The EVIDENCE of a Christian -- HARD WORK!
by Garner Ted Armstrong
ARE YOU denying Christ? "Certainly not!" you hasten to
answer. But wait!
Jesus Christ came to this earth to set us an EXAMPLE that we
should follow in His steps. He lived an active, vigorous life --
a life FILED with ZEAL, with ROBUST HEALTH, and real live
VITALITY! It may come as a SHOCK to realize that perhaps YOU
have been denying your very Saviour!
First and foremost, Jesus Christ came teaching OBEDIENCE to
God the Father. His message was concerned with a WAY of life!
That WAY of life was not only TAUGHT by Jesus -- it was LIVED by
Him -- perfectly! The ten great commandments, which are living,
irrevocable LAWS -- express the very ROOT AND FOUNDATION of that
WAY of obedience. Christ said "If you love me, KEEP MY
COMMANDMENTS" (John 14:15). One of those commandments is a sign
of identification between God and His true people. And yet -- it
seems that some have OVERLOOKED a part of this great LAW.
Piercing the very core of all human disregard and laziness comes
the reverberating THUNDER in the voice of the GREAT CREATOR of
this universe! "SIX DAYS SHALT THOU LABOR, and do all thy work"
DARE we disobey this direct COMMAND?
A Message About WORK
The most well-balanced man WHO EVER LIVED was Jesus Christ,
the Son of the living God. Had you ever realized that fact?
Jesus said He was sent to this earth to "WORK THE WORKS of the
Father," who had sent Him! (John 9:4) His MESSAGE was concerned
with ZEALOUS WORK!
Read again an example Christ used to illustrate His message in
Matthew 21:28-31. Notice, "... a certain man had two sons; and
he came to the first, and said, Son, go WORK today in my
vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he
repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said
likewise. And he answered and said, I GO, sir: and went not.
Christ's next question was "Which of the two did the will of
the father?" READ the answer in your own Bible! The FIRST, of
course! Even though he had first refused -- he repented, and
then DID something about it. But the other son -- though
PROFESSING to obey -- DID NOT WORK!
Some of YOU may be in danger of showing God BY YOUR WORKS that
YOU belong in the SAME status as the second son!
Perhaps you have SEEN the truth! Being able to SEE the
difference between the pagan doctrines of demons and the very
precious TRUTH of God, you nod your head -- you're willing to "go
along" with it. Many have been able to SEE the truth of God by
the REASONING of their minds -- but, in actual PRACTICE -- they
deny the very truth which they profess -- BECAUSE THEY REFUSE TO
WORK at the business of being a Christian, to SHOW God THEY
REALLY MEAN IT! (Titus 1:16.)
The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Thessalonians, exhorted
them to either WORK -- or not eat! "For we hear that there are
some which walk among you disorderly, WORKING NOT AT ALL, but are
busybodies. Now them that are such we COMMAND and EXHORT by our
Lord Jesus Christ that with QUIETNESS they work, and eat their
OWN bread and if any man obey not our word by this epistle, NOTE
that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed"
(II Thes. 3:11-14).
Of course, many brethren leave their jobs because they have
found they must keep God's weekly and annual Sabbaths. That is
unfortunate -- but absolutely RIGHT in God's sight. However,
after being WITHOUT a job for some time, they get into WRONG
HABITS. They begin to relax, to "take it easy." Discouragement
comes with the lack of work, and human nature begins to play its
old tricks once more. With the time being wasted as it drifts
by, they begin to FIND FAULT with others. This is INVARIABLY the
result of idleness!
The life of idleness and ease leads to GOSSIP and roots of
bitterness! (I Tim. 5:13.) Some of YOU BRETHREN have been living
in IDLENESS! Can you take correction? Can you receive
chastisement? (Heb. 12:1-11.)
God commands us to be QUIET -- TO QUIT CRITICIZING OTHERS --
to do our own business, and to WORK WITH OUR HANDS that we may
HAVE, in order to give! (I Thess. 4:11-12.) Every single minute
you REFUSE to WORK for your daily needs, to busily engage
yourself in whatever job you can obtain -- no matter what
obstacle -- YOU ARE DENYING YOUR VERY SAVIOUR!
The life of a Christian is not easy! Christ did not SAY it
would be EASY. He said we are to "count the cost" of living in
the only way which can bring real happiness (Luke 14:28). God
has promised to supply EVERY NEED of those who put their faith in
Him. But that faith CANNOT BE A DEAD FAITH! Read again the
second chapter of James. It was the WORKS together with
Abraham's faith that really counted!
