December 05, 2015

Working While Waiting

1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands.

—  1 Thessalonians 4:11

I used to work with a couple of guys who did not seem interested in anything beyond the weekend. Granted, it was a summer job. It was a good job, as summer jobs went, requiring some skill and attention, but it also had its share of drudgery. The days could be long under the hot sun. But there were also days when a lot seemed to happen. Still, whether it was busy or not, these guys didn’t seem interested in the work. They only talked about the next weekend.

Work might seem like an odd subject for Advent devotions, but sometimes we think that our work gets in the way of what we really want to do. For the guys on that summer job, the work got in the way of their weekends. For us, our jobs might get in the way of preparing for Christmas. For some of the early Christians in Thessalonica, work got in the way of waiting for Christ’s return. Certain that Jesus was coming again very soon, they apparently put down their tools and spent their time being idle.

Paul’s advice to “work with your hands” assures us that what we do in our daily work matters to God. Even humble work is an arena in which we can use the gifts God has given us to serve others, while we wait for the coming of Jesus.

In what ways are you honoring the Lord in your work today?

God of all creation, help us, whether employed or unemployed, engaged in our work or feeling stuck, to serve you in all we do, striving also to help others. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Norman Visser

Norman Visser has served as a pastor of churches in Ontario, Nova Scotia, and South Dakota. He states that while he is “not known for waiting patiently,” he is “working on it.” Norman and his wife, Marcia, have three children.

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