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Laborers Together


The first Monday in September is Labor Day, a day set aside to honor and thank those who have worked so hard to make this nation strong and prosperous.

In the context of Labor Day it would be good for us to examine what the Bible has to say about labor within the Church of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul in writing to the congregation at Corinth, Greece gave us a much needed explanation of work within the Church. He wrote, "What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building." (I Cor. 3:5-9 R.S.V.) St. Paul wrote these words to correct some common misconceptions regarding the work, the workers, and the wages of Christ's Church.

In its broadest form the work is the kingdom of Jesus Christ. The Corinthians themselves and all Christians are part of the work. The Church is described as "God's field, God's building."
The work of the Church could be broken down into two broad categories. The basic work of the Church is, first, the job of strengthening believers and, second, the evangelizing of non-believers. In order to accomplish this work believers engage in specific tasks, such as, teaching Sunday School, visitation, prayer, personal witnessing, helping the needy, contributing financially, preaching sermons, ministry of music, serving on boards and committees, maintaining the property, etc. All of these activities and more somehow tie into the two basic jobs of the Church. Some tasks may seem to be more spiritual than others. But in reality any job that contributes to the strengthening and the furthering of the kingdom of Christ is spiritual and important.

In his words to the Corinthians St. Paul was primarily concerned about the workers. The apostle makes it clear that there is no room for pride or competitiveness among the workers. The Corinthians had become divided into groups following certain ministers. St. Paul responded to this by asking, "What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each." St. Paul did not exalt himself or Apollos, but described their position as that of servants. Regardless what our particular job happens to be all are equal. "He who plants and he who waters are equal...." is how St. Paul looked at all the laborers in God's kingdom.

In this great work every believer has been given an assignment. The apostle alluded to this truth when he wrote, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth." Later St. Paul wrote of all Christians, "To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good." (I Cor. 12:7) Every believer has been gifted by the Holy Spirit and has a necessary job in the kingdom. Naturally, the gifts and assignments are diverse because we have a big job to do. We are "fellow workers" as St. Paul put it. In the Church all believers are in partnership with each other as we work for the Lord. All too often Christians have forgotten this.

Any time we think of work we also think of wages. Workers are customarily paid for their labor. God will reward us according to how we worked for Him. St. Paul said, " ...and each shall receive his wages according to his labor." He was clearly not talking about one earning his salvation. The Bible is very clear that salvation is a gift from God purchased by Christ with His own life. We receive that gift through faith. (see Eph. 2:8,9)

In several places the Bible refers to a reward going to those who have been faithful in their stewardship. What that reward is the Bible doesn't directly say. Surely to hear Christ say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant," will be enough for one who has served out of love and gratitude.

As we celebrate Labor Day may we go beyond the secular. May we consider how " ...we are God's fellow workers...."

by Rev. Frank M. Levi

 

Missionary of The Month

Rev. Chester Matadi. The Reformed Episcopal Church, Liberia, WEST AFRICA.

Domestic Missions

Pray for the Missionary Clergy: the Rev. Ken Harmen, the Rev. Milton Hood, the Rev. Richard Jones, the Rev. Dr. Lowell Saunders.

Happy Birthday!

Sep. 1 - Nancy Toomey
Sep. 4 - John Matthias Horn
Sep. 16 - Paul Zaleski
Sep. 19 - Sadie Case
Sep. 20 - Frank Sellers
Sep. 23 - Steve Horosinski
Sep. 28 - Anne Horn
Sep. 28 - Brian Sutton

Sunday School

Classes resume September 8, 2002, at 9:30 a.m. Classes are provided for all ages, including adults.

Spaghetti Dinner

A Spaghetti Dinner will be held in the Parish Hall on Saturday, November 2, 2002, from 5-7 p.m. Sponsored by the Woman's Guild.


Happy Grandparents Day!
September 8, 2002

 

TO STAY YOUNG

Youth is not a time of life, it is a state of mind.
It is a temper of the will, a quality of the
imagination, a vigor of emotions, a predominance
of courage over timidity, of the appetite for
adventure over love of ease.

Nobody grows old by merely living a number of
years. People grow old by deserting their ideals.
Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm
does wrinkle the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust,
fear and despair, these are the long, long years
that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back
to dust.

Whether seventy or sixteen, there is in every being's
heart the love of wonder, the sweet amazement at the
stars, the starlight things and thoughts, the undaunted
challenge of events, the child-like appetite for what
next, and the joy and the game of life.

You are as young as your self-confidence, as old as
your doubt, as young as your faith, as old as your
fears. As long as your heart receives messages of
beauty, cheer, courage, grandeur and power, from the
earth, from man and from The Infinite.

So long you are young ...


Anonymous


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