Monday was Labor Day, signaling the end of summer. Although summer doesn’t actually end until Sept. 22 this year, school started a little more than two weeks ago. While that’s not very long, most students probably enjoyed Labor Day as a welcomed break or new lease on life (some children probably thought their life had ended when school started). Still, because Tucumcari has a four-day school week, and there’s little room for time off, there’s school this Friday to make up for the holiday.
Life is like that. While no one knows exactly how much time he has on earth, we all should realize that our time is limited and live life to its fullest to enjoy it and accomplish the works God has prepared for us to do (John 10:10; James 4:13-17; Ephesians 2:8-10; John 9:4). After this life is over, we’ll answer to God for how we’ve lived here and there’ll be no make up opportunities (2 Corinthians 5:6-10; Hebrews 9:27-28; Luke 12:16-21; 16:19-26).
While work (or school) is drudgery to all people some of the time, it’s drudgery to some people all the time. That’s too bad because it’s best to enjoy the good benefits of any honest effort (Ecclesiastes 3:9-22; Deuteronomy 6:1-2). Some also view obedience to some of God’s commands as work because they do take a lot of effort, at least at first. For example, loving your neighbor as yourself can take special effort (Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-37; John 13:34, 35). But, when we realize how important it is to give and receive love, our love toward one another and its outward expression through good works becomes a labor of love (1 John 3:16-20). Faith is another aspect of obedience requiring work, especially when we see the wicked prosper (John 6:28, 29; Psalm 73:1-12).
Other commands require obedience through submission to allow God to do his work in us, but some people argue that if we do those as a matter of obtaining salvation, God’s grace is set aside (Hebrews 5:7-9; Philippians 2:12-16). Baptism often falls into that category. Baptism is immersion in water to unite oneself with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection so that their sins can be forgiven (Romans 6:3-11; Acts 2:38, 39). It allows them to come into a parent-child relationship with God and reap the benefit of inheriting resurrection unto eternal life in God’s presence (Galatians 3:26-29; 4:6, 7). During baptism, God works through a Christian to help a repentant non-Christian put to death their sinful nature without setting aside God’s grace (John 4:1, 2; Colossians 2:11-13; Galatians 2:20, 21). It’s the appeal to God to clear our conscience by removing our sins (1 Peter 3:21, 22; 1:22, 23; Acts 22:16; Titus 3:3-8; Ephesians 5:25-27).
Don’t labor in vain. Do all of God’s will without complaining to receive his grace in salvation before time runs out (1 Corinthians 15:1, 2, 58; Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46-49; John 14:15-18; Mark 16:16; 2 Corinthians 6:1, 2). Then enjoy life as if you’re in God’s presence because you actually already are (Hebrews 4:13; 10:19-31).
Perseverance is the pathway to perfection (Philippians 3: 12-16).
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org