.  After all the gospel is the end of the law for those who believe.  I’m not trying to draw within the lines so that God keeps smiling am I?  I want to play like a guy that God showed his full love towards on the cross.  He is pleased with me.  Go ahead and video me.  Its all good.color-outside-the-lines

Irving Berlin and Empty Fulness

A friend asked me if I was worried about writing so much.  “Are you scared you might run out of ideas?”  I see his point.  Every writer fears the block.  Irving Berlin, after a lifetime of success was quoted as saying:  “Talent is only a starting point in business. You’ve got to keep working that talent. Someday I’ll reach for it and it won’t be there.”  Here is a man who produced more successful work than a reasonable person would even dream about, yet he still feared it would run out.  If we write from ourselves and about the world this is a valid fear.  The Christian isn’t running on empty though.  A Christian runs from fulness toward fulness.  A Christian isn’t their own source.  In fact, the more a Christian empties themselves, the more room there is for Christ to work; for Life to produce more life.irving-berlin-corbis-660-80

Work v. Drudgery

After working a lot over the course of several weeks a friend asked me how I felt. “You’re working pretty hard. Does it feel like work?” I realized it didn’t feel like work, but at the same time realized my terminology needs adjusting. The better wording would have been does it feel like drudgery? What I was doing was hard work but it wasn’t drudgery.

Something I missed for years is that the Christian story of the world includes work. Before everything went wrong there was work to do. Work in the Garden, not just the garden. It’s only after the break with God that work morphed into a four letter word.

ChinaTerracedGardens

It is still good to work though. And some work takes us back to the better place. The place where toil and thorns and sweat had not yet become standard.  The time before weekends were worshipped because they represent escape.  Good work suits the way we are made.  Good work is not work for money, it is work that cultivates something both in us and around us.  It brings order to our souls and the souls of others.  Good work is not fancy work.  It can be straining to muscle as much as mind.  Good work is gardening.  It is taking the things God made and growing them for us and for the well being of others.  It is mothering and HVAC, and writing and cooking.

I have to think that the same story of the world that said, “it is not good for man to be alone,” must imply it is not good for man to be idle…it is good to work.  If our work is drudgery, we either need a chance of perspective or a change in vocation or both.