There are three sections to this posting, so don't feel like you have to read the complete posting at one sitting. Each section has some interesting information that you might like to digest before you read the next section. I hope you enjoy reading this.
In the fourth chapter of Hebrews the author (perhaps the Apostle Paul) speaks to us of the believer’s rest. Just as God rested from His work in creating the world, we will one day rest from the work that we have been given to do for the Kingdom of God. God first told us about rest when He rested from His creation work (See Genesis 2:2); not because He was tired, but because He had finished the work that He had given Himself to do. We, too, will someday be able to rest from our work here on earth, which is given to us by Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Although, Christians know that we are to serve the Lord, we have been given the free will to choose to engage in Kingdom work or not. If we choose to work for the Lord, we may have to think outside the box, so to speak, in order to find time to do the work that the Holy Spirit encourages all Christians to do. We will also have to decide on the type of work that we are willing to do. Will we serve in some type of church ministry? Or perhaps we will work in some other manner to introduce people to the Gospel message. One such working service is Active Relational Christian Mentoring. ARCM is a way to tell another woman about Jesus, comfort another, or share information and skills with various women. But, whatever the Holy Spirit encourages us to do, we are to listen and work for the Kingdom of God.
Most women are extremely busy working. In fact, most women are busy working hard to ensure that they are taking care of their family in a positive and loving way while still meeting all family member’s needs. They run their children to all types of events, such as soccer, football, dance, gymnastics, etc. They manage to do all that between meals, organizational school meetings, school programs, cleaning and other important daily activities of their family, for which they are responsible. Sometimes finding time for themselves can be difficult. If you then add a career or job to mix, the woman often feels like she needs the crown and power wrist bands of Wonder Woman to get everything accomplished in a timely manner. So, where is she to find the time to be an active Christian woman who works for the Lord?
Where does serving the Lord fit into our busy lives? Fortunately, some women find help from their spouse or other family members when they are trying to get all the things done that they need to accomplish around the house. However, there are still many things like mothering or a job outside the home that they will have to do on their own. So how can women add to their schedules the additional work they should be doing for the Kingdom of God? Where will they get the needed time? Well, God can arrange your day before you even experience it, if you just ask Him to arrange your steps for the day. For, if we allow God to arrange and establish our steps, we will have more workable and profitable hours in our day. We will have time to work for the Lord.
Psalm 37: 23 tells us;
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way.”
When we allow the Lord to establish our steps, or in our own vernacular, when we tell the Lord that we are willing to awake each morning giving Him control of our lives, then we will find that we can do many more things during the day, which will also glorify and honor God. In allowing God to arrange our steps, He will also be delighted in what we have done or have attempted to do for His Kingdom. Moreover, when we pray with faith each morning asking God to establish our steps, we can be assured that He will do so.
Have you ever noticed that when you can get up and plan your day the way that you want it to go that more often than not you often have to rearrange your plans? That is because:
“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
– (Proverbs 16: 9. NASV).
That is why it is important for you to:
“Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.”
“When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
– (Proverbs 16: 3 & 7. NASV).
As Christian women, we can find the extra hours in the day to serve the Lord and even engage in Active Relational Christian Mentoring no matter how busy that we think we are. In fact, there are many ways that you can add service moments to your life and in so doing help others. Perhaps you can have a coffee break with a lady at work who needs to hear about Christ, or if she is a Christian, perhaps she needs your counseling, support, or coaching. Maybe you can do ARCM at a soccer game, before or after the game. Perhaps, you will be able to invite another woman out to lunch where over a salad you can begin to establish a mentoring relationship (remember, we all have to eat). So, no matter how busy you find your life, if you ask God to help you establish your steps for Him, He will give you the hours or the moments that you need to speak into another woman’s life or to serve Him in some way or another. You just have to be willing to work for the Lord.
