Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Ask around if you doubt it. We think we work pretty hard. Especially Americans seem to take pride in their long work days, their short vacations, answering emails and texts wherever they are, even for the last few years wearing watches that will flash them notifications so they don't have to look at their phones, but just glance at their wrists. I also fall into that trap sometimes, though I unashamedly leave my phone silenced in my pocket and check it when I feel like it.
Our Old Testament reading for the commemoration of Joseph, the Guardian of Jesus, is from 2 Samuel 7:4-16. Here God points out to David the king that it is not David who has gained the kingdom, but God who has done it all. God took David from his work, a good and noble work, caring for sheep, and appointed him to be king over Israel, the flock of God's people. God is the one who establishes the kingdom. God is the one who makes David have a dwelling place. It is not David who gives God something he needs.
Did David work? Yes, he worked very hard. He endured hardship, toil, and mortal peril. But God's attitude about it all is that David was simply working as God's instrument. If anything good happened, it was due to God's intervention in David's life and in the life of Israel.
Looking forward, the message of God was that one day David's offspring would have an eternal kingdom. This is not a message about an earthly king. It's about someone who reigns in immortality. It's a message about Jesus.
What was Joseph's role in raising Jesus? Joseph seemed to work hard. He was apparently not a wealthy man. By the fact that Joseph is never mentioned when Jesus is an adult we assume that he didn't live to the time of Jesus' public ministry, his death, burial, and resurrection. Yet through the labors of his servant Joseph, God assured that Jesus, the king who reigns forever on David's eternal throne, was nurtured, nourished, and provided for as he grew up.
Joseph deserves some honorable mention. He worked hard, no doubt, just like David. But all the true accomplishments are due to God's work, not Joseph's, not David's.
Likewise with our vocations. We are working for God. We are laborers in His kingdom. It isn't the other way around. Our good accomplishments bring honor to God, not to us. We are simply willing servants.
What's our priority? Is it answering that text, sending off another email, or trusting that God is able to work in us and through us to accomplish his purposes? May it always be the latter.
If this brief meditation was helpful to you, I hope you will check out the other materials on our website at www.WittenbergCoMo.com and consider supporting us.