Learning to Work
The home is the first institution of learning. It was designed by the Lord in His infinite wisdom for man’s benefit and good. The home provides an ideal atmosphere for children to learn by word and example how to honor and please God. Many of God’s greatest servants have learned valuable lessons at home in their youth.
I was impressed to hear about an outstanding servant of the Lord who faithfully read the Greek New Testament to his infant son. The words of God’s Word became thoughts that later became deeds. That son grew up to become a great servant of God. Parents must realize that the power of example and the dynamic of influence create an environment in the home for children to learn, serve, work, and be motivated for God.
The most fulfilled individuals among us are those who serve the Lord and others. We all are aware that we need to be faithful to the task before us. We need to be motivated to honor the Lord in all areas of life. The home provides a strong support base for the encouragement of family members. Each can help the other to be faithful in witnessing to the lost and winning them to Christ, the only Savior (Acts 4:12).
Witnessing faithfully builds up the individual, the family, and the church. The Bible encourages us with these words: “But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20). This building up process begins in the home. It takes time and a lot of work to build up the family in the good things of the Lord. The time invested is well worth the results.
In the home, children learn to have the proper attitude toward work. Parents and the single parent become role models to their children. It is axiomatic that children will soon become what their parents are. Children learn valuable and practical lessons if their parents set good examples.
Work is a great benefit given by the Lord. It is a privilege designed by the Creator in order that man might think with his mind and labor with his hands. Work is a boon to man in learning to use his time well. It is not only a worthwhile activity, it also has a therapeutic value. Work can provide a release from stress and strain.
Inactivity can be a painful and boring experience. Time can drag along at a snail’s pace for the person without meaningful direction or purpose in his life. Some of the serious problems of urban life have been partially brought about by inactivity and an improper attitude toward work.
Great inventions have come about as a result of persistent work and tireless endeavor. Thomas Edison worked many years to discover the hidden secrets of electricity. Sir Alexander Fleming worked long hours to perfect penicillin. Jonas Salk practically lived in his laboratory for a number of years in discovering a vaccine that has brought mankind a permanent relief from crippling polio.
In the early times of human history, God honored work in a special way. The Lord put man to work before the Fall. The garden of Eden, man’s first home, was a place of breathtaking beauty, comfort, and delight. The garden was the grand product of the wise Creator’s design. Eden was a place of light and love and was unmolested by disease, death, and decay.
Despite Eden’s indescribable wonder, the Bible portrays it as the place of man’s first work assignment and responsibility: “The Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to work it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15). While we do not know all the details of man’s work in Eden before the Fall, the Bible reveals that Adam was to work and keep the garden of Paradise. Even a state of serene innocence would best thrive on a program of activity.
The Lord has called believers to perform good works that honor Him. Man does not work to be saved but works because He is saved (cf. Eph. 2:8-10). The Lord Jesus set an example of working during His redemptive mission on earth. The Master said, “We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day: night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). Jesus commanded the believer to let his light shine before men in order to glorify the God: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).
Surely all of us would do well to back up our talk with our walk. We should let the deeds of our lives give power to the words of our lips. The believer is to be zealous of good works. The Bible says that Jesus “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14). Unger commented, “Such grace demands a life of adorned living in response” (Unger’s Bible Handbook, Moody).
God’s Word says the believer is to show forth good works: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). The Greek words for “peculiar people” signify a people who have become God’s possession. God saves unto good works, admonishing us to be careful to maintain good works and to be zealous of good works.
Good works can be a blessing to children in the home as they see their parents responding to God’s grace in their lives by actively becoming involved in practicing their faith through praying, giving, witnessing, and working. The local church will profit from such spiritual endeavors on the part of families. The local church provides opportunities for families to work for God. An outstanding and successful pastor once remarked in a sermon, “I learned to work for God from my parents who were not afraid of work” (quoted from Wilbur M. Smith in a Moody Bible Institute class).
The benefits to the local church of families working for God may be demonstrated by the following example. One day I heard a lot of commotion in an upstairs room in the educational building of the church where I served as pastor. I left my study to see firsthand what was going on. To my joyous delight, I found a whole family, plus several more boys of Sunday school junior age redecorating a room. The parents were doing an excellent job in working and supervising the project. When they completed their work, the room was beautiful.
The enthusiasm did not stop with that one-room project, other rooms were beautifully redecorated. I was reminded that a new generation of workers was being challenged to care for the upkeep of the local church. The key to the success of the project lay in the parents’ taking time to set an example before the youngsters. Our deeds give dynamic thrust to our words. The believer who faithfully works for God will be rewarded (cf. 1 Cor. 3:11-14).
Jesus made it clear that no service is too small to be recorded: “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward” (Matt. 10:42). Children should be taught and shown by example that a person does not always have to do something big in order to perform a service that honors God. Giving a cup of cold water to a servant of the Lord is actually rendering a service unto the Lord.
Jesus taught that God honors faithfulness in our service for Him: “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” (Matt. 25:21).
Paul used himself as an example in stating that fighting the good fight of faith and loving the Lord’s return will be honored by the Lord: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day: and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
Parents can be a source of great help and encouragement to their children in talking about the Lord’s coming again to rapture the church into glory. The Lord will honor the parents who keep this tremendous truth before their children. Believers who struggle to be victorious over temptation will also be rewarded. Believers should be determined to overcome trials and troubles in the strength of the Lord. The Bible promises, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (Jas. 1:12)
Let us as believers renew and dedicate ourselves to the Lord with holy resolve and commitment. Our resolve and commitment will encourage our children to be faithful in serving the Lord. Let us as believers pray that God will give us strong families in these days of opportunity. If some are unsaved, let us witness to our family members in order that they may come to salvation and surrender themselves for service to our Lord.