To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV). The passing of spring yields to the warmth and productivity of summer. Preparation and planting over, now comes the tending of crops as they grow. A garden left untended, just like a soul left untended, is soon choked out by weeds or withers without supplemental watering. Nature provides a powerful example of the diligence required to sustain life. Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep- So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man (Proverbs 6:6-11 NKJV). The ants are a people not strong, Yet they prepare their food in the summer; (Proverbs 30:25 NKJV).

Man’s first work was to tend and keep the garden in Eden (Genesis 2:15). The effort required increased exponentially after man’s decision to sin. Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:17-19 NKJV). Difficulty and toil are the cost of sin.

Ironically, buried in the toil are blessings. Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor-this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 NKJV). Knowing the purpose changes the perspective!

Purposeful effort maximizes yield. For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are confident of better things
concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:7-12 NKJV). The certainty of harvest motivates the gardener just as the certainty of the resurrection motives the Christian. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV).

The Summer of life should be filled with diligent labor. Knowing God’s purpose for mankind and the eternal blessings that await the Christian, our priority must be on spiritual things. Regrettably, many immerse themselves so deeply in the affairs of this world that they will never realize those blessings. He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity. When goods increase, They increase who eat them; So what profit have the owners Except to see them with their eyes? The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, Whether he eats little or much; But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep
(Ecclesiastes 5:10-12 NKJV).

Hard work is satisfying. “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” (John 6:27 NKJV). Do the right work.

KEN FLEEMAN (3/14/2021)

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