January 28, 2021

Jan 28, 2021    Ron Mathre
A carpenter who was nearing retirement told his boss that he was ready to end his career and spend his time with his wife and family. He would miss his work, but he felt it was time to spend his time with the people who were important to him. His boss was saddened by this news, as this carpenter had been a good, reliable employee for many years. He asked the carpenter if he could do him a favor and build just one more house. The carpenter reluctantly conceded, even though his passion for building had faded. While he was building this last house, his normal work ethic faded and his efforts were mediocre, at best. He used inexpensive and inferior materials and cut corners wherever he could. It was a poor way to finish such a dedicated career that he once had. When the carpenter was finished, his boss came to look at the house. He gave the key to the carpenter and said, “This house is my gift to you for all of the hard work you have done for me over the years.”

The carpenter was astonished. What a generous gift this was to receive from his boss, but if he had known he was building a house for himself, he would have made his usual efforts to create a high-quality home. (Author Unknown)

Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people, knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

These verses came to mind immediately as I read the end of the story above. You see, our goal & focus is to be on our spiritual reward, there’s no direct mention of an earthly one. Sometimes we may be allowed to see both but, only one is promised. What I do know is that it’s very difficult to do things heartily unless you are invested in to the point of finding joy and purpose in what you’re doing.

I don’t know if this is a perfect tie in but, a few years ago there was a kids Sunday school song written with a catchy melody and some of you might say a bit of a corny lyric. Here is the chorus, “God Loves a Cheerful Giver. Give it all you've got, He loves to hear you laughing. when you’re in an awkward spot. When the odds add up against you, It's time to stop and sing, “Praise God,” to praise Him is a joyous thing.”

Many times, in God’s Word, we see examples of life situations and trajectory changed through obedience and the sacrifice of praise. Just guessing here but, I suspect there are many of you who, along with me; feel we are in an awkward spot. With all that’s going on in our country and world today, it may be tempting to lose heart and not put forth our best effort. We need to remind ourselves, when those temptations present what may appear an easy way out, that we are really in transit to our eternal home.

The Bible is clear that we are justified, saved by faith, of that I am convinced and thankful. With that said, the book of James makes clear that faith & works are so tightly interwoven that they are inseparable. How else is the world going to see Jesus, and our faith on display today, if not through the works of our lives? Granted, most of us will never build a house but, God has gifted each of us with something we are good at. Some gifts may not seem as glamorous or glitzy as others but, please don’t allow that to discourage you. There is nothing insignificant in the eyes of the One who sees the sparrow fall.

That little song has three verses each one about a different Bible character, Job, Jonah, & Peter. As much as we would like to identify with the pillar of faith and hope Job, I have to admit to being more inclined toward being like the impetuous Peter or the dour Jonah at times in life. May God grant us the grace daily to hold to the message of hope from Job 19:25 Yet as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last, He will take His stand on the earth. Give Him all you’ve got and finish strong.

Praise Him,

Ron Mathre