The Lord Jesus has provided us with a unique opportunity to serve him in these times. This opportunity pertains to work, a Christian ethic of work, and the Christian’s spirit in his particular work. The opportunity is not without its hardships, for there is also a bitter war against work, self-government, and government independence. Followers of the Lamb are the least likely to follow plans to remake human societies along the lines of secularist ideas and globalists utopias, which are popularly known as “the new world order.”
That order is nothing new. It has been tried many times and has always failed. The Lord of Hosts opposes and fights against every attempt to build a tower to heaven to “make a name for ourselves” (Gen. 11:4). It was retried later in the world kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and then more recently through European nationalism, communism, and now American statism. God’s enemies envision a new tower, a fresh Babel, of economic control. Satan is behind our cheap imitation of the older towers, but he is not a creator but an instigator, a deceiver, and a murderer. The end of this tower will be the same as previous versions – destruction. Whether Jesus Christ will destroy this tower “by the brightness of his coming” (2 Thess. 2:8), or by his judgments throughout history that punish those who “will not have this man to rule over us” (Luke 19:14), man’s city and tower will fall. Our Lord will purify his church through these conflicts (1 Pet. 4:17). His gospel kingdom will demolish the tower of men (Dan. 2:44-45).
Living under the shadow of these Babel’s is difficult, and we must shoulder our crosses, deny ourselves, and follow the Lamb wherever he leads (Matt. 16:24; Rom. 14:4). We must be ready, far more prepared and willing than perhaps we have been, to give those who ask us a reason for our hope (1 Pet. 3:15) and labor to resist the imaginations of men that oppose Jesus Christ, with the arsenal of invincible weapons he has given to us (2 Cor. 10:4-5; Eph. 6:10-18). We must also pray for the powers that be, that our wise and omnipotent God and Father will so rule and overrule in the affairs of men that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, and work quietly, minding our own business, and thereby provide for ourselves, support one another as need demands, and live out the reign of Christ in our particular callings (1 Thess. 4:11; 1 Tim. 2:2-4).
Let us think for a moment about this surprising call to work. Apparently some in the first-century church felt that Christ’s new creation meant an end to the original creation order of marriage and work. Others were busybodies (2 Thess. 3:11) and would not settle into diligent work (1 Tim. 5:13). This same giddy spirit is at work today, discouraging women from fulfilling their God-given and unique callings and paralyzing and emasculating men through threats and fear. This spirit of “new creation spirituality” often tries to bring a false view of the heavenly state into the present in the form of egalitarianism between the sexes, altering God’s revealed order, and dispensing with our Savior’s instructions to men and women to be faithful in their callings in family, work, and worship. We must close our ears against these sirens and settle down in Christ, be rooted and ground in him (Col. 2:7). True spirituality and the enjoyment and glorifying of God are being and doing what he has created and called us to do.
In our present mix, God’s enemies are attacking work. I read a recent article in a progressive periodical that “envisioned life without work.” Revolutionaries always target work. They vilify it for one underlying reason. Work is an aspect of man’s imitation of God, the practical functioning of man in his image. God worked six days creating the heavens and the earth, and he rested the seventh day. He established this same pattern for man. Man is like his Maker when he shoulders the responsibility of work, and especially when he undertakes his work to glorify his Maker. Secularists must make war against man in God’s image, and therefore they attack work. Our Savior through his apostles encouraged faithfulness in work, doing our work unto Christ, whether slave or free. Work is the main way God provides for our earthly needs. As we do our work heartily unto Christ, we glorify him, adorn his gospel, and further his rule or kingdom by bringing his grace and word to bear upon every legitimate human effort, so that “holiness to the Lord” is stamped upon all we do (Zech. 14:20).
Work is a challenge, for we shall not escape thorns and thistles (Gen. 3:18-19), even as believers. When men are paid not to work, when the paternal state promises to provide for man’s needs, his covetousness is fueled. It creates a firestorm in society. Cities burn, as we have seen. Imagine how much productive work could be done, callings pursued, and real wealth produced if the revolutionaries would go home, get to work, mind their own business, and leave the government of the world in God’s hands. But this is impossible for those who have no faith in God. It is impossible for those portions of our society that have been fed the lie of having everything you want while others pay for it. It is not a new and equitable society that will be created but a slave society. But Satan loves tyranny and slavery, and if men sow seeds of covetousness, they will reap misery and poverty and statism.
The early believers lived in the shadow of the Roman Babel. What did the Lord tell them to do? March in the streets, of course! Start women’s ministries encouraging egalitarianism in the church? Spend all your time blogging about how bad “they” are and gaining followers and agitating the church, and distracting everyone from what God has called them to do? Our Savior commands us to work, to be quiet, to serve Christ where he has called us (1 Cor. 7:17-20). Whatever our station or abilities, we are to abide there, not dreaming up a better world but leaving it to the King of kings to build the kingdom and church he has purposed, without meddling in things too high for us.
But in this war against work, we face significant changes, life-changing decisions, the inherent danger of corporation-ism, and the need to rethink what kinds of work we pursue. We require resolve not to compromise God’s truth to put bread on the table and contentment with not all the bread we might prefer. We need a generational creativity respecting work and more thoughtful preparation of our children, especially in the trades, economic self-sufficiency, and diligence. We have a real opportunity to create a wealth-generating, productive Christian population, even while unbelief burns itself out through institutional covetousness and society-wide dependence upon government printing presses. They are running out of ink, and our leaders’ foolishness is creating poverty before our very eyes. But the Lord will provide for us. Even when businesses require you to burn incense to the image of the Emperor, i.e., a mandatory vaccine, remember that the Lord provided Daniel and his friends a way out of the requirement. Let us walk more closely with the Lord and be wiser and bolder in trusting the Lord, and he will work for us. Remember that we have something as believers that the world does not – the Spirit of the living God within us (John 14:17). It is unbelieving on our part to despair, be angry, and give up, for this is to deny our adoption and to doubt God is our Father. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.”
We must be willing to adapt, to develop skills and trades that are in regular demand, modify present skills, and be content with less, but also demand more of ourselves, in the strength of Jesus Christ. I very much appreciate the constant advice and efforts of a man like Booker T. Washington, though not always his political associations, who said that the way for all races to improve themselves, especially the black race, was not social agitation but hard work, learning an honest trade, and pursuing it with zeal, self-denial, and contentment. He regularly called upon leaders in all ethnic communities to distance themselves from political radicals and instead focus upon thrift and diligence. If our leaders would learn these lessons again, we would throw off the yoke of statism, corporate and statist welfare, and learn dependence upon God for our daily bread, not the false promises of a self-interested state. But there is little control or money in encouraging people to be content and serve God quietly. There is certainly no ability to create fear and unrest among a diligent, intelligent, and hardworking people.
The Lord will direct our steps, for he is our Shepherd. He will lead us where he wants us to go, for he working out his wise plan in our lives (John 10:3). We do not know that plan but must trust him, abide in his word, and faithfully live by his revealed will in Scripture. Those who fear the Lord must take frequent counsel together (Mal. 3:16), not that we are delivered by many words, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. If we are humbled before the Lord, attentive to his word, and constant in prayer, we may depend that he will work in our midst. Then, we will work, “according to his working that works in us mightily” (Col. 1:29). In this war on work, we may be encouraged that the Lord of hosts is on our side, for he works, and his Son works (John 5:17). By his amazing grace, we are co-laborers (1 Cor. 3:9) with him as we do our work heartily unto him in his strength. The lazy have no future. But, “Do you see a man diligent in his business? He will stand before kings,” before the King (Prov. 22:29).