Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Monday, September 5, 2011

What About God and Labor?

Nope, this isn’t about God’s opinion on organized unions, even though this is being written on Labor Day, a holiday created to “honor” those organizations. This is about God’s commands about working. This posting is based on my viewing of episode 11 of The Truth Project.

Let me start this dissertation with a quote from Exodus, specifically, chapter 20 and verse 8:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

Yep. That is God’s instructions in the Ten Commandments about honoring the 7th day for rest and worship. But, wait. There is more to that commandment. Now, let’s look at the following verses:

9 Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath unto Jehovah thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 for in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore Jehovah blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

Verse 9 speaks to working for six days. So, just as it is explained in verse 11 that God worked for 6 days, so is man to work for six days. The Truth Project carries the ideas of work further than these few verses.

As brought out in the video, God has principals to economics. In fact we could list about seven of them.

1. All things belong to God.

2. God appointed man to do a creative stewardship of His goods with “ownership” rights.

3. Theft of another’s goods is wrong, just as is coveting another man’s goods.

4. Skills and abilities to work come from God.

5. Work is profitable, good and to be pursued, while laziness is not good.

6. Love God and not your goods.

7. Be compassionate and generous with your goods to those in need.

Now, before someone jumps up and says that, “Yep, we’re supposed to be generous to the poor,” I should explain that God later says that owners should not glean all of their crops, but leave some for the poor. He did NOT say that the owners were supposed to glean the crop and give it to the poor. God wanted the poor to be able to work for themselves in going to the fields and vineyards and “harvest” their own from that which was left for them. (Also see Deuteronomy 24:19.)

Since Christians base most of their beliefs on the teachings of the New Testament, allow me to provide some verses from II Thessalonians 3, specifically verses 6 through 10, with special emphasis on that last of verse 10:

6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching[a] you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.

But, this is not the first admonishment that idle people should not gain at the expense of others. Isaiah spoke along the same lines in chapter 65:

21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.

22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree shall be the days of my people, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

So, does God like business? There must be evidence of that since it is mentioned that we are to work, and why work if there is no “profit” to gain? However, we are to remember that we are but stewards of God’s goods, not truly the owners of them.

Social System Circle Work

As humans, we’ve been granted skills by God which we are to use to benefit ourselves but to also glorify God. Towards this end, The Truth Project spoke of Bach placing three letters at the end of each of his “works.” Those letters were “S-D-G” and stood for “Soli Deo Gloria,” or translated from the Latin, “For God’s Glory Alone.”

Does God love a cheerful worker? I would have to think so, since our works glorify Him. I guess we could by like a child that is told that on Sunday (the seventh day) he would have to put up his toys and not play with them. While it might be that we would be pleased to work 7 days a week, God intends for us to have a day of rest.

From the time of Adam, when he was put into the Garden of Eden to care for it, and up until now, we should all take pleasure in our work and what we do to glorify Him. I pray that what I do in my endeavors will do just that.

One of my meager works, which is nothing more than a photograph of something beautiful that He has created.  Mammoth Hot Springs at Yellowstone National Park in 2002.


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