Hebrews 4:9 – 11. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
When we read this scripture from the first verse, we see that there are those to whom rest was given, yet they didn’t enter into it because of unbelief. Yet, rest is the one thing that we all desire. Not even one person wants to continue toiling or labouring hard for a better life. We are all strapped up in the rat race by unbelief. I actually find it amazing that the Lord created everything first, then on the 6th day man, on the seventh rested. However, scripture also tells us that, while created, nature didn’t spring up yet. The Lord didn’t release the rain, for there was no man to till the ground. Meaning that it was set as man’s responsibility to care for the ground, while also eating and benefiting from it.
To rest means to cease from activity or work in order to relax and gain more strength. Biblically, as stated in Hebrews 4:10, rest means ceasing from your own works or efforts. While we cease from our works, we cease not from God’s. Hence Israel could do their business for six days, but on the seventh only that which God approved of could they do.
We have a bit of a crisis in the Word ministry. While part of the confusion is caused by the rules and legislations, most of it is due to the spirit of sloth. I came across an audio once, where a Pastor had sent this to his congregation, rebuking them for not paying tithes. He went as far as ordering them to sign an affidavit which agrees that their salaries will be paid directly to the church. After the church would have taken the tithe, the balance will be paid back to the congregant. His argument was that, while the congregants are enjoying their tithe-less lives, he is suffering staying in a small space. Yet he has to constantly intercede for them. Now don’t get me wrong, I know the toil that interceding for others or just spiritual battles have on a person’s wellbeing. However, in all those times, one can only depend on the Lord to endue them with strength. He can never put us up to something He cannot get us through. Yes, the task is not easy, but the Lord of strength is able to strengthen with might in the inner man, that one is able to accomplish all that is set upon them. Therefore, it cannot be an excuse as a minister, that interceding is on its own too much for one to add work to it also.
Genesis 2:15 – 16. And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
Question then is, how did Adam and Eve benefit from the fruits of the trees in the garden, did they go and get the fruit or the fruit came to them? Again, how did the Israelites feed from the manna, did they collect it or did the manna come to them? The work that God approved for Adam and Eve was to tend and keep the garden. The work of Israel in the wilderness was whatever the Lord instructed them to do. This means that they were working, only the work that God approved for them to do, so they were at rest. At the very same time for food, while God provided it, they still needed to put on some work in order to feed themselves. God provides the food, but it is our efforts, our work that converts the food into a meal. That includes, harvesting or gathering the food, preparing the food and serving the food. By food, I mean that which nourishes the body. It is the full care of the body. Adam and Eve had to keep the garden in order to enjoy the fruit from it.
The world is unto us the garden of Eden, one which we are to tend and keep. And of every tree of it we may eat, by virtue of harvesting using the wisdom of God rather than sin, manipulation and oppression. The wisdom of God infuses us with ideas that we can turn into gold on this very earth. Those ideas, coming from God will give us work that is approved by God for us to do, and that is rest. Meaning that, no more shall we toil to make it in life, but we will just be instruments God uses to manifest His will by the works of our hands. Rest is what redeems us from the curse spoken over Adam – “in painful toil you will eat of the [cursed] ground …” Only sloth can convince one that working for their food is not for them. The riches of this world belong to the kingdom of God and we are heirs of such. However, when we keep convincing ourselves that when we are ministers we cannot also work, we are depriving ourselves of what the Lord has freely given to us.
Business in God’s kingdom means working to serve the needs of the people, not to make profits. It also means accumulating resources that can be converted into income without exploiting others, but adding to others through employment. In summary, work for us is whatever is approved of by the Lord for our food. We cannot make people our source of income using the word of God that has been freely given to us. At the end of the day, whether or not people offer, tithe or not is between them and God. Paul himself, in the midst of all the things he had to do and went through while evangelizing, he still found time to work for his food. These very work places we want to run away from are filled with souls that need to be harvested, they are our fields. The church is a place where Believers gather to worship Christ in corporate fellowship. It should not keep us from working in the field to harvest souls.
May the Lord fill us with the desire to work, and renew our minds about the administration of His gospel.