Overworked and … Overpaid?
Ezra 9:13 – What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins have deserved
So I just came through one of the busiest times I ever had at work. Managing 42 stores across 8 states is hard enough. But add to that a charity event that we ran for Comfort the Children, end of fiscal year inventory, splitting my coffee team into two separate subteams of retail and bar, and training 10 new teams to take over existing bars and I will say, I’ve been overworked lately!
And I promise you that at no time did I ever say, “Boy, my job is paying me too much to do this.” Just the opposite.
We humans feel that we deserve much more than we actually get. We feel entitled because we believe that the world revolves around us.
It is the same with our Christian walk.
How often do we think that we do enough good deeds that God must be sitting up in heaven smiling at us? I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but unless you know Christ, the rest is for nothing.
The Christian life is not an easy walk in the park. God doesn’t promise us that we will ever have an easy life.
Matthew 5:38-48 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic,let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
If we look at Matthew 5 for a minute, we see that we are not to resist the one who is evil but to let them hit us. And if someone sues us, we are to give them more than they sued us for. And if someone forces us to go with them, then we are to go with them farther than they force us to.
And the main point here, comes in Matthew 5:48 – “you therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Keep in mind that this final verse is about love. When the word “perfect” is used, it typically has one of two meanings. First, it can mean complete. Jesus was made “perfect” through His suffering (Hebrews 2:10). Next, “perfect” can mean “mature.” Philippians 3:15 is a great example of this.
We need to be mature in our love.
Maturity in love does not come easily. It typically requires us to go through tough times to refine us. It is definitely not easy. It is a lot of work.
To mature in your love, and your faith, will require you to be overworked.
Our human selves call out to God, crying to Him asking Him to take our pain away. To take our past away. To take our present away. We want to skip to the end of the book and get our reward.
But God doesn’t reward those who take the easy way out.
Matthew 5:5 (and Psalm 37:11) talk about how the meek will inherit the earth. Why did God say that to those sitting there on the mount listening to Him?
He knew that being meek, living a “perfect” life, is a long, hard road. He was asking His disciples to live a difficult life. To reward this long, hard life He promises those who do attain meekness the earth. He is overpaying us for overworking us!
And what is more proof of being overpaid for our work in this life than the salvation that He provides us? We do not deserve the beauty of salvation. Yet He pays us in salvation for giving, at best, a mediocre showing in loving Him.
Philippians 3:4-11 – though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.