1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
As Christians, we have a responsibility to be about our Father’s business, sharing His Word with others, so that those who do not know Him will come to accept Christ as their personal Savior, and new Christians can continue to grow and mature in their faith.
We all have work that must be done in the course of our lives, to provide for ourselves and our families. But we also have work that we need to do for our Father, to help bring others to Christ, or encourage young Christians to grow in their faith and understanding of God’s Word. We must not let our time outside of work and family functions become idle time that is nonproductive, leading us into situations that do not bring glory and honor to God. Idleness is different than rest, which we all need to refresh our minds and bodies. The word ‘idleness’ has an Old English definition of “frivolity, vanity, emptiness; vain existence”. The word ‘idle’ has many definitions, but for this article, I will point out the following: habitually doing nothing or avoiding work; lazy; of no real worth, importance, or significance; frivolous; vain.
Paul warns us about such behavior, saying in 2 Thessalonians 3:11-13, “For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” In Ecclesiastes 10:18, we are told, “By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.” Rather than building things up, being idle and lazy creates problems for ourselves and others. These attributes are not pleasing to God, and do nothing to bring others to Christ, or encourage them in their walk with the Lord. Rather, as we learn in Romans 12:11, we should be “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit, serving the Lord”.
Idleness implies that there is no work worthy of our time and effort. But as long as there are people that do not know Jesus as their personal Savior, there is work to be done. In Luke 10:2, Jesus spoke to His disciples: “Therefore said He unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth laborers into His harvest.” Even today, there remain too many souls that have not accepted Christ as their Savior, and there is much work to be done in sharing the gospel with them.
While not everyone is called to preach or teach, there are many things we can do in our service to the Lord, including prayer, Bible study, and providing care and support to those who go out into the fields. Providing care and assistance to those in need is a great way to share the love of God with others as well. Instead of putting our own needs first and neglecting those around us that can benefit from our help, let us remember what we are told in Philippians 2:3-4, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” While it is great to relax and enjoy our time away from work and family duties, we need to be careful not to let our rest develop into a meaningless activity that can easily slip into idle behaviors; instead, we should seek to be active in our service to the Lord.
Colossians 3:23-24 tells us, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of an inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” And Galatians 6:9-10 reminds us, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
While we work hard to provide for ourselves and our families, and we rest and refresh ourselves as is necessary, let us not give ourselves up to vain or frivolous activities that would bring us down and lead us away from the Lord and His work. Rather, let us remember the words of Jesus in John 9:4, “I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work.”
Grace and blessings on your path,