Articles

Articles

I Want to Be a Worker

The word "I" is simultaneously one of the most important words in the English language, and also one of the most selfish. We are all people, and we all refer to ourselves as "I." The first instance of Jesus using the word is found in Matthew 4:19. It reads, "And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. " Jesus' statement teaches us at least three things. First, an individual needs to do something to follow the Lord. Second, Jesus has authority to make people become different than they were before. Third, God expects people who follow Him to do certain things. In the case of the above verse it describes Simon and Andrew becoming fishers of men. They would do different actions than they once did. By looking in the gospels and Acts, we know that these involved labor or work on their part.

Jesus' statement may cause us to think of some questions for ourselves. Do we want to be different than the world? Do we want to follow Jesus Christ? Do we want to be a worker for the Lord, and be a fisher of men? The answers to these questions are individual in nature, and demonstrate what each of us wants. If one studies the New Testament it will become apparent that our desires or wants should change after becoming a Christian. These changes will likely be drastic. Our desires may become the opposite of what they were before we were added to the Body of Christ. For instance, Jesus teaches that if one desires to be first, then it is necessary to be servant of all. The text for this reads, "And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, [the same] shall be last of all, and servant of all. " (Mark 9:35). Such a change in perspective may lead us to want something that is for the good of another, and not just for ourselves. One explicit example of this can be read in Paul's letter to the Philippians, "Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account." (Phil. 4:17)

The apostle's words are in reference to the saints in Philippi sending things to him based on what he needed. This sending was not a one-time act. While Paul was in Thessalonica the Christians sent not only once, but also again according to his necessity (Phil. 4:16). The family of God in Philippi were not thinking of just themselves. They had a desire to help a needy saint, and it wasn't something that was just done in the past. It was done in the past, and also in the present. They had previously been workers for Paul's needs, and continued to be so.

Having read these things, we know that the Philippians labored for the Lord in helping Paul, and we can read very encouraging words concerning these actions. "But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God." (Phil. 4:18)

But were they the only congregation commended for their work? Absolutely not. To the Corinthians Paul praised Timothy as working the work of the Lord (1 Cor. 16:10). Near the beginning of his first letter to the Thessalonians, he mentioned his remembrance of their work of faith (1 Thes. 1:3). Near the middle of the book of Hebrews the author encourages them with these words, "For God [is] not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister." (Heb. 6:10). As we can see from these texts, congregations did not just have the worker, but multiple people laboring for the cause of Christ together.

This shouldn't surprise us. Both God the Father and Jesus worked (John 5:17, 9:4). We also, as disciples of the Lord, are expected to work. Simon and Andrew were expected to follow the Lord. They knew that they were to be fishers of men, and not just fishermen. There are a great number of people around us who have not obeyed the gospel. They are lost, and do not understand how to come back to God. We have the opportunity to abound in the work of the Lord. We can serve one another and teach the lost through God's word. May we not disregard these works. I want to be a worker. Do you?