“Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”
- Ephesians 4:28
Daily, our lives and stuff intersect. It is estimated that a person is subjected to 6,000 ads per day, many of which lead to consumption. We are constantly seeing, buying, and accumulating stuff.
According to our passage, there are three ways that you intersect with stuff:
- You steal to get it.
- You work to get it.
- You work to get it so that you can give it.
Let's assume that we understand that the first intersection is wrong; stealing is wrong. Early on, professing Christians are taught, “thou shall not steal.”
I am afraid we do not see that living in the second intersection can be just as dangerous. Too many professing Christians live comfortably, passively within the second intersection, working to get.
We glorify work over stealing, knowing that we have acted civilly. We've earned the right to consume by giving ourselves to an honest day's work and receiving an honest day's wage.
Of course, working to get is not a bad thing. Work is always better than stealing. But that's not what the apostle calls us to.
The Bible pushes us beyond working to get; the Bible calls us to work so that we can give. “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8). Why does God bless us with abundance? So we can have enough to live on, and then use the rest to give. Enough for us; abundance for others.
Money is not the issue here; how much money we do or do not have is of no consequence. What matters is what we live and work for— do we live and work to get, or do we live and work to give?
Those who know King Jesus as Lord and Savior will not settle for working to get. In Christ, we have more than we could ever ask for or imagine. In Christ, God has lavishly loved us (1 Jn. 3:1); therefore, we work so that we can extravagantly bless others.
We work so that we can give.