The Morning Wakeup
Leanna, Bjorn and Josh 6:00-10:00am

Word For You Today

Be antlike 4

'I have finished the work which you have given me to do.' John 17:4 NKJV

Ants don't 'retire'. They have a job to do, whatever stage of life they're at. Ants literally die working. Please note: this does not mean we should be workaholics. The Bible doesn't promote a lifestyle that's dangerous to our health or makes us neglect loved ones. In fact, God set us the example of balance when he took six days to create the world, and then took time on the seventh day to rest.

Our contemporary idea of retirement is found nowhere in the Bible. As long as we're alive, God has work for us to do, whether we're young, older, a brand-new Christian or a lifelong believer. Jesus' ministry lasted three-and-a-half years, and at the end of it he said, 'I have finished the work which you have given me to do' (John 17:4 NKJV). Salvation is available to us because Jesus was a faithful labourer who stayed on the task until the job God had assigned to him was completed.

Rest and relaxation, and even retirement, are worthy and well-deserved rewards for a time (even a lifetime) of hard work. But the truth is, as long as we breathe God has something for each of us to do. And in fulfilling the tasks he's given us, we'll not only find joy and fulfilment, we'll bless those around us too.

So what now? At the end of each day, rest in God's presence. Thank him for the work he's set for you. Like your role model the ant, find something meaningful to do for him, whatever stage you're at.

Soulfood: Jer 51-52 Matt 7:1-14 Ps 137 Pro 15:15-17,


Be antlike 3

'Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich.' Proverbs 10:4 NLT

A leaf-cutting ant might have to carry up to fifty times its own weight nearly 100 metres. That's the equivalent of a 90 kg man carrying five tons on his back for 27 kilometres! In one single summer, a large colony of ants can dig out 30 to 40 thousand pounds of earth to make a nest, and carry 5,000 pounds of material back into the nest for food. They make up to four round trips a day to sources of food that might be over 120 metres from the nest. (And we think we have it rough! ).

So what does this teach us? It shows that ants do their share of the work. It shows they have a great work ethic. And that's something we should also work towards developing.

The Bible says: 'Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters' (Colossians 3:23 NIV). One way we can help ourselves to develop a good work ethic is to keep in mind that, ultimately, we should be working towards fulfilling God's plan. If we're doing our best to remain close to him and follow his guidance, it doesn't matter what work we're assigned to do. If it's important enough for God to assign to us, then we should also see it as important.

So what now? What job are you least looking forward to doing today? As you're doing it, be antlike - be focussed on the end result and work hard - keeping in mind that you're really working for God.

Soulfood: Jer 49-50 Matt 6:19-34 Ps 122 Pro 15:10-14,


Be antlike 2

'In all labour there is profit.' Proverbs 14:23 NKJV

Whatever task they're doing, ants never see their work as menial or beneath their dignity. Whether it's moving dirt or carrying food, they get on with the job. We can sometimes be disappointed in the work we're doing, or think we deserve something better. Maybe we want to lead worship in church, but instead we're stuck putting the chairs out. Maybe we want to be a supervisor at work, but we're stuck doing the boring admin. But really, all work, whatever it involves, can and should be done for God's glory, not our own (see 1 Corinthians 10:31).

Proverbs 14:23 says, 'in all labour there is profit' (NKJV). Whatever job we're asked to do, there'll be something we can learn from it and something God's trying to teach us through it. Perhaps while we're putting the chairs out, God's teaching us patience. Maybe while we're ploughing through paperwork, God's developing our attention to detail. These might be qualities we need to carry out God's big plan for our life.

The word 'vocation' comes from the Latin word vocare, which means 'to call'. So every job or vocation, regardless of what it is, is a calling from God. Dr Martin Luther King Jr said: 'Not all men are called to specialised or professional jobs; even fewer to the heights of genius in the arts and sciences; many are called to be labourers in factories, fields and streets. But no work is insignificant.'

So what now? That task or work you're doing that seems insignificant - could God be teaching you something amazing through it?

Soulfood: Jer 45-48 Matt 6:9-18 Ps 110 Pro 15:8-9,


Be antlike 1

'Go to the ant...consider her ways and be wise!' Proverbs 6:6 ESV

It may seem strange to consider ants as role models! But there are many things these tiny creatures can show us.

One thing is: 'Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest' (Proverbs 6:7-8 ESV). An ant colony has a queen, who is the centre of attention and who the other ants work hard to keep alive, but she doesn't rule the ants. She doesn't give them instructions. The colony's survival is made certain by 'soldier' ants, who are both leaders and servants. They're carrying out the tasks that need doing, and the younger ants imitate and follow them. The younger ants don't need to be supervised or told to work. They have a built-in desire to be useful and help their colony survive.

