One of my high school employers taught me that "Hard work can lead to great benefit"– whether loading bales of hay or hand picking bugs off his roses. He lauded persistence, patience and perseverance. Sweat was a good thing! However, in today's world of instant gratification these attributes are sometimes looked upon with disfavor. Success with the minimum of work and attention is desired. Winning without working has ensnared many of us. I suppose either extreme can be damaging – being captive to excessive work or always desiring an easy way out. Our choices depend on what benefits we are seeking.
Benefits – I know I can easily get confused. Just what am I working toward? The apostle Paul spoke about benefits. They are far from the world's idea of what is profitable. Talking to the church in Rome he said,
"But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life." (Romans 6:22 NIV)
When speaking of our spiritual lives, the real benefits and blessings of following God are related to our hearts and minds as we more and more assume the character and mind of Christ. I can so easily become a slave to the material that I lose sight of God's desire for my life. To what are we captive? Work? Recreation? The Internet? Personal Sin? And what are the benefits?
This week let us reassess to what or to whom we are enslaved. And what are the benefits? Do we want to be slaves to God? The benefits are out of this world.
Sharing the journey with you,