Tuesday, January 15, 2013

1 Timothy 5:18

 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”

The Spirit presented this verse to me this morning in the most precious of ways. :) So, God has blessed me with the most awesome of bosses, who, although is awesome for many reasons, is definitely most awesome for his relationship with Christ.  His faith shines through in so much of his work and is truly an inspiration to me, especially considering the fact that we definitely do not work in the most spiritual of places.  I find every opportunity to discuss how Christ is working in our lives to be an absolute blessing and make the attempt to relish each of those discussions.  It is awesome to feel the encouragement of the Spirit through conversation.

This morning  as we were catching each other up on our walks with Christ, my boss was briefing me on his readings through The Word.  He was particularly struck by this verse and found the need to share. His excitement in being encouraged by it was very awesome.  Following mention of it, we discussed a bit about what we thought God was saying.

It is common knowledge among society that we work hard in order to reap benefits (usually money) particularly for ourselves and our families.  Being blessed, the boss and I have stable jobs with an income, while nothing to brag about, that definitely provides everything we need, plus enough to enjoy plenty of life's luxuries.  Often Christians who are blessed abundantly might struggle with the the question of, "Is it a sin to enjoy all of these luxuries?" or "Is this lifestyle I'm living glorying to God or to myself?".  Heck, I know I enjoy plenty of things in this life that I don't by any means need.  Is that wrong?  I think the boss and I both have felt this sense of guilt or question in our hearts.

Here, God is clearly saying not to withhold from whom is indeed laboring, and that someone who works deserves his wages.  Please note however that to muzzle an ox would be to prevent it from eating any of the grain it treads upon.  It says nothing about eating all of the grain, or even enough grain to get fat off of.  I believe the same is true with how God wishes for us to handle the abundance with which we have been blessed.

While He wants us to enjoy the fruits of our labor, He also wants us to do it in a way that is healthy for us (an ox not getting too fat).  To overindulge would be extremely unhealthy for us not only physically, but most important, spiritually.  Overindulging stunts our growth and helps to draw an invisible boundary between us and the Spirit.

This leads us to the question of "Okay, how much is too much?".  While that is a great question the only one who can truly answer that is Christ Himself, and I do believe He has plans for us on an individual level regarding indulgence.  Just as I have discussed the desire of God to be involved in our struggles, I believe He has the same desire to be consulted on His plans for us to handle our abundance, or His abundance that He places in our possession for however long He wishes for us to possess it.  Again, this all circles back to our need for complete trust in Him, which in turn will cause us to listen and to follow His guidance.  

God is the only one who knows what is best for us. It is impossible to determine that for ourselves without consulting Him.  That is how we are designed.  I believe there can be times when He knows sacrificing something is the healthiest option for us, while other times we may hear Him say, "go ahead, indulge, it's okay, this is my blessing for you".  As long as we are following His guidance, we need not fear this issue, but again, make the main concern the pursuit of Him, for He will never mislead us. 

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