The city of Corinth in the 1st century was like most big cities, very sexually immoral. The city abounded with mistresses, prostitutes, homosexuals and adulterers. It was not uncommon for a man to be married to his wife, have a mistress and habitually visit temple prostitutes. To “corinthianize” was slang for sexually immoral behaviour. The citizens of Corinth would have felt right at home at this year’s Grammy Awards ceremony where Beyoncé and Jay Z’s performed, in an act of public debauchery, “Drunk in Love”. Beyoncé’s song starts with these words:
I’ve been drinking,
I get filthy when that liquor get into me
We be all night, last thing I remember is our
Beautiful bodies grinding up in that club, drunk in love
A not-to-be-named website claims, “Cremation is devil worship by profanely desecrating the human body which is a good gift from God.” Recently I attended a conference and one of the speakers stated that is was his “very strong conviction” that Christians should not be cremated, but buried in the ground.
In my previous post I said that work was good. Most of the readers of this blog will either be working outside the home in the business world or in the home as a housewife. How should we conduct ourselves? How should a Christian work? Here are a couple of principles that must be worked out in our different areas of work.
Work is an area of Christian freedom
Contrary to what many people think, God is not a grumpy old man in heaven with a big stick ready to whack people. God gives us a great amount of freedom in his good world. He said to Adam and Eve, “Here are two million trees to eat from, just not this one.” By obeying God’s command Adam and Eve were demonstrating their love for God and their willingness to live as creatures not as phony Creators. Work also is an area of Christian freedom. God has given us commands and guidelines – for our own good – and within those guidelines we are free to work in whatever field we choose or prefer. If you want to study or work in law or medicine, be a sales rep or accountant, a singer or a teacher, do it – as long as while you are studying or working you are not breaking God’s commands.
The Bible does not give us a definition of work, but we might define work as the activities that we are principally engaged in during the week, whether paid or unpaid, whether in the home or out the home.
What does the Bible say about work? God is the creator of the universe and therefore the universe belongs to him. And because God is God over everything in the universe, that must include our leisure, social life, marriage, bank account and work. There can be no hidden compartments. Moreover, because the gospel is true and we have believed the gospel, it must affect and influence how we spend our money, how we use our leisure time, how we conduct our friendships and our attitude to work.
James 3:9-10 says, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.”
James says that many stand and sing choruses during Sunday service and on the way home curse the driver who pulled in front of them. Many religiously say their prayers on Monday morning, but at work lie to their employer as to why they’re late. Many attend small group on Wednesday, but spread office slander at the work party on Friday. We are schizophrenic much of the time and that is not good, nor honouring to God, nor worthy of Christ. A schizophrenic mouth is not consistent with a truly converted person. That why James says, “My brothers (and sisters), this should not be!”
James 3 tells us that our speech is powerful, dangerous, untameable and schizophrenic. We all struggle in this area. How do we change our speech and move from words that do the devil’s work (v6) to words that honour God? The answer is that we change our heart.
Have you been to a braaivleis (South African BBQ) recently? Did you come home depressed because of the compulsive grumblers? I did. Too much corruption in the government! Too much unemployment! Too much crime! The petrol price. The schools. The youth. The weather! You name the subject, it gets grumbled about. Perhaps even more seriously, we grumble privately to ourselves: Life is so unfair. My salary is too low. If only God would… Grumble, grumble, grumble. Grumbling should be declared our national hobby! What astounds me is that Christians are often the biggest grumblers.