Six days shalt thou labour!

 

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Theologian and church planter, tour guide, professional athlete, politician, professor of theology, soldier..

Thomas Watson: “God would not have any live out of a calling: religion gives no warrant for idleness. It is a duty to labour six days, as well as keep holy rest on the seventh day. ‘We hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all. Now, them that are such, we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread’ (II Thess 3: 11). A Christian must not only mind heaven, but his calling. While the pilot has his eye to the star, he has his hand to the helm. Without labour the pillars of a commonwealth will dissolve, and the earth, like the sluggard’s field, will be overrun with briers (Prov 24: 31). Adam in innocence, though monarch of the world, must not be idle, but must dress and till the ground (Gen 2: 15). Piety does not exclude industry. Standing water putrifies. Inanimate creatures are in motion. The sun goes its circuit, the fountain runs, and the fire sparkles. Animate creatures work. Solomon sends us to the ant and pismire to learn labour (Prov 6: 6; 30: 25). The bee is the emblem of industry; some of the bees trim the honey, others work the wax, others frame the comb, others lie sentinel at the door of the hive to keep out the drone. And shall not man much more innate himself to labour? That law in paradise was never repeated. ‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread’ (Gen 3: 19). Such professors are to be disliked who talk of living by faith, but live out of a calling; they are like the lilies which ‘toil not, neither do they spin’ (Matt 6: 28). It is a speech of holy and learned Mr Perkins, ‘Let a man be endowed with excellent gifts, and hear the word with reverence, and receive the sacrament, yet if he practice not the duties of his calling, all is but hypocrisy.’ What is an idle person good for? What benefit is a ship that lies always on the shore? or armour that hangs up and rusts? To live out of a calling exposes a person to temptation. Melanchthon calls idleness the Devil’s bath, because he bathes himself with delight in an idle soul. We do not sow seed in ground when it lies fallow; but Satan sows most of his seed of temptation in such persons as lie fallow, and are out of a calling. Idleness is the nurse of vice. Seneca, an old heathen, could say, Nullus mihi per otium dies exit; ‘No day passes me without some labour.’ An idle person stands for a cipher in the world, and God writes down no ciphers in the book of life. We read in Scripture of eating the ‘bread of idleness,’ and drinking the ‘wine of violence’ (Prov 31: 27; 4: 17). It is as much a sin to eat ‘the bread of idleness,’ as to ‘drink the wine of violence.’ An idle person can give no account of his time. Time is a talent to trade with, both in our particular and general callings. The slothful person ‘hides his talent in the earth;’ he does no good; his time is not lived, but lost. An idle person lives unprofitably, he cumbers the ground. God calls the slothful servant ‘wicked.’ ‘Thou wicked and slothful servant.’ Matt 25: 26. Draco, whose laws were written in blood, deprived those of their life who would not work for their living. In Hetruria they caused such persons to be banished. Idle persons live in the breach of the commandment, ‘Six days shalt thou labour.’ Let them take heed they be not banished from heaven. A man may as well go to hell for not working in his calling, as for not believing” (The Ten Commandments, the Fourth Commandment).

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