“He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing good with his own hands, that he may have something to share with the one in need.” (Eph 4,28 Berean Study Bible)
Lately in our worship time this verse really stirred up something in me. Paul doesn`t just request his audience to work with their own hands to look for their own needs, but the goal is to be able to give to the one in need.
God made me reflect on my journey of the past 15 years through a dream at the end of April. In that dream a young man, representing my 25-year old self, said something like: “The ‘Swiss’ life design of making money and building up security doesn`t work for me. I followed the recommendation to go the traditional way, but it doesn`t give me life.” I could relate to what he said.
What’s the meaning behind life if it’s just about making money to survive to then go back to God where we came from in the first place. “Well done my faithful son, you survived earth” Really?
But God worked a lot in myself during the years. In 2007 I had a strong encounter with the holy spirit and after that I felt called into ministry. In the next step I found myself in the wood workshop, just me and my wood, as I like to say. This wasn’t quite what I expected. But I really had to learn to enjoy the daily task God would lay before me. One was to be there for my family, another was to serve people in their needs for furniture or a feature for their home. And sometimes he would give me a good conversation with someone, but most of the time he would just give me thoughts to work through.
Then in 2014, seven years later, I remember exactly the morning in January I woke up with great joy to be able to get up and get to work in the workshop. I felt so blessed to have work and a good, quite enjoyable activity to do during my days. That was very unusual for me. And it was the moment when God would start the ministry thing very slowly by a path he took Sue onto.
The latest step on my journey about work and money was when I read a book of Rabbi Daniel Lapin “Thou shall prosper”. He describes how money actually is the appreciation of a service you have been able to provide for someone else. It is a sign for healthy relationships that honour what you can provide to them by giving you money for your work. And he describes how people like to say when a company donates to a charitable project: “That’s about time that they give something back to society.” … as if they would have been taking away in the first place. No, they created value and jobs that have not been there before.
How much this is true came clear when I saw Migdol. When you see thousands of people without work opportunities and no fulfilling activity, where two thirds of monthly government grant are spent on Alcohol and there is a lot of tension between the ones that have and the ones that don’t. That’s where you see that good corporations are a sign for good relationships.
The thief takes away without giving anything back, but the one that works with his hands has found someone in need that he can work for. They can cooperate now. And meet needs. The verse in Ephesians 4,28 describes the path from a taker to a giver mentality.