FROM PASTOR TIM:
Thanks everyone for a real nice Fall Membership Meeting and potluck. It was truly a time of sweet fellowship and good work in the meeting. In particular, thanks to Peter for leading the meeting so well, for Teresa for chronicling the decisions, and Linda Hough and her team for organizing the food.
All in all it was a wonderful time. Thank you!
As we closed out the series in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and celebrated Reformation Sunday, the importance of working for the greater good of the community was Paul’s curious last admonition to the church.
One of the points I wanted to make was that work preceded the Fall, so that no one could deny doing work because work itself is a result of sin. Not so. Work is part of creation. God worked the garden. Adam and Eve were called to work the garden.
What sin did was make work difficult. You could say that about other things, like marriage, a relationship with God, the need for clothing and even the need for the death of animals. Everything changed because of sin.
In light of that truth, one saint asked me if I thought the penalty placed on work as a result of sin was more emotional than physical. After all, could one expect that before the Fall Adam and Eve did not “sweat” when they labored? Good question.
It is certainly possible that work was so easy prior to the Fall that it did not lead to sweating, per se, and it was a joy thereby having no emotional baggage. Sweating and suffering come as a result, that’s all we know.
But it is interesting that the Hebrew word for “brow” (think, “you will sweat by the brow of your head” in Genesis 3:19) is actually “nose”. Some translations say “face” to try to capture that.
Who hasn’t worked hard and felt sweat dripping down their nose. This is particularly challenging for those who wear glasses. But the Hebrew word can also mean “anger”. When your nose gets red, it can indicate anger. So, nose and anger are two different meanings for the same Hebrew word.
So I think our local saint might be onto something. As a result of sin, work will be so difficult that both our bodies (sweat) and our emotions (anger) will be put on display.
If you’ve ever gardened and tried to tame some firm soil, you know what it is to be both sweating and angry.
In the garden, I suggest there was neither sweat nor anger…it was a joy to work and it produced reward, satisfaction and joy. Not so any more.
So when we feel like being idle and just want to “mail it in”, remember that work is part of who we are designed to be. And even though it produces sweat, anger, and other negative things, God has “fitted” each of us for work in various places so that we could be His ambassadors in a fallen world.
The problem is, most of the people in our spheres of influence do not know the world is fallen, and so they don’t think they have a problem with God. So let’s get to work and labor not for the food that perishes, but that which leads to eternal life.
Plowing in sweat and anger with you all for God’s glory,