How to Solve Your Work Problems
If you have left your former job because of the Sabbath -- God
expects you to find another! Perhaps you must take a lower
salary at first. The question is: DO YOU BELIEVE GOD? He says
He'll supply all your needs -- but He demands PROOF of your
intent. God wants to see some WORKS along with that faith! He
WILL supply every physical need, BUT ONLY AS YOU REALLY DESERVE
Take for example the man who was forced to quit work in a
factory which manufactured implements of war. After quitting his
job, he realized he must find another. He chose farming, since
he felt he could best put his talents to work in that field. A
drought came -- he lost everything. With winter approaching, the
situation was desperate. But -- he didn't gripe! HE DIDN'T
BEGIN TO CRITICIZE OTHERS -- but he set his jaw and said, "I WILL
MAKE IT -- SOMEHOW!"
Perhaps you've heard it said before that ANY old dead fish can
float downstream. But it takes a very LIVELY fish to swim
UPSTREAM, fighting the many cataracts and falls in its path! Yes
-- it's EASY to go along the line of least resistance -- lazily
ALLOWING OTHERS to keep pushing us along. But the man who will
look coldly at his problem -- analyze it, and DO SOMETHING ABOUT
IT, is the man God will bless abundantly!
There may be instances when obtaining a job will be quite
difficult. Perhaps a man is forced to occupy himself in some
manner of work which is out of his particular line. But, in
throwing himself COMPLETELY into the task at hand, in determining
to MAKE IT -- SOMEHOW, he will find the opportunities opening
before him, and blessings he had never dreamed were possible!
WHATSOEVER you do -- whether it's your particular line or NOT --
DO IT WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT! (Eccl. 9:10.)
"By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them"
Christ said we are to become shining LIGHTS in the world, that
others may see our good WORKS, and through our brilliant,
purposeful, POSITIVE EXAMPLE they, too, may be turned to the
truth of God.
But too often, it seems, such is not the case! Instead of
being a LIGHT to the world -- God's people want to be in
DARKNESS! The very ones to whom God has revealed His
all-important, precious TRUTH want to take it for granted!
Instead of becoming entirely DIFFERENT persons than they were --
instead of diligently WORKING at their jobs, and SHOWING GOD
THEY'RE THANKFUL for His truth, they want to wipe their feet on
every principle of God's word, reject and DENY Christ by
neglecting to really LIVE as He lived (I John 2:6), by zealously
applying themselves to WORK HARDER THAN ANY OTHER PEOPLE ON
This negligence and lack of concern brings REPROACH and SCORN
on the very Work of God -- and God's people.
The common philosophy of this present world of "do as little
as possible and get as much as you can for it" is a far cry from
the dynamic, vigorous life of the God-fearing person who is
busily engaged in BEING A CHRISTIAN!
God's people are not called so they can have it EASY! None of
you were chosen so you could RELAX! Read John 16:33, where the
recorded words of YOUR SAVIOUR "In the world, you shall have
tribulation" show again the MESSAGE which He brought. It wasn't
a message concerned with living a life of EASE! But it's well
worth the effort! "For I reckon that the sufferings of this
present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which
shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18). God tells us to WORK out
our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12).
It's Easy to Be Lazy
Some of God's people ARE WILLING to allow others to take care
of them. Some are undaunted at becoming a burden to others, and
are so very concerned with SELF THEY FEEL NO COMPUNCTION AT
LIVING FROM THE LABORS OF OTHERS. Those in God's Church who
ALLOW them to so conduct themselves ARE DOING THEM A GREAT
INJUSTICE. By PERMITTING them to continue living in this manner,
they actually ENCOURAGE their wrong habits!
Those who may be UNWILLING to change -- unwilling to really
REPENT -- may say "I have FAITH." You have faith you say? FAITH
that God will take care of you? AND CERTAINLY HE WILL, but
unless or until you PROVE TO GOD YOU REALLY MEAN BUSINESS BY
DOING SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR OWN SITUATION -- HE WILL LET YOU
STARVE! Abraham's faith, as EVIDENCED BY HIS WORKS, was what
really counted! (James 2.)
It's time to WAKE UP, and quit kidding ourselves! It's time
to GET BUSY AND STAY THAT WAY! Read from the word of the
Almighty RULER of this entire UNIVERSE -- the One who has the
power of life and death over You -- THESE powerful words! "But
if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his
own house, HE HATH DENIED THE FAITH and is worse than an infidel"
(I Timothy 5:8).