“Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.” Philippians 2:12b NLT
He was a master carpenter and custom home builder by trade. He could create things with his hands that most could only dream of in their imagination. He moved to the United States from Sweden and made a successful life for himself. While most knew him for his selfless attitude and care for the people he loved, there was more. I used to watch him work each day. By the time I was able to watch him work he was well into his retirement—perhaps even into his early 80s. I would watch him repair things, build things, and create with what seemed like great ease. What I may have been too young to know is that all this talent and skill was the result of both great talent and incredible hard work. The man we all affectionately called “Gramps” was one of the hardest working people I have ever known. In later years folks would share stories with me about how meticulous Gramps was when he was building homes. He worked incredibly hard and took great care in doing things with excellence. This is what I will always remember about my Gramps.
Over the years as I have talked with my dad, Gramps [a.k.a. Arthur Teglund] was a big influence on his life. When his parents divorced when he was 16 my dad moved in with Gramps. My dad had two jobs as a high school student to earn money. My dad is one of the hardest working people I have every known as well. In part, he learned from Gramps what it meant to work hard. I would like to think that, especially in my adult life, I have learned from both men. I believe I am a hard worker when it comes to my vocation and helping others. This comes from a long line of hard workers passing down their work ethic and striving for excellence. Who are the people who you have known in your life who demonstrated the value of hard work? What have you learned from them and how are you better because of their influence?
There is another aspect of our life where hard work is important. Our faith journey is a life that requires hard work as well. This is what The Apostle Paul was saying in Philippians 2:12b when he wrote, “Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.” Gramps showed the results of his hard work through amazing carpentry and custom homes. My dad showed the results of his hard work through the best sales results in the company. Paul is urging us to work hard to show the results of our salvation through obedience and reverence. Paul goes on to say we should do everything without complaining or arguing. We show the results of our salvation through living lives that are pure and innocent before God. Lives that shine bright in a world where the bright light of Christ is needed. Paul indicates that the hard work of our salvation is holding closely, or firmly, to the Word of God—who is Jesus Christ. When we work hard to show the results of our salvation we look more like Jesus.
If we want to have the best year yet in 2019, we need to work hard to show the results of our salvation. We need to work hard to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We need to work hard to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We need to work hard to be the light everywhere and in everything. When we put in the hard work of showing the results of our salvation we will experience the best Jesus has for us. Working hard on our faith life allows Jesus to do amazing things in and through us. We will be more open to the Holy Spirit’s direction and guidance. We will experience the best Jesus intends for those who love Him. Paul reminds you that as you work hard, “God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” [v.13]
We work hard every day in so many ways. In 2019 will we work hard to show the results of our salvation? Will you work for your best and trust God with the rest? If you will, the best is yet to come!
This weekend at all four worship services we will be discussing how the best is yet to come. We will discuss how to make 2019 the best year yet. I hope you will join us this weekend and every weekend for worship. The best is yet to come for St. Andrew’s as we are on mission together. I can’t wait to see you in church!