By Eugene Crawley
“For we are laborers together with God . . .” (1 Cor. 3:9). “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain” (2 Cor. 6:1). These passages introduce a vital subject, one that needs to be better understood, and even better put into practice.
Jesus set an example of work (labor) while He was upon the earth doing the work that God gave Him to do. He said, “I must work while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work” (John 9:4). He was, indeed, a worker of the kind which pleases God; one willing to do that which was commanded Him (John 8:29; 12:49). Further, He said, “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not” (John 10:37). Therefore, Jesus was a worker, a laborer with God, His Father.
Too many today could not be so described. Therefore, it behooves us to think seriously concerning our relationship and our responsibility because of this relationship. Among some other things this means that we are not to be shirkers; such seek to evade their duty and work. Neither are we to be players; too many are doing no more than playing at religion – even the religion of Christ. Time is too valuable to be wasted in such a way. Nor are we to be idlers; such are no more than drones, sluggards, loafers. Neither would gossipers fit the description of workers; such idly pass the time, and become involved in this destructive sin. Thus, emphasis is placed upon our being workers in the kingdom of God. To conclude that worship is all that is required of the child of God is to fail to understand the entire duty of God’s people.
Another matter of importance suggested by this language is that of working together. And, this working together means with God and others. This impresses the idea of unity, harmony; not “I” but “We.” And, it further teaches that we are not to work against Him. Thus, if we will see to it that we work in unity and harmony with God by learning His will and doing His will, then the greatest work on earth will be accomplished; and it will be preparation for eternity by all those engaged.
The word or expression “with, ” in this thought means in “some particular relation to; especially implying company, association, or connection;” this can be seen from the instruction of Christ in John 15:1-6. Too, it means, “Not against; not ahead of; not behind.” The whole idea is that of full cooperation and fellowship (2 John 9: John 14:23). Are we working with God?
Not to be overlooked in this matter is the one with whom we are to work. This is truly an essential matter. We could be workers together, and still not be workers with God. We must, therefore, be certain that as we work together that our work is in keeping with, is according to, the instruction of God. What it amounts to is this: we could be united in error, as are many people in the religious world. If we are to work with God, we must study His word, learn His pattern, and then work accordingly; then, and not before, are we “laborers together with God.” We need to realize that there is no neutrality, no middle-ground, no middle-of-the-road (Matt. 12:30); so we must labor in the proper realm (in Christ), and according to the correct pattern (God’s word) if we are to succeed in pleasing Him. To be blessed we must work together with him. Without Him we are nothing, and can do nothing (John 15:5). When we do work as He directs, He is honored and glorified, souls are saved, and we prepare for that inevitable meeting with Him in judgment.
Now, before saying “there is nothing I can do,” stop and think seriously. Even though it may not be as great as you have seen others do, or as great as you may want to do, remember that before one can do great things, he must learn to do little things, and do them well! There is work for all to do, for each of us; but let us not forget that we are to be workers together, united, and with God; respectful of His authority and of His way.
Let each member of the body of Christ find something that he is able to do in the service of God, and begin now to do that! We can work with Him, and with all others who are following His divine plan. Do we really need anything better? The fact is there is nothing better; there is nothing that begins to be anywhere near to as good as His way! Surely all should be content with His way!
Guardian of Truth XXVI: 5, p. 75
February 4, 1982