Work Ethic: A Family Affair

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God worked.  He worked for six days, creating the heavens and the earth, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea and the beasts of the field.  God worked diligently and deliberately. God worked efficiently and effectively and he expects us to do the same. God worked and I believe God worked hard and He worked smart. If He could, God would have come early and stayed late.  God would have worked overtime if He had to, to get the job, or “get ‘er” done. Yes God finished the work he had been doing and rested on the seventh day, but for six days, He worked.

Adam worked.  God made man to work.   “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15).  Adam worked hard and he worked smart.  He was responsible for all of the animals and the tilling of the ground. Adam had and developed a work ethic.

Work ethic is a value based on hard work and diligence. It is also a belief in the moral benefit of work and its ability to enhance character. A work ethic includes being reliable, having initiative, and pursuing goals and new skills. Players and workers exhibiting a good work ethic in theory should be selected for better positions, more responsibility and ultimately promotion.

Rahab worked. She had faith, but was also  justified by her works. “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?” (James 2:25).   James goes on to say that “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (v. 17). Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” 

The Williams sisters have a solid work ethic.  A solid  work ethic has led Serena Williams to win an astonishing seventeen-time Grand Slam titles. The older Venus is a seven-time Grand Slam title winner.

The Williams sisters have worked for the honors they have achieved. Both sisters have had the honor of being ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association at the World No. 1 position. In 2002, after the French Open, Venus Williams and Serena Williams were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively. During the 2010 French Open, they became the co-world no.1 players in women’s doubles, in addition to holding the top two positions in singles tennis as well.

Williams Sisters

Because God worked, and Adam worked, and Rahab and all of the other mighty men and women of faith worked, we are to work as well.  “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).  And here is the kicker: “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? (v. 20).

So work hard and work smart. Pray. Fast. Fast and pray. Study the Word of God. Work at it.  Be diligent and deliberate, not haphazard and higgledy-piggledy; be efficient and effective, not jumbled and mumbled. Your spiritual hard work will pay off. And you will be able to “rest” from your labor, AFTER you work.  When we die to our selfish and sinful ways, our “death” will result in new life. Dying in the Lord is both natural and spiritual.  Resting is both natural and spiritual as well.

“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them’ (Revelation 14:13).

Busted Plays

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Sometimes things don’t work out. Not as we planned, or even close.  Sometimes our days and weeks and months and even years seem like busted plays.  Things were supposed to turn out one way, but they ended up another; sometimes another dreadful, miserable or even horrible way. What to do?  Sometimes you have to improvise, suck it up, and gut it out. Sometimes you do have to make it up as you go along.

“Hoop Dreams,” a critically acclaimed 1994 documentary, follows William Gates and Arthur Agee, two African-American teenagers from Chicago and their dream of becoming professional basketball players.  Agee and Gates are both from poor, African-American neighborhoods in Chicago, Illinois. Gates lived in Cabrini–Green while Agee and his family resided in West Garfield Park.

Both are recruited by a scout from St. Joseph High School in Westchester, Illinois, a predominantly white high school with an outstanding basketball program, whose alumni include NBA great Isaiah Thomas.  Both have “hoop dreams” which end up being busted plays.

Sometimes things don’t work out. That’s when you trust that this “busted play” will turn out in spite and despite our failed efforts.  After all, all of our righteousness is nothing but filthy rags anyway. 

“Mankind” was a busted play. Man was created in God’s image and in God’s likeness, yet things didn’t work out. Not as God had planned, or so it seemed. 

Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was a busted play.  Continue reading