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“You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.” (Psalm 128:2)

A neighbor of mine told me recently about a new piece of lawn equipment he had purchased. As he began to study the owner’s manual, he noticed that every page contained boldly highlighted sentences accentuated with one of two words – Warning or Danger. After reading the many cautionary notices, he said that initially he was somewhat intimidated to use his new device. Then he chuckled a little and stated that he also realized it was the company’s way of limiting their exposure to lawsuits. After all, if the risks were presented to the purchaser, then the manufacturer would have an argument that they made a good faith effort to “let the buyer beware.” His story reminded me of a case I was part of many years ago as I served on jury duty. The situation involved a worker who had become injured while performing normal job duties. The verdict rested on whether or not the employee had received adequate training and had properly applied that training to prevent the injury he had sustained.

One of the greatest warnings ever was issued by God to Adam. “The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden–except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die” (Genesis 2:15-17). A serpent tempts Eve, and through her, Adam, to eat from the tree of forbidden fruit. Because he disobeyed what God had commanded, God said: “By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). Note that in both situations, God continues to provide. In Eden, He provided abundantly.  But when the earth was cursed (Genesis 3:17) following their temptation, they were banished from the Garden. Adam became forced to work the ground from which he had been taken.

Our relationship with Christ should be like a well-tended garden. We have to maintain a daily regime of weeding and watering in whatever labor God has set before us. Sometimes its tedious and tiring, but whatever our status in life – the work which God has placed before us is a gift. Whether we are a physicist or a janitor, a volunteer or a homemaker, a sitter for a young child or a caregiver to an older dependent person – the outcomes of your daily routine most likely benefit someone else. God would again caution us that whenever we are engaged in the task of helping others, we should do it to the best of our ability. Regardless of how menial we might feel about our work, we should never allow the weeds of life to choke out what He is doing for and through us. We should therefore rejoice that every day is Labor Day, and “work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Just like Adam and Eve in Eden, those who do not obey and are ungrateful for His provision will suffer from the consequences. When we are obedient and we choose to follow God’s warnings, we will find ourselves in the shelter of His love. Sadly, most of the warnings God sent through His prophets were disregarded, and millions suffered terrible consequences as a result. Bible prophecy indicates that our nations will not heed His warnings. “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you” (2 Timothy 4:3-5). Our ministry is that which God has set before us. We should regard it as a cherished gift and gratefully work His garden.

REFLECTION: Norman Vincent Peale once said – “Four things for success: work and pray, think and believe.” Can you apply his wisdom to address areas in your life which would enable you to be a more effective servant? In what ways might you ask God to be more sensitive to His warnings and guidance through your daily routine of work?


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