Ministry in the Marketplace, Inc.
There is no Intrinsic value in the Product of our Work
“The earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up”.
2 Peter 3:10
"If any man’s work abides which he hath build thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
1 Corinthians 3: 14-15
So it is in God’s relationship with His children. Because He loves them, He may assign value to what they produce, but that doesn’t mean that the things produced have value in and of themselves. They are all going to “burn”.
Labor’s value as viewed from the worth of the product is equal in importance for all people from God’s perspective. Since the product is going to burn, it is the focus of the labor that is important to God. The product of the coal miner is as important as the product of the architect. The man in the gulag in solitary confinement for his faith is as productive for God, if the focus of his life is correct, as the great evangelist. It is one of the great equalizers of the human race.
Man’s labor may be directed toward creating wealth, such as the farmer in the field or the bricklayer constructing a building. It may also promote self-improvement, such as the mastering of a skill or the learning of a language. Such accomplishments receive recognition from man, but note the apostle Paul’s evaluation of his own accomplishments:
"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ."
There is an unequal distribution of gifts and opportunities in the world. Some people are marginally gifted; others are multi-gifted. Some are able to labor in God’s vineyard for many years, others for only a short period of time. Thus, it is not the amount of fruit that an individual produces that pleases God but the degree to which he is faithful to the opportunities God assigns him. All of this is blurred if Christians do not have a firm grip on the fact that there is no intrinsic value in the product of work.
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