Our theme this year comes from Proverbs 16:9: “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Our plans are important. And they change. But God always establishes our steps. There is no denying that life is hard work. Paul even says that we were created in Christ Jesus for good works (Ephesians 2:10). God left Adam and Even in the garden to work it. Work is admirable. It’s honorable. God gave us hands to work with.
Kingdom work and “secular work” are so intertwined in the scriptures that it’s difficult to know which is which. Perhaps the radical distinction we make between the two is really superficial. Maybe that’s why we’ve gotten away from bi-vocational ministry and have instead become dependent on paying lead ministers to do “the work of the church.” It might be better, instead, to talk in terms of work ethic.
If we took that approach, we’d soon realize that all work is kingdom work. It’s all tied to the blessing and receiving that God has planned out for us. Proverbs 10:4-5 ESV says, “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.” Again, the scriptures repeatedly talk about having a good work ethic. This is not just so the grain can be hauled in and the farmer’s family can eat. It’s to teach us to be responsible with our time and abilities, to not squander them and be lazy. When we have a good work ethic as a church, our plans come together and God establishes our steps!