“Blessed to be a Blessing” (James 2:14-18)

Some people have the mistaken impression that God only cares about the spiritual stuff. Some wrongly believe that God only cares about your work if you are a pastor, or a parochial school teacher, or if you are engaged in some other kind of full-time church work. But that is a serious error. God loves you so much; He cares about every aspect of your life. That includes all the necessary physical things. That is why Luther wrote in his explanation to the first article: Luther: “I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.” Does God put food on your table? Indeed he does. But he does not do it directly. He does it through the hard work of the famer who planted and harvested. And through the truck driver   who hauled the produce to the market, and through the grocer who puts the food on the shelves.

Jobs, whatever they may be, have divine significance because God is working through these people and the jobs they do, to provide you with the service or products you need for your life. God provides you with peace through the police and the military. He heals you through the doctors and nurses. He works through the waitress at the restaurant to bring you your food; He works through the banker to help you save your money. He works through artists and musicians to make the world a more beautiful place for you. God works through many people in all their multitude of different jobs for you—to be a blessing to you.

People use to not realize that. During the time prior to the Reformation many people thought that to be doing God’s work and to be doing the work that God really cared about, you had to somehow be involved in fulltime church work. If you could not be a priest, you could at least be a monk or a nun. Those were considered to be honorable professions, more important that any secular job. But Dr. Luther said, no. God cares about all of our jobs because they are all expressions of our Christin love. Luther said, the mother who nurses her child, the maid that milks the cow and the cobbler who makes our shoes are all involved in the Lords work of lovingly providing for his people.

This is what Christian love is. Christian love is not an intangible, pie in the sky, abstract idea. It is a very down to earth, sweat-on-the-brow-hands-in-the-mud thing. It provides for people by helping them in specific, practical, and sometimes very difficult and inconvenient ways. This is why Jesus died for you. Jesus died for you because He loves us, yes, but more than that, He also died for you and has given you forgiveness and new life so that you can be a blessing to others. This is why you are redeemed. This is why you live. This is why you labor. This is why you get out of bed every morning and go to work.   Because through your work you can put your faith into action and be a blessing to others by working at your job and providing others with the goods and services they need, to support their life.

This gives your life divine significance. Don’t you ever, ever think your life is insignificant or unimportant. Not only did God make you and redeem you in Jesus Christ, but He has also put you here on this earth here and now on purpose, to do His work and to be a blessing to others. Luther makes this same point when he says, “We have no other reason for living on earth than to be of help to others. If this were not the case, it would be best for God to kill us and let us die as soon as we are baptized and have begun to believe” (LW 30:11).

Perhaps you’ve heard it said, “Another day another dollar.” No, our work as Christians is much more than that. We labor not for selfish material gain. We labor at our jobs because labor is part of our Christian life, and in every aspect of life, we are blessed by God to be a blessing to others. Amen

Pastor John Tape

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