When God created Adam, he set him to work in the Garden of Eden. Adam wasn't constantly watched or supervised - he just wanted to play his God-given part in his world. And just like the ants and Adam, God designed us to work and carry out our unique God-given role in our family, community, church and the world. He doesn't force us to take our part, but places different desires within each of us. At times, we may feel as supposedly insignificant as a tiny ant, but our part in God's plan is important, and unique to us.

So what now? Consider the ant... and ask God how his unique purpose for you can be used to be amazingly useful in his Kingdom.

Soulfood: Jer 41-44 Matt 5:38 - 6:8 Ps 102:18-28 Pro 15:4-7,


Be a peacemaker

'Blessed are the peacemakers.' Matthew 5:9 NIV

When we're peace-lovers, we desire for things to be peaceful, but we don't necessarily do anything about it when that peace disappears. When we're peacemakers, we're committed to making that peace happen. Sometimes it may seem easier to live with the conflict than to face the potential outcomes that arise through working for reconciliation. But peacemakers are those who seek real resolution.

When we're peacemakers, we have to hear, and try to understand, all sides of the story. And we need God's wisdom to know how to encourage people to talk to each other in order to reach peace in the situation. The Bible says: 'If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone' (Romans 12:18 NIV). It means interacting positively with people who think differently to us.

As peacemakers, we don't need to change our views or message, but it does mean we have to manage our approach. True peacemaking begins in the heart, not the head. The Bible says: 'Love never fails' (1 Corinthians 13:8 NKJV). When people feel loved and understood, they feel safe to connect with one another. And when that happens, it can not only resolve the issue, but heal hearts and minds. Jesus said: 'Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God' (Matthew 5:9 NIV).

So what now? Think of a situation which requires peace. Ask God for wisdom and insight to know the best way to help the people in that situation move towards peace.

Soulfood: Jer 36:27-32 Jer 37 Jer 38 Jer 39 Jer 40:1-16 Matt 5:21-37 Ps 102:12-17 Pro 15:3,


Discover your assignment

'For this purpose I was born.' John 18:37 ESV

Finding our God-given assignment is an exciting, and maybe even daunting experience. It may involve stepping out of our comfort zone into something unfamiliar, but God loves us and wants us to succeed in the task he's given us.

How can you discover your assignment? Ask yourself these questions: (1) What dreams and desires have been inside me most of my life? (2) What motivates me to work hard and be productive? (3) What keeps me going when I'm worn out? (4) What makes me refuse to give up when I face resistance? (5) What work do I enjoy doing? (6) What do I do now that brings a positive response from people? (7) What was I doing when opportunities seemed to come along with no effort from me? (8) What do my leaders and mentors think about my work? (9) What makes me feel good about being who I am? (10) When am I most creative? (11) What would I be willing to give up to complete my God-given assignment? (12) What am I doing that I'd be proud to offer for God's approval? (13) What would I do without being paid for it if I could afford to? (14) What am I prepared to put up with to finish my assignment?

So what now? Write each of those questions on separate sheets of paper. Each day this week, alongside your prayer time, spend a few minutes thinking about those questions and making a note of the inspirations and answers that come to you. Have fun discovering your God-given assignment!

Soulfood: Ps 23 John 10:7-18,


The flavour of God

'You are the salt of the earth...You are the light of the world.' Matthew 5:13-14 NIV

As Christians, we're called to be world-changers; to question the status quo, challenge popular culture and encourage others on their journey with God. We're supposed to stand out. The Bible says: 'Do not conform to the pattern of this world' (Romans 12:2 NIV). And one way we can stand out is by being more like Christ. Jesus said, 'You will know them by their fruits' (Matthew 7:16 NKJV). And those fruits include the fruits of the spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

But being a Christian in the world is not only about doing good things and acting in a Christlike way; it also means joining God in his mission to transform people and situations. God is a God of exchange. He loves to make broken people whole, despondent people hopeful and unhappy people joyful. And we can help him do this. Jesus calls us to be salt and light. He puts it like this: 'You are the world's seasoning, to make it tolerable. If you lose your flavour, what will happen to the world? ...You are the world's light - a city on a hill, glowing in the night for all to see. Don't hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father' (Matthew 5:13-16 TLB).

So, with Jesus in us, let's change the world.

So what now? Light a candle and turn off the lights for a few minutes. Ask God to help you bring his wonderful flavour into this world for him.

Soulfood: Jer 33:1-26 Jer 34 Jer 35 Jer 36:1-26 Matt 5:1-20 Ps 102:1-11 Pro 15:1-2,

Subscribe to this RSS feed