God on Monday
They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat (…).
My chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands (Isaiah 65:21–22).
Christians can feel uncomfortable with the material returns on their investment of time, energy and money. They often feel more at ease considering spiritual returns.
But in reality, most of our waking hours are devoted to the generation of resources to meet the physical needs of ourselves and our loved ones.
Isaiah’s words can help us accept this reality as God-given. Speaking to a nation that had suffered invasion and had seen its homes and resources seized by intruders, he brought a message of hope that things would not always be this way.
Change may seem slow in coming. The dreadful situation in Ukraine is a reminder of how much patience may be needed and we can salute the Ukrainian people for their patience (mixed with fortitude and resolve). But God’s will is that people ‘enjoy the work of their hands’. This is true regardless of whether they actually see this happen in their earthly lifetimes. God wants people to derive a good return on their investment of labour and other resources.
Spiritual returns are also important but there’s no reason to be uncomfortable about material returns. The incarnation means God enters the material world and the bodily resurrection means God transforms it. The spiritual and the material are interwoven and form one universe under God.
What returns are you expecting from your labour this week? Can you thank God for these benefits?
Loving Father, thank you for the labour opportunities you provide, and for their seen and unseen returns.
Give some thought to other passages in the Bible that describe the good fruit that can accrue from our labour (e.g. Ruth 2:12, 1 Samuel 25:32-34), while not forgetting those passages that remind us of our responsibility to share with those less fortunate (e.g. Nehemiah 8:12, Job 31:16-20).
To explore return on investment from God's perspective, join the 2022 Faith in Business Leadership Retreat on ‘God’s Investment and Ours’ in Cambridge on 20-21 May. Some tickets
are still available.
, Independent mentor and Visiting Lecturer at the University of Buckingham School of Business.
God on Monday is produced in partnership with the Church of England. The reflections are based on the scriptural readings designated for the coming Sunday in the Church's lectionary. You can sign up to Faith in Business here to receive each God on Monday instalment.
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