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Faith and spirituality in a modern world

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[4] Our hard work AND God’s miracles

Noah's Ark floating in the swirling watersDoes our hard work AND God’s miracles go together?

Good, honest hard work is part of God’s plan for our lives, and when the Ark had been completed God expected Noah to look after all the animals in his care.
But also notice that it is the Lord who will make the animals come to Noah! God said:

You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.”
Genesis 6:19-20

The creatures ‘will come to you’.
He didn’t say: “Go out, and catch two of every animal”, because that would have been an impossible task.
But it wasn’t all miraculous, the Lord expected Noah to work hard.
God said:

You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten, and store it away as food for you and for them.”
Verse 21

Man banging in a nail.What does that mean for us?
Well, it won’t be all wonders, so that we sit back and everything drops into place without us lifting a finger.
No, it does involve hard work, but it will also include God’s power.
Paul perfectly expresses this:

To this end I labour, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me.”
Colossians 1:29

Paul laboured and worked very hard, with all God’s energy and power within him.
Paul wrote that they were:

Co-workers with God”
1 Corinthians 3:9

Labourers with God.
In that passage, Paul explains that we have different skills, and gifts, so we use them in His work, but it is God who causes it to grow.

Do you ever look around at people and see so many different skills?
It’s easy to get depressed and think: ‘I am not like so and so, they’re so musical’.
Or, ‘they’re so good with figures.’

But if I had a brain like Einstein’s, what choice did I have?
It would have been given to me by our Creator God, a gift!
Okay, I could encourage and stretch the boundaries of my mathematical brain by studying, etc, but if I hadn’t been given the capacity to do that in the first place, then I couldn’t be an Einstein.

So, we’ve got nothing to be proud of. These things are given to us.
And because God gives out these gifts, He knows which ones you require for the task, that He is asking you to do.
He hasn’t forgotten to give you what you will need.
How many times, have you gathered all the tools and equipment together for a D.I.Y. job, you start on it, only to find you’ve forgotten the tape measure, or whatever!

But the Lord is not like that. He is perfect.
He has given you everything you need, to accomplish the task He is expecting you to do.
As believers, we should have a strong desire to do His work, and to please Him in everything we do.

So, we are labourers with God.
Not that we are equals with God in this task.
When we are involved in something, where we say or do the right thing, we often feel proud. We so easily get puffed up!
Head of a mule.But the Lord can speak through a dumb animal to get His message across, if He so desires.
As in the story of Balaam, (in Numbers 22), where God spoke through a donkey, to restrain the madness of Balaam the prophet.

God can use anybody or anything.
He delights in choosing the weak, the despised, and the lowly to do His work. Paul wrote:

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no-one may boast before Him.”
1 Corinthians 1:27

Let’s pick up what God has given us, and use it in serving the Lord, working with the Lord, not being afraid of hard work, and realising that God works mightily within us.

Animated image: thanks to Serif WebPlus 6
Ark image: thanks to The Pictorial Dictionary published by The Educational Book Company, London.

Peter Reason

December 2011

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