The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.
There are many forms of work in this life. We work to put a roof over our head. We work to put food on the table. We work to provide luxuries for ourselves and others. Maybe we work to advance our careers. Maybe we work to build up our homes and our lives in general.
These things are usually honorable, so long as we do not neglect what Jesus teaches us.
He says, “do not labor for food that perishes, but for food that brings everlasting life.”
He says, “Do no lay up for yourselves treasure in earth, where moths and rust corrupt and thieves break through and steal. Instead, lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven where moths and rust do not corrupt, and thieves do not break through and steal. Where your treasure is, your heart will be also.”
What does this mean?
How do we labor for bread of life? How do we lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven?
As Christians, we have things to care for. Most importantly, we have people to care for. We have our families, we have our brethren in the faith, we have unbelievers we live around an encounter. We should work to bring the Bread and Fountain of Life to everyone, to the best of our ability and according to the faith and grace given to us.
This is a great treasure. Just as Jesus brings life, we are given the task of brining life as our own lives testify of He who IS Life. In so doing, we are rewarded as “good and faithful” servants who properly “occupy” until our Lord returns.
This can feel futile sometimes.
In a world in which “iniquity abounds” and the wicked tend to sin instead of life, it can be hard to maintain a focus on the Kingdom of Heaven. We get bogged down by the world and our hearts go after it.
As the parable of the sower teaches, there are many things in this life that can steal the good things of His Kingdom from us.
Maybe unbelievers snatch the good things of God away from us before they take root. Maybe hard times come and we give into sin instead of trusting in God. Maybe we lose sight of Jesus at times when the cares of this life and worldly purists overshadow Him. Maybe the world tramples on us and our hearts become hardened.
If we get overly distracted by this world, we find ourselves also tending to things of wickedness instead of things of life. Maybe we had a kind of “fruit,” but exposure to the world and those who love sin ate up what we had and turned it into refuse.
However, as Christians who take the faith seriously, He will not allow us to fulfil the wrong side of His parables only.
There is going to be some measure of “good ground” in which His seed will develop deep and abiding roots and bring forth lasting fruits of the Spirit and treasures in His Kingdom that will not be taken from us.
This takes time. It takes time to grow deep roots. It takes time for a strong plant to form. It takes time for fruit to produce.
There are also differing types of plants. Some plants require much difficulty so they can grow into what they are meant to be. Sometimes we go through dry seasons. Sometimes we endure freezing temperatures and scorching heat. Sometimes we are made to grow within hard and rocky soil.
So, it may seem that we are seed on bad ground, but in reality, these hardships are making us into who we are as we learn an important truth: everything we have is the grace of God towards us.
Maybe we can bring forth some measure of fruit by own work, but I don’t think it will last. I know this from experience.
Although I appreciate the virtue it takes to strive against sin, our striving should always be in the form of seeking Jesus. It can be easy to forget this and before we know it, we see that we are fighting our battles alone, trusting in our own virtue to preserve us.
It won’t. We do not have the strength or the goodness enough within ourselves to maintain.
This world will get in. This world will corrupt. This world kills, steals, and destroys. Jesus brings life abundant.
We will be fruitful according to the measure of faith and grace given to us, so above all else seek the grace of God through the Son, Jesus Christ and the power of His Spirit that never dries up. He will do all things in us according to the perfect and pleasing will of the Father for us, so that God is glorified in us and by us.
Do our hearts seek the treasures of Life in the Kingdom of Everlasting Life by the power of He Who IS Life? Or, are our hearts looking to this world? I know that many Christians are caught up in the things of this world. I know how easy it can be, but I also know that the Lord will do anything He must in order to draw us nearer to Him.
This world will steal our worldly riches. They cannot have enough of these things because that is all they have. Let them have it.
“Blessed are those whose God is the Lord, Jesus Christ.” He cannot be stolen from us. HE is the GREATEST treasure!