1 Kings 18:1-19

            “Obadiah was in charge of Ahab’s palace, but he faithfully worshiped the LORD.  In fact, when Jezebel was trying to kill the LORD’s prophets, Obadiah hid one hundred of them in two caves and gave them food and water.”  Ahab and Jezebel could have starred in the series House of Cardsby just being themselves.  They were a real king and queen who were thoroughly selfish and evil in all of their dealings.  Ahab, enabled and encouraged by his pagan wife, did away with the true worship of God and established the worship of Baal in the land of Israel. 
 
            But this did not mean that God was not active.  In fact, the Lord was working behind the scenes to undermine the systemic evil in the kingdom through a person, Obadiah, who was devoted to God.  Obadiah was not a prophet, a seer, or a priest.  He was a man working in an ungodly world, doing the best he could to serve the Lord.  Just because he was not Elijah did not mean that God couldn’t use Obadiah in the scheme of his will.
 
            Our ordinary everyday jobs and work have been ordained by God to use us where we are.  Rather than lamenting our limitations or wishing the situation were different, we all have an opportunity for God to work through us in our current positions and stations in life.  Every one of us has the opportunity every day to integrate our faith and our work through connecting biblical ethics to concrete applications at our jobs; working evangelistically and seeing our workplaces as mission fields; interpreting our work through a Christian worldview, and discerning that our vocation is a calling from God; and, knowing that our work is a means of God transforming and sanctifying us.
 
            How do you view your job?  How might you connect your faith and your work?  How does your job reflect the nature and character of God?  In what ways do you think God wants to use you at your workplace?
 

 

            Sovereign God, you cause nations to rise and to fall, leaders to rule and be brought down.  Take my life and my work and use it in redemptive ways that glorify the name of Jesus and exemplify the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Psalm 127


            When my wife was growing up her family had a prominent portrait of John Wayne in the living room above the television.  It spoke volumes about the family ethos.  They had horses and loved to ride and enjoy the outdoors.  Hard work was a daily reality of life, as well as a rugged individualism that often suppressed all else in order to engage in work.  Doing your best, striving for excellence, and learning responsibility are good things that mature people do every day.  But there is a fine line between hard work that provides and enriches, and lonely work that is frenetic and fueled by anxiety about the future.
             Today’s psalm gives us a wake-up call that all our work is useless, in vain, unless it is connected to the God who gives strength and sweet sleep.  “It is in vain that your rise up early and late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for God gives to his beloved sleep.”  The motives that lie behind why we burn the candle at both ends are just as important to the Lord as the work itself.  If we independently believe that our life is in our own hands and we work with worry animating our every job, then we have lost touch with the understanding that it is God who ultimately provides us with every good thing in life.  But if we begin to relax and let go of our stubborn independent streak, then we work hard with strength God gives and let him watch over us.
             This trust and connection with God is why work is connected to children being a heritage from the Lord.  Children worked with their parents in the ancient world.  Dad and Mom did not go it alone – it was a family affair, and a community endeavor.  Whenever we slip into the groove of worshiping individualism rather than simply taking personal responsibility, then we must come back to the inter-dependence that we were designed for as people.  The ethos that the psalmist is looking for is trust in God, reliance on others, and working together for the common good of all.  So, who do you need to help you today?  Will you ask for it?  How is God in your plans and your work?

Sovereign God, you created all things and in you everything holds together.  Preserve me with your mighty power that I may not fall into disconnection with you and others, nor be overcome by anxiety.  In all I do direct to the fulfilling of your purposes, through Jesus Christ my Lord.  Amen.