Let’s look at this verse beyond just comparing a sluggard to a hard-working individual. Rather, I’d like you to apply this verse to your work for the Lord. Do you feel your life is full of steady, earnest and energetic efforts in fulfilling the Lord’s plan and purpose in your life? Or do you feel your spiritual life is dominated mainly by apathy,and idleness? Lazy hands and for that matter, lazy hearts, cause us to squander the gifts God has so graciously given us. But diligent hands not only brings spiritual wealth, but an abundance of peace and joy to the worker.
No matter how spiritually strong we are, anyone of us can stray from the will of God. Here Simon Peter, nicknamed the Rock, of which Jesus had said, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church,” caved under man’s pressure. Peter had been fellowshipping with Christian Gentiles until a group of Jews showed up and started pressuring him to stop. He was afraid that his reputation and standing might be questioned…fearful of what they might think of him…so he separated himself from the Gentiles…taking everyone with him, including Barnabas. Isaiah 51:12-13 asks this question, “Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass, that you forget the Lord your Maker?” It’s a dangerous slippery slope when we start fearing man rather than God…afraid of what people may think of us rather than doing God’s will. Peer pressure can be tremendous, for we all want to fit in and be liked…but when it causes us to deviate from God’s plan…it effects everyone around us.
Everyday we have to make the decision to either accept the world’s view or to trust God with His vision. We can either be driven by fear, gloom and doom in a world of pessimism and distrust, or we can stand on God’s Word with hope and confidence, knowing He’s still in control. It all boils down to asking yourself one question, “Whose report do you believe today?” Is your faith and trust in the world or the Creator of it?
How many times have I put God in a little box…expecting Him to behave in a certain manner, showing up and fulfilling His duties, only to see Him move in a completely unexpected and surprising way. That’s when all my welled planned out intentions are blown out of the water and I have to admit again…He is God and I am not. God’s Will isn’t up to me, nor do I have any control over it. It’s God that chooses when, where and how to move…not me. My job is only to be flexible and submissive when He throws me a curve ball.
Natural human love expects something in return. To sacrifice for you, you must first be really special to me, and then I also expect to be reciprocated for what I did. But in this Scripture, Paul was willing to give it all…that I may be able to get you to God. The real test here isn’t one’s willingness to teach or preach, but one’s willingness to serve. Service to others takes our time, energy, and emotional strength. It encroaches on our personal space…robs us of “me” time, and turns our carefully crafted schedules upside-down. Expending yourself for the Gospel… helping, and supporting others is a thankless job by human estimation…but it’s counted as everything in the eternity of God.
It’s happened to all of us…someone who we think is a trustworthy friend betrays us. While it hurts and humiliates us, we can also learn from it. We can either decide to put up an emotional wall…letting no one on the other side, and self-isolating ourselves from the world. Or we can take the lessons we’ve learned and look to our heavenly Father to reestablish that lost trust. It says in Deuteronomy 7:9, “…your God is God; He is the faithful God keeping His covenant of love…” Our God is reliable. He will never abandon or turn His back on us. Within Him is no deception…for He is steadfast and worthy of all our trust.
Don’t fool yourself…if your motive for serving the Lord is anything but pointing others to Jesus, you won’t succeed. For any Holy Spirit empowered ministry has to have at its basis the cornerstone of Christ. Without that origin, you are out there under your own power…with lopsided purpose and motives. So ask this of yourself…Is my outreach to others self-centered or selfless? Is it about Jesus, or about me? Then listen to that still small voice inside for direction.