The other day as I shifted gears from second to third happy to be hugging the road in my stick shift car that hasn’t seen many miles lately, I noticed a homemade sign outside a house that said something like “THANK YOU, essential workers! Keep up the good work.”
A couple miles down the road safely humming along in fourth gear—another sign sang “We LOVE you, essential workers!” These signs were fitting tributes to America’s essential workers courageously helping us during this pandemic. Teachers, doctors, nurses, health care workers, food service workers, truck drivers, and more all united in efforts to beat this vile virus.
There is also a new tradition of people howling like wolves outside at 8 PM to honor essential health care workers. As someone who fights pack mentality, I resisted the howling at first. However, I’ve recently joined in because it is pack mentality for the good and had fun honoring essential workers this way.
The howling and signs made me wonder what it meant to be God’s essential worker. America and Colorado have clearly made designations in our now struggling economic system, however, are there “essential” and “non-essential” workers in God’s economy?
When you think of an essential worker for Jesus, perhaps you think of an essential evangelist like the late Billy Graham who undoubtedly led thousands and thousands of people to faith in Jesus Christ. Or maybe you think of essential egalitarians like Kathy Keller and Pastor Tim Keller who transformed New York City with their love of neighbor and proclamation of truth. Or what about our very own essential evangelicals, Mary Clark and Pastor Jeff Clark, who have a passion for living out their faith and serving neighbors in this mountain community.
These essential workers for God are definitely that, yet the definition goes much farther.
Holy scripture tells us that “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23, ESV). Jesus, in his last words to his disciples before he left this earth and to every disciple since that time, including us, said “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirt, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20, ESV).
The great reformer Martin Luther said it this way: “The works of monks and priests, however holy and arduous they be, do not differ one whit in the sight of God from the works of the rustic laborer in the field or the woman going about her household tasks, but that all works are measured before God by faith alone... Indeed, the menial housework of a manservant or maidservant is often more acceptable to God than all the fastings and other works of a monk or priest, because the monk or priest lacks faith.”
It is therefore my conviction that there is no such thing as a “non-essential” worker in God’s economy. All who put their trust in Jesus as leader of their life and forgiver of their sins are essential workers for him. We all are called to work for God. Not out of dutiful obligation or to earn salvation but rather as a celebration of it and in overflowing thanks to God for the gifts of grace and faith he mercifully gave us.
Our mission as God’s workers never changes although the means to that mission often does. This is the case now more than ever during the pandemic. Working for God, safely.
Our mission to love God with all our heart in some ways is easier during these times where many of us have more time on our hands at home. I encourage those with this time to not waste it. Go deeper with God asking him to teach you and guide you during this time.
Our mission to love our neighbor as ourselves is different as well due to social distancing parameters. The means to that mission could be asking a neighbor if they need anything from the grocery store when you go, sending our online church services to them for viewing in their home, crafting masks, or offering comforting words when you sense worry. I’m hearing stories and seeing these very things during this time. Way to go Aspen Ridgers!
As His eternal essential workers on this earth, we are all called to share love, share his truth, be generous with whatever treasure he has given us, and resist fear and evil.
I believe that if God made a sign for believers at this time it would read something like “I LOVE you my children, ALL essential workers, keep doing the good work I prepared for you long ago!” (Ephesians 2:10). I also imagine he might laugh with joy when we passed his sign punching the gas and sticking 6TH gear. No speed limits! Howling for us to keep going and finish the race well. (2 Timothy 4:7-8, Hebrews 12:1-2).
Your Grateful Director of Small Groups,