Sunday, October 20, 2013

Serve God Diligently (and Expect Rewards)

The person who can distinguish between being tired
and being lazy will go far
” (Unknown)

In his book The Normal Christian Worker, the Chinese teacher Watchman Nee listed the character qualities needed for effective Christian service. Chapter one is devoted to ‘Diligence’. Noting that our Lord criticized the man in his parable in Matthew 25:24-30 as being both “wicked” and “lazy”, Nee warns his readers about laziness, saying:

Look at the apostles. How diligent they were! Think of the colossal amount of work Paul accomplished in a life-time. See him travelling from place to place, preaching the gospel wherever he goes, or reasoning intently with individuals; even when he is put in prison he is still buying up opportunities – preaching to all who come in contact with him and writing to those from whom he has been cut off. Read what he writes to Timothy from prison: ‘Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season.’ Imprisonment might restrict Paul’s outward movements, but it could not limit the effectiveness of his ministry. What spiritual wealth he ministered through his prison epistles! There was not a shred of laziness about Paul; he was always taking time by the forelock.”
[Quote from Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Worker (Hong Kong: Church Book Room, 1968), 12]

Read Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25:24-30, you’ll discover that those who ‘invest’ and ‘earned’ and ‘went to work’ (v.16-17) were said by their master as: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”(NLT) What rewards for those who work in Christian service and for those who are faithful, diligent and hardworking – an honorable compliment from the Master: “My good and faithful servant”! Wow! But for those who are “wicked” and “lazy”, the master said: “Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (v.30) No…

Always be diligent in Christian service and expect God to reward you
But be ashamed if you find yourself lazy – God may throw you away
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