By R. W. McAlister
In the church of our Lord, laziness must not characterize God’s people. The very concept of the church being a “vineyard” carries with it the idea that we ought to be working. Matthew 20:1-16 records the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard. The owner of the vineyard went to the market place to hire laborers. What was it he hired them to do? To work! Where? In his vineyard! The fact that God has called us out of the world and into His vineyard indicates we need to be working in it!
We shouldn’t try to avoid work in the kingdom of Christ. We ought not try to “slide by” by doing as little work as possible. Working for the Lord is not an undesirable thing! In Nehemiah 4:6 it’s written that the Jews of Nehemiah’s day successfully rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem to the halfway point because “the people had a mind to work.” That’s the type of heart and mind WE need to have in the Lord’s work, rather than say, “Let somebody else do it.” When we talk about the Lord’s work, it is not “their work,” it’s “our work."
Jesus said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). Jesus was speaking of the need for Him to fulfill the Father’s will when He had the opportunity to do so. We sing about that when sing “Work For The Night Is Coming,” “We’ll Work ‘Til Jesus Comes,” and “I Want To Be A Worker For The Lord.” When we sing such spiritual songs we teach and admonish one another to work. What about after we sing these hymns, what should we do? We must go out and put the words of the songs into practice in our lives - go to work for the Lord!
How powerful the army of Christ could be, and how effective the work of the church could be, if every member of the church would seriously take to heart the message of 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” Notice the words of the text, “Always abounding in the work of the Lord.” That’s what God wants from every Christian! A Christian that’s too busy to be involved in the Lord’s work is just too busy doing less important things! That kind of problem needs to be fixed!
As we contemplate Labor Day and make plans to celebrate America’s workers, let’s not forget that the Lord needs workers in His vineyard, too, and that our individual responsibility and our responsibilities as a church must be to God first. “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few...” (Luke 10:2). Let’s spend more time working for God through benevolence, edification, and evangelism – not only around a holiday, but every day.
- R. W. McAlister preaches for the Anna Church of Christ in Anna, IL.He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.annachurchofchrist.com/