11/15/Su – Fruitful Labor

1 Kings 5:1-6:13; Acts 7:11-29; Psalms 126:4-6; Proverbs 27:18-20

OT: “The word of the Lord came to Solomon: “As for this temple you are building — if you walk in my statutes, observe my ordinances, and keep all my commands by walking in them, I will fulfill my promise to you, which I made to your father David. I will dwell among the Israelites and not abandon my people Israel.”” (‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭6:11-13‬ ‭CSB)

I love the movie “The Field of Dreams.” In the movie, the main character receives a word, “If you build it, they will come.” So he sets out to build a baseball diamond in the middle of a corn field. Solomon set out to build the Temple of God because of a desire and a word that his father David had received. As Solomon began the years-long project, God spoke to him… Solomon’s efforts around building the temple may draw people – but a shiny new glorious temple would not draw God. More than a building, God wanted Solomon (and thus His people) to build a place for Him in his heart. A beautiful temple without the manifest presence of God is just another building. A life that puts all his efforts into keeping up appearances but doesn’t obey the Lord is as Jesus described, a white-washed tomb. Work for work’s sake accomplishes little to nothing. Yoking up with Jesus and joining Him in His work… keeping His word, observing His will, walking in His ways opens the door for the abiding presence of God and produces fruit that will last for eternity.

Psalms: “Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy. Though one goes along weeping, carrying the bag of seed, he will surely come back with shouts of joy, carrying his sheaves.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭126:5-6‬ ‭CSB)

Somehow, believers have gotten a skewed understanding of revival and restoration. When the Jews were allowed to return to Israel, much work had to be done to see the land and the people become fruitful again. First on their list was rebuilding the temple, and that required work… but it was work that was done “not by might nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord.” For the land to be fruitful, the laborers had to reclaim the land from the affects of decades of inattention. They had to plow the fields and plant seeds. Believers seem to think that revival doesn’t require work… we just ask God for revival, He sends it, and we get to bask in its glory without lifting a hand. To experience the manifest presence of God and the multiplied blessing of a revived and unified church, work must be done – but it’s not work for work’s sake. It is humbling ourselves, yoking up with Jesus, and joining Him in the work that He is doing… reclaiming our lives from years of spiritual inattention, plowing up fallow ground, planting good seed, honoring God’s word, obeying the Lord’s commandments, walking in His ways. Then, we will reap the harvest with shouts of joy.

Proverbs: “Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever looks after his master will be honored.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:18‬ ‭CSB)

Those who don’t work will not receive the blessing of fruit – they will receive the fruit of their lack of labor: lack. Those who do not serve their master will not receive the Master’s honor.

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