It has been almost a year since we returned to Panama and a lot of things happened. We were needed to fix a lot of things in our house, as being by itself for almost three years make a lot of damage to it. One of the most affected areas was the kitchen, which, Lord willing, will be replaced in the coming weeks as we have been doing monthly payments to a local company in order to cover the expenses of building a new one. We did not plan to do it, we did not want to do it, but is needed.
There are some things that we do not plan, that we do not want, but they just happen. Who wants to be sick in a hospital bed? Who wants to leave a well-paid job? Who wants to lose a beloved one?
A lot of people decide to do not believe in God because all of these things happen. Others, only seek God when those things happened. How strong is our faith and hope in Him? Let us think, briefly, on a man that suffered a lot of things, but kept himself strong in the faith,
“Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches”2 Corinthians 11:23-28.
It might be the case that who is reading this right now, might suffer one, two, three, or more of the same things that the Apostle Paul wrote to the brethren at Corinth in that short passage of his letter to them. Have you been mistreated because of preaching or teaching the gospel? Have you been ignored or discouraged by the brethren? Have you been sick? Have you been offended? Did you lose your house, your job, your spouse? Have you been hungry or thirsty? Have you been in a dangerous situation without someone that could help you?
Paul suffered a lot, but he was a faithful laborer to Christ. Some of us might suffer more than others, but, as Christians, we must do what Paul did and said at the end of that passage, to take care of the church.
The same writer wrote to the same people in a previous letter about the work that other men including him were doing,
“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ”1 Corinthians 3:5-11.
Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38). Dear reader, the job posting is open, but, you must be in the building. Not a literal building that was constructed by the hands of man, but the spiritual building that Jesus bought with His own blood (Acts 20:28), His church, His body (Ephesians 1:22-23).
This building does not need an extreme makeover, as a matter of fact, it will never need it. The building is perfect, the manager is perfect, but not the laborers. The laborers may be perfect if they keep this important part in their hearts and minds and put it into practice,
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works [emphasis added, MR]”2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Some of us might be laborers already but do not comply with all the tasks that we are required and hired to do. It will be very sad to find out at the payment day that we get fired (literally put in the fire, see Matthew 7:21-23, 25:41). Sadder will be that those who heard the job application (Romans 10:17; 1:16) but decided to ignore it will be in the same place than those who were fired.
God, through the authority given to His only begotten Son, planned that every creature hears the message of salvation which is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; 2 Corinthians 4:5-6; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 3:16). When the seed (which is His Word) is planted, the good soil will keep it and bring forth fruit (Luke 8:11,15). That fruit is the faith that came by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17) and believing that He is who He is (Hebrews 11:6). He does not only reward those who diligently seek Him but is also longsuffering and does not want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9). He wants that everyone repents, and he does not only want it, He commands it (Acts 17:30). It is then when the hearer may do a confession (Matthew 10:32-33), and this is not about telling his sins to the world, as some teaches, but to say, as Simon Peter did, that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15-18). That confession is the rock in which Christ built His church! Not thousands of churches, but His church, one!
When a laborer meets the requirements, he signs the contract. When a person meets what has been said in the previous paragraph, that person is ready to take a very big and important step. He is ready to leave the old man and turn into a new man. The old things must pass away, in order to allow us to be new things, and that is only possible through submitting to the will of God, the gospel of Christ, by the waters of baptism (Romans 6:3-6, 2 Corinthians 5:17). We must put on Christ (Galatians 3:27). This is the way how we can be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is the moment when you sign the contract!
Do you love God and His Word? Do you love Christ and His sacrifice? Are you willing to labor for Christ? Are you willing to do what is required to be in Him? Once you obey the Gospel is when you start serving the Master, not before.
It might be the case that you already signed the contract, but you have not been working in the way you agreed to do it, but, you are still on time to fix those things and get back to the narrow way that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14). He is willing to cleanse us again (1 John 1:9).
The harvest is plentiful, and our Savior is seeking for laborers, would you like to be one of them?
If you would like to learn more about what God expects from His children, and how to be one of them, we will love to talk with you and help you to be one. Please get in touch with a congregation of the church of Christ in your town, or ask us, we will love to help you find where you can congregate with the saints.
May God bless you richly!