Steve’s Devotional – Never Work for God
OCTOBER 8, 2019
My friend Bruce once said that we should never “work for God.” That sounds like heresy until you hear his explanation: “Stay his child. Working for God always has and always will stink. Being God’s son or daughter and enjoying the privileges of adoption is a blessing of unimagined proportions. Satan’s goal in your life is to have you get from son/heir to day laborer. Don’t make the trade.”
The truth is that I often think of myself more as a day laborer than a son.
I believe that I’m a valued, forgiven and acceptable day laborer. I believe that I’m a loved day laborer, Christ died for this day laborer, and God chose me to be his day laborer.
That’s no small thing.
I’ve worked for God for a very long time…longer than you may have been alive. Frankly, I’m pretty good at it. Some even call me “Reverend.” That means I’m a very good day laborer in God’s fields. I even teach people how to work better in God’s fields. That makes me not only a day laborer, but also a foreman of other day laborers.
That’s no small thing either.
Some even call me “Doctor Brown” and that means I’m a really, really good day laborer and foreman.
I’m not a “doctor.” I’m not even a nurse. My doctorates are phony and received for speaking at academic graduations. I always felt they were “crazy doctorates” until I realized that the people who gave them to me thought that I was one heck of a day laborer or they wouldn’t have asked me to speak, paid me, or given me the phony doctorates.
That’s a big thing.
Frankly, it’s not half bad to be a day laborer. The wages are okay and the retirement plan is outstanding. My boss is benevolent and kind, never demanding more than I can give. When I screw it up, my boss is understanding…and isn’t even surprised.
And in this business of being a day laborer, that’s another big thing.
The problem with a day laborer is…well…you’re “just” a day laborer.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind being “just” a day laborer. I would rather work for my boss than anybody else’s boss. In fact, I’ve tried working for other bosses. They often took advantage of me, demeaned me, promised me stuff on which they refused to deliver, and sometimes left me feeling miserable and alone.
So when I “switched” bosses, I felt it was okay…better than okay.
I’ve always been familiar with Romans 8:14-15, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [and daughters], by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”
I’ve memorized passages like Ephesians 1:5, “… he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”
And I’ve taught Galatians 4:4-7 several times: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons [and daughters]. And because you are sons [and daughters], God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son [or daughter], and if a son [or a daughter], then an heir through God.”
That’s not just a big thing…it’s astounding.
In fact, the more I think about it, the more comfortable I get with the truth of my standing with the boss. In fact, I’ve decided that I’m something else. I don’t ever have to feel inferior, poor or defeated.
The King of everything isn’t my boss…he’s my Father.
A day laborer, when the day is over, goes back to his shack. A son or daughter gets to live in the big house.
A day laborer stays a day laborer as long as his labor is acceptable. There is a limit to how much even a good and benevolent boss will abide. There is always a chance, even with the most patient of bosses, of the boss saying, “I’ve had it with you. Get out of here.” A son or daughter stays a son or daughter no matter what.
A good day laborer gets a good salary and sometimes, when he or she has been particularly valuable, even gets gifts and bonuses. A son or daughter gets everything.
A day laborer is protected as a “producing unit” on the farm as long as he or she produces…but you mess with a son or daughter and you’re in big trouble.
So I’ve stopped working for God as a day laborer. I’m getting too old for this anyway.
Maybe my being a son instead of a day laborer makes me sound a bit flippant and sometimes even offensive. Maybe I seem to take it too much for granted and appear to be a little too cocky. Sometimes I even take advantage of the fact that I’m not a day laborer and do things that would get a day laborer fired. I laugh a lot and that offends some of the other day laborers, and there are times when I even refuse to work.
But I don’t care. Everybody will just have to deal with it. My Father owns this farm and he loves me and will never kick me out. Fathers don’t kick out their children…at least really good fathers, and this one is the best. My elder brother (Jesus) said, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more your Father who is in heaven…” (Matthew 7:11).
If you want, you can have my hoe and shovel, and even my paycheck.
I don’t need them.
You don’t either.
Read John 1:12-13 & Romans 8
Do you think of yourself more as a day laborer or as an adopted child? Describe what that means to you. God, out of his compassion and love, came…and made us his sons and daughters by Christ’s sacrifice. Being adopted into the family of God is not about doing more or trying harder. It’s never about work. It’s all about being welcomed Home by God. It’s all about God’s grace.
For more on the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, Check out this week’s Key Life Broadcast! (10/7 – 10/11, Matthew 20:1-16)