So I truly wasn’t planning on doing another series so soon after my “Dig a Well” series. And usually, I like to be prepared and have all my posts ready and lined up. But my husband unexpectedly had to teach Sunday School this past Sunday and it kind of just really convicted my heart. I have no idea what the other 11 things will be that I focus on. But I hope you’ll join me as, each month this year, we study on something to focus on.
For January, I am focusing on being a workman.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
Workman here means a toiler, labourer, worker. A person with specified skill in a job or craft. Now, keep in mind this was my husband’s sunday school lesson, so he uses “manly” examples, lol. But still good ones, nonetheless.
My husband loves sports and no one can attest to that more than me. Unfortunately. But he likes to study the athletes. What they do, how they play, train, etc. Their performance is a result of how much time and effort they put in off the court (field, rink, course). The game you watch and how they play oftentimes is the result of how they train. Talent is definitely a factor, but so is hard work and determination to be the best. An athlete that is focused on winning, sees the bigger picture. They realize to end up on top, it’s going to take some diligence. They see what’s important.
And that is where we are failing as Christians when it comes to being a workman. We have lost sight of what’s important. My husband and I have just discussed it this week, we are losing our young people. They come to church and do what’s asked of them, but as soon as they get out on their own, church is no longer a priority. God is no longer a priority. And that’s partly on us. Yes, they make their own decisions, but they’ve seen us, their examples, in church and life in general, put the Lord on the back burner.
We make time for so many things. Fun and sports and work and play. The “if we’re too busy for God, we’re too busy” cliche has gotten so cliche, that it no longer resonates. But it is still the truth. My husband does not wake up every day joyful about going to work. He works hard. It’s a hard job. But he does it because if he doesn’t, we don’t eat. We don’t have clothes or a car or a house. He loves us so much that despite not wanting to get up every morning and go to work, he does it. Because it’s his responsibility to provide and care for us. Even if you don’t have a family, you work because it’s necessary. When did we start thinking that spending time with the Lord and working for Him was unnecessary? We can get up early and get ready for work. Why can’t we get up early and spend time with him in prayer and Bible study? We wake up early to make sure our kids get to school on time or that we make it to their sports events, but we are late for Sunday school? Church? Sometimes we don’t even come at all.
We know the importance of keeping our houses clean. I mean, even if we aren’t the best house keepers, we know that we need clean clothes, clean dishes, floors that aren’t crawling with bugs because we live in filth. Right? But try and get help cleaning a church. Try to get volunteers to help with VBS. Try and get people to give up a Saturday morning to go on church visitation. What’s wrong with us? (And I’m saying us, I’m truly not pointing fingers.) Again, we’ve lost sight of what’s important.
But what if you already do all these things? You can brag that you are a workman already. But why are you? Is it because it’s expected? Because if you don’t, no one will? Or because you want to be able to brag, -I do it all-? Because that’s not what the verse says. It doesn’t say “Study to shew thyself approved unto others…” It’s says “approved unto God.” If I’m doing what I do for a pat on the back, then that’s my reward. If I’m doing what I do because there is no one else to do it, I am going to fizzle out.
So, how do we study to be a workman?
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23
It’s going to take sacrifice. Daily sacrifice. And it’s not going to be easy. Bearing a cross, daily, is not easy. Denying ourselves is not easy. That’s why it’s called sacrifice.
But we don’t WANT to sacrifice. That’s right. Because we’ve lost sight of importance. That’s where focus comes in. We must get our focus back on Jesus. Who He is, what He’s done, how much He’s given us. If I can sacrifice in every other area of my life, I can sacrifice to the One who deserves it most.
“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:” Hebrews 6:10-12
Does no one see your service? That’s ok. God does. It doesn’t matter if no one ever tells you that you did good. Because if we have the right focus, the right heart for service, one day, that Most Important Person, will say; “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” I want the approval of Jesus more than anything. So it’s ok if no one knows. He does.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
Stubborn. That’s what my husband actually admitted to being. Stubborn, when it’s something he really wants. He is steadfastly unmoveable until he gets his way. Because he WANTS it. We cannot be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord if we don’t want to be. It will take a lot of focus to be stedfast.
When I think of something that’s unmoveable, I think of my parents. They have not once compromised their standards or convictions. I know they are human, and we shouldn’t ever put our faith in human frailty. Because in all honesty, anything other than the Lord is sinking sand. But isn’t it a comfort to look around and find someone in this walk of life that you know you can depend on? Because they’ve been steadfast. I want that for my children. I want that for my friends. I want to be that way for my church family and for the people around me. When they look at Faith York, I want them to see steadfastness. Someone that can be counted on to stand for what’s right. A workman. And not one who is in it for recognition or fame. Someone who just wants to please the Lord. I want to be a servant.
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. – Galations 6:7-10
“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
We don’t like to think about reaping and sowing. Mostly because what we reap, we don’t want to sow. But God’s word does not lie. And we aren’t just going to reap what we sow, we will reap more abundantly than what we’ve sown.
Those verses speak for themselves. I want to not be weary in well doing this year. I don’t want to faint. I want to sow good things. I want to be a workman.
The last part of that very first verse I shared, “A workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” I don’t like to be embarrassed. It’s, well, embarrassing. I don’t want to be ashamed when I stand before the Lord at the end of my journey. I don’t want Him to say, “What in the world did you do with all the time I gave you? All the opportunities? The people you could have brought to me?” I think that will go deeply beyond embarrassment. I think it will go deeply beyond ashamed. I don’t think I even have words to describe how it will feel to know I could’ve done so much more for my Savior. I don’t think I’ll stand knowing I did every single thing I could. But I at least want to stand and be able to say I tried. I did my absolute best.
And it’s going to take focus. It’s going to take sacrifice, service, steadfastness.
Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: – Ephesians 6:6-7
That’s my desire.
Will you join me this month in focusing on being a workman? Each day, let’s put the time and effort in. Let’s be ready for those opportunities the Lord gives us. Let’s focus on the big picture. Because when we step on to the court, the consistency and diligence of our training will determine our performance for Him. And that’s something I don’t want to fail in.
Thank you to my husband for being an encouragement to me and for all these thoughts. For being steadfast, even when it’s hard.