Every good work
August 22 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Every good work | Friday, Aug. 22, 2003

Friday, Aug. 22, 2003

Every good work

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

With Labor Day at hand, America celebrates the value of honest labor. In fact, we prize work so highly that other countries look at us and shake their collective heads. Americans work more hours per day and more days per year than just about anybody.

Have you heard about French, German and Italian workers getting 30 to 40 paid vacation days per year, taking entire months off?

It's true.

They do.

Surveys I've seen suggest that Americans average from 10 to 13 paid vacation days, and many workers take off less time than they have available.

We honor work, which is one of the reasons our productivity levels are always among the highest in the world.

Unfortunately, to squeeze extra profit and productivity from their personnel, American businesses have taken to downsizing their staffs while requiring remaining employees to work longer and harder - an unhappy subject to be chased at another time.

Europeans shake their heads and say we suffer from Vacation Deficit Disorder, and they might be right.

Be that as it may, I've always thought Labor Day observances should focus on more than the work we get paid for, or the work required to keep our houses off the Health Department's watch list.

The Bible often speaks of work that is good, but the term is rarely applied to vocational labor. In the Bible, "good work" is that which we do as obedient servants of God.

Nehemiah, for example, urged the people of Jerusalem to rebuild the walls of their city as a means of declaring their trust in God, referring to it as a good work (Neh. 2:18).

Jesus defended the woman who poured expensive ointment on His feet against those who criticized her extravagance, saying she had done a good work to Him (Mat. 26:10, Mar. 14:6).

Paul prayed that God would bless the Christians in Corinth so they might abound in every good work (2 Cor. 9:8), and expressed confidence that God would continue to enhance the good work begun in them (Phil. 1:6).

He prayed that the Colossians might be fruitful in every good work (Col. 1:10), and that God would strengthen the Thessalonians in every good word and work (2 Thess. 2:17).

Timothy was told that the office of bishop carries on a good work (1 Tim. 3:1), that those who purge themselves of dishonorable things are prepared for a good work (2 Tim. 2:21), and that church support of widows should go only to those known for their good works (1 Tim. 5:10).

The letter of Titus speaks of false teachers who shun good works (1:16), and encourages believers to be ready for every good work (3:1).

The best of our good works are not done for hire, but for the glory of God and the love of the people God has created.

That's why I appreciate people like Mary Conyers so much. After a long career of supporting church programs as a secretary with the Baptist State Convention, you would think she'd be ready for a break.

But Mary has grandchildren, and when one of those grandchildren innocently stumbled across a pornographic site on the Internet, a crusade was born (see story, p. 1).

Mary and others she has recruited have worked countless hours to get a law passed requiring all Internet pornography sites to use .xxx as a domain name so they will be more readily identifiable.

I suspect, and Web-savvy consultants confirm, that pornographers will find ways to circumvent the restriction, which in any case would apply only to sites based in America.

So why persevere? Because, even though digital smut-peddlers can probably work around a law, it could make life a little more difficult and a little more expensive for those who profit from human weakness by degrading human sexuality.

Passing a law may be more a matter of show than effect, but as BSC "web-minister" Shane Nixon tells me, "the show has an effect."

If nothing else, the effort holds a candle against the darkness and speaks a strong word in defense of children. It is a good work.

What sort of "good work" are you doing beyond what is reflected on your paycheck? How much time do you invest in ministry to the poor, the hungry, the imprisoned, the sick with whom Christ identified?

The Bible makes it clear that we are not saved by our good works - but we are saved for good works, that others might see Christ in us.

That's the kind of work that makes a good Labor Day a good labor day.

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8/22/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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