Pastor Ed Ross

The Joy of Our Labor

 

Creativity is a prominent element of our likeness to God.

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Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

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Joy In The Darkness

Human beings have an inherent need to create. This is unique among all God’s creatures. Adam and Eve “tended” a garden (Gen 2:15) that had no weeds, blights, droughts, or destructive pests. They had the sheer joy of using their creative abilities to design, organize, and landscape the garden; and as little children they delighted to show “Dad” what they had done at the end of each day.

Whether it is creating a masterpiece of art or decorating your room with posters, landscaping your garden or detailing your car, solving a complex engineering problem or organizing an event, writing a symphony or humming your own little tune, designing a website or writing a speech, cooking a special meal or rearranging the living room – the expressions of human creativity are almost endless. Everyone creates; and everyone enjoys doing it – must do it. I think it may be that many people never give their own creativity a serious thought, not even realizing that everyday they engage in some creative activity.

As Christians, “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Eph 2:10), we may find great instruction and direction for our lives by examining our own creative urges and joys, and developing them for God’s glory, and the blessing of others.  And often we will be challenged to step beyond our comfort zone by faith to use our creativity to genuinely impact others.

May I challenge you to find the great joy of cooking something up for God.

We conclude our consideration of the sources of joy available to the Christian in this present age with one that is very closely related to our previous consideration on creativity – the Joy of our labor. A Christian philosophy of work must address many different facets and implications. But one of those facets must be the deriving of joy from “the work of our hands” –  a metaphor for exercising our gifts and abilities in a given calling for the glory of God. As long as we view work only as a necessary evil to survive, we rob ourselves of one of the richest sources of joy.

One of the great principles to arise (or be rediscovered) during the Reformation is that every calling is a holy calling. The farmer has as much importance in laboring for the glory of God as the pastor or missionary; and this is so for the housewife/mother, the construction worker, the engineer, the politician, etc. Our several callings are given us as our venue or sphere over which we are to joyfully rule under Christ for God’s glory. Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 ).

There are several channels through which work provides us joy. In finding our calling in this life, we will exercise not only our “natural” abilities, but also the spiritual gifts bestowed upon us in Christ by the Holy Spirit; and whenever the Holy Spirit flows through us in this way there is His fruit of joy. The use of our creative nature brings joy in this regard, as we find creative solutions to work-related issues, or we just find ways to “do our thing” in a unique and positive way. Our labors, in one way or another, bring interaction with others for whom we may be a joyful “signpost” toward God. There is the joy of the fruit of our labors which enables us to provide for ourselves and to bless others. Finally, there is the inherent satisfaction and joy of a job completed – a job well done.

In conclusion, there are many and varied sources of joy to the child of God, even in a dark and troubled world. These may indeed fluctuate greatly because of the flesh, the world, and the “wicked one”. But these joys are perennial; and even when they fail for a season, the world cannot take away the love, joy and peace of the Holy Spirit in Christ. (Galatians 5:22; John 14:27)

About Ed Ross

Ed Ross has been pastor of Springwood Chapel in York, PA for the past 16 years.  He and his wife, Lynna, have been married 34 years, and have three grown children (a son and two daughters) who are all actively involved in the church and/or missions work.

Having attended Millersville University (PA: 1969-1972), Maranatha Baptist Bible College (WI: 1977-1980 ), he received a bachelor of theology from International Bible Institute & Seminary (FLA). He was first ordained into the ministry in 1980, at which time he and his wife began an Independent Baptist church, remaining there for eight years.

Ed has been bi-vocational at times, working in supervisory and management positions in the quality and manufacturing engineering fields.

He is actively involved in missions work, having spent significant time teaching among the amaZioni peoples of southern Africa. Ed has written numerous tracts and pamphlets, and currently publishes Tuesday’s Touch, a weekly e-devotional. He has also served as a city police chaplain for a number of years, and enjoys writing music/poetry, hiking, and traveling with his wife.