Inhabit, cultivate and protect
What do people think of me? What do people think of you?
Immediately I can hear people say that it doesn’t matter what other people think of them. They don’t live for other people.
That might be right. We cannot allow what other people think of us determine how we live our lives. Our foundation is God and God’s Word, and He should be our guiding principle. That’s how it ought to be.
But we should also know that the way we live impacts the people around us. People often look at the way that others do it and copy them. Not only our children, but also those people in whose lives we make an impact, observe us closely. They will often do things the way we do it, because as they understand it, that is the right way to go.
It’s a scary thought to realise what an immense responsibility we have in living the right way.
11Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job. You’ve heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts. 12We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends.
People will look at us and will respect us if we obey this simple command from God. In Genesis, God already commanded us: Inhabit, cultivate and protect the earth. Each of us has been instructed to act according to the rules. Even if life knocks us down, even if the financial season looks bad, even if we fear drowning in the waves of losing our jobs, we have to get up again and again and do as instructed. Inhabit, cultivate and protect.
I suspect we’ll go to work differently if we know that God actually wants to use us right there. Apart from just doing your job, it is the place where God wants to use us. Through you, through the way you live and work, He wants to talk to people who do not even belong to a church, people who do not know Him. What a big responsibility!
The net effect when you live that dream that God has for you right there in the market place, there where the sweat drips from your face, is respect. People will respect you. They will look up to you and will desire to be like you. They will want to know why you are different, why you keep going sometimes in very difficult circumstances. Then you will be able to tell them that you are simply living your calling. That you are simply doing what God expects of you.
In a way, God will indeed use this to talk to people who don’t want anything to do with Him. People will not only respect you, but God as well.
Go and inhabit, cultivate and protect the earth. Go and enjoy it. Abandon yourself to that kind of life; know that you will command respect and that God’s Kingdom will grow.
What does your work look like?
Is this where God called you to be?
Is there respect?
Lord, I’ve never looked at it like this. It’s kind of awesome to think that You can talk to others through the way that I do things. I feel so small and the responsibility too big. But with You on my side, I can face life and enjoy respect. Amen.