April 17 – 21, 2023

April 17 – 21, 2023



Read Genesis 2:15, 3:17-19; Proverbs 6:6-8, 31:17

Our theme this week is “God calls us to work to earn our way in life.” God’s plan from the beginning of Creation was that humans were to work. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). After Adam and Eve fell into sin, their work now involved painful toil and vigorous work. “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. … By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground” (Genesis 3:17-19).

There are biblical examples of hard workers. The ant in Proverbs 6:6-8: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its way and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” The Wife of Noble Character in Proverbs 31:17: “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” Two Christian women living in Rome whom Paul mentions in Romans 16:12: “Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord.” Paul himself: “We work hard with our own hands” (1 Corinthians 4:12). “I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).

God’s plan is for all humans to work hard to live. Therefore, we must be hard workers, and we are not to look down on those who do manual labor or work in lower-paid positions, such as store clerks, waitresses, fast food workers, etc. Therefore, when I see people selling flowers on street corners, I respect them highly. They are willing to put in much effort to earn a few dollars rather than be thieves.

Lord, Your plan for us is to work hard to earn a living. May we be faithful in doing this. And may we especially have high esteem for those laborers in positions upon which society tends to look down.


How do you regard your job?


For International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES)

Pray for IFES students in Antalya, Turkey—especially Ata, Maria, Sevda, and Shamil—who have suffered loss in the earthquake and are working diligently to help in recovery. May they be strengthened as they share the light of Christ’s love amid the devastation.



Read 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15

God calls us to work hard to earn a living. However, there are some who refuse to work. Paul encountered this problem with the Thessalonians. Paul encouraged them to work diligently. “Make it your ambition … to work with your own hands” (1 Thessalonians 4:11). Then he urged the brothers to warn those who were idle (1 Thessalonians 5:14) and to even stay away from them (2 Thessalonians 3:6). Paul used strong language: “We gave you this rule: If a man will not work, he shall not eat. … Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10,12).

Paul appeals to his own example of hard work. “For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this not because we do not have the right to such help, but to make ourselves a model for you to follow” (2 Thessalonians 3:7-9).

Today in our society there are people who refuse to work. I once tried to help a man find a job. He had a family of eight children and was living on public aid. I took him to a job interview; he was offered a job as a punch-press operator at a factory. He turned down the job because the salary did not match what he was receiving from public aid. (He was receiving a relatively large amount of aid due to the size of his family.) I tried to convince him that public aid would cover the deficit, and
that with future pay raises, he would eventually receive more than his aid check. And, as each of his children turned eighteen years old, his aid check would be cut accordingly. He was not convinced. He would rather live off the public dole.


What can we do for those who are not interested in working?


For International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES)

Pray for those IFES Christian students who were studying in Antalya and have returned to their home towns since university classes are online this semester (due to the earthquake). Many are struggling because their families are not Christian and won’t allow them to go to church where they are now living.



Read Proverbs 12:11, 24; 13:4; 14:23; Ecclesiastes 2:10; 5:18-20

God’s calls us to work hard to earn a living because there are many benefits. There will be abundance. “He who works his land will have abundant food” (Proverbs 12:11). The hard worker will become the boss. “Diligent hands will rule, bur laziness ends in slave labor” (Proverbs 12:4). Hard work brings much satisfaction. “The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied” (Proverbs 13:4). Hard work gains rewards. “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23).

My mother, as a first-generation immigrant, worked as a seamstress in a sewing factory. Since she was paid on a piece-work basis, based on the number of garments she sewed, she worked through her breaks and lunch hour to earn more money. Since my father was able to support our family, she was able to save her entire paycheck each pay period. After several years of work, she saved enough to make a down payment to purchase a two-story commercial building with five storefronts in West Los Angeles. Hard work pays off.

Hard work brings not only profit but also much satisfaction. “My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor” (Ecclesiastes 2:10). “Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man … to find satisfaction in his toil and labor under the sun during the few days God has given him—for this is his lot” (Ecclesiastes 5:18). The man on public aid in Tuesday’s devo who refused to work missed out on the satisfaction that work brings. 

When a person enjoys his or her work, this is a gift from God. “Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart” (Ecclesiastes 5:19-20).


Do you enjoy your work? Do you see it as a gift from God? If not, why?


For International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES)

Pray for the weekly “family dinners” with students who remain in Antalya. May these students be consistent in attending these dinners, and may all build each other up spiritually as they fellowship and study God’s Word together.




Read 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12; 5:18

Besides hard work bringing personal satisfaction and joy, it also gains respect and admiration from others. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that their willingness to work hard will gain the respect of outsiders. “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent upon anybody” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).

When you see people enthusiastically working with joy, you admire and respect them. I worked with some people who had such attitudes. As a college student, I spent half a summer working on the grounds-maintenance crew at the Navigators’ Glen Eyrie Castle conference grounds in Colorado. One day we were assigned the job of cleaning out the dung in the cow and horse barns. We had to shovel dung into wheelbarrows, roll the wheelbarrows out to a pick-up truck, shovel the dung from the wheelbarrows on to the truck-bed, and then return to the barn for more dung. After the truck was full, we drove to a dump site where we shoveled the dung out. Then we returned to the barns for more dung. We spent the whole day taking four truckloads of dung to the dump.

What was noteworthy of this experience was the attitude of the workers. Not one person complained about the smells, getting the dung on their clothing or shoes, or the unpleasantness of the work. They were working with enthusiasm and enjoyment and did a complete job, rather than just get by with grudging, minimal effort. Their cheerfulness while working made it more pleasant for me.

This was my first close-up exposure to people working for the Navigators. This created within me a high respect for the Navigators, which carries over to today. Doing our work enthusiastically and thoroughly can give long-term encouragement to others.


How do your work attitudes affect those around you? What change might you have to make? Are you willing to make those changes? Why?


For International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES)

Pray for the participants who attended this year’s Spring Cultural Exchange on April 1–10 with a group of Christian students from Australia. Pray that the local students who participated in the special events respond to the Good News that was celebrated Easter Sunday.



Read Colossians 3:23-24; 1 Corinthians 13:3; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Revelation 2:2-4

Our motivation for working hard is also important. Paul tells us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward” (Col. 3:23-24). We are to work hard not only to please men, or when the boss is present, or for our reputation. Instead, our motivation to work hard is to please God because He is the One who will reward us. Therefore, in all that we do, we will want to work wholeheartedly because we are working for Him. We will want to put in our very best efforts. God deserves only our best.

Why would we want to give our best efforts in our work for God? Because we love Him. This is the most important motivation for working hard for the Lord. Without it, our diligent efforts amount to nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3). The people in the church in Ephesus were hard workers but lacked love. “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. … Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love” (Revelation 2:2-4). Love is our most basic motivation for serving the Lord. This is what drove Paul to work diligently for the Lord. “For Christ’s love compels us … [to] no longer live for ourselves but for Him …” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

A mother with two teenagers was complaining to me that when they washed the dishes, they did only the dishes. They did not wipe the counter, the table, nor the stove, only the dishes. After hearing this—because I wash the dishes at home—I made a special effort to wipe the counter, the table, and the stove, as well as wash the dishes. I carefully do this out of my love for the Lord because I want to give Him my very best efforts.


Does your love for the Lord provide enough motivation for you to give Him your very best efforts? If not, why not? What can you do about it?


For our missionary with International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES)

Pray for a breakthrough in our missionary’s wife’s Visa situation. She was denied by a lower court but they have hired a new lawyer who has been successful in similar cases. Pray that God will guide him and open the way for our missionary and his wife to acquire a “Family Visa” at last.



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