Working for the Lord
Many Christians think that because they have asked Christ into their heart and because they have the assurance of a Heavenly home, they can just take it easy and live their life for themselves and their family until it is time to go home to Heaven. But that is not what Christ has asked us to do. We are to be laborers for the Kingdom of God. In fact, Jesus gave us an example of working for God. For, when Jesus was proclaiming the Gospel and healing diseases and sicknesses, he also spoke to the disciples about their responsibility toward other people. In the book of Matthew we are told that Jesus in:
“Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.’”
– (Matthew 9: 37-38. NASV).
Later, the Apostle Paul gave the Corinthians at the church of Corinth several important conduct stipulations for living for Christ. Paul explained that one of those foundational behaviors for Christians was to work for the Lord. Paul then used the analogy of a builder laying a foundation and then building upon it. In doing so, Paul told them that:
“… we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation … each man’s work will become evident: for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
– (I Corinthians 3: 9-15. NASV).
In these verses the Apostle Paul was speaking about the judgment we will all receive on the quality of our service to Christ. For, when we finally stand before the Lord, we will be faced with what we have either accomplished or not accomplished for the Kingdom of God. Of course, everyone who is “Saved” has eternal life. However, the number of rewards that we receive when we get to Heaven will be dependent upon the things that we have accomplished for the Kingdom of God here on earth. Just as we work hard in our earthly work-place to receive accolades, bonuses, or certificates of accomplishment, we should be working hard for the Kingdom of God and the rewards that we can receive when we enter our eternal rest with the Lord.
For many women, our reward here on earth is for someone to tell us how nice our children have turned out. As Christian mothers, we put in a great deal of work in teaching our children, setting examples for them, and showing them what it means to be truthful, honest and caring humans. So, when our child grows up to be a good, caring, honest and loving human, we feel rewarded for all the hard work we have put into raising them. But, like Paul said of working for the Lord and building upon the foundation of the Gospel message, we did not work alone. For example, in raising a child, the parents laid the foundation with truth, honesty and kindness. Then the parents started building upon that foundation with other information along the way all infused with love. Others then built upon that foundation as well. The Sunday school teachers, the Pastor at church, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, teachers, etc., all built upon the foundation, which the parents laid.
It is no different in our work for the Kingdom of God. One person will lay the Gospel foundation by telling a woman about Christ. Another woman may encourage this same woman with personal stories of how God touched her life. Later another woman may be there for this woman when she is having a rough day or year, and she is then there to give her Christian support and encouragement. Perhaps one day someone from a church invites the woman to church where she again hears the Gospel message. The Holy Spirit quickens her heart and encourages her to repent of her sins and ask Christ into her heart. Finally, of her own accord and in her own timing the woman totally surrenders to Christ and turns her life over to Christ. To get to this point, though, it may have taken several people to build upon the original foundation of the Gospel message. But the building is not yet complete, for now the woman needs information and God's Word to help her live for Christ.
Once the woman accepts Christ into her heart, she is to begin her walk with and for the Lord. Now, more than ever she needs another Christian woman to come along side of her and actively mentor her in her Christian walk. For, without a doubt the devil will attempt to derail her hope and her life in small and sometimes large ways. She will need another Christian woman who is willing to encourage and support her through the ups and downs of life here on earth. Sometimes, that woman mentor will become a life-long friend. At other times, the mentoring is for a season and a reason. However, God has other Christian women waiting in the wings to step forward and continue the mentoring relationship, or to just be there for the woman. Each of these Christian women are working for the Kingdom of God in addition to working for their family and themselves.
Throughout our life-time we will be given opportunities to either plant or water the Gospel message in the life of another woman. So, whatever our talents, skills, knowledge, or information that we have to share, we are to labor for the Kingdom of God. We are to speak into the lives of our children, our friends, and even strangers when God arranges an introduction. We are to work hard at building, but we also must rely on God to arrange our steps and to fit the needed moments of mentoring time or other Christian service into our schedule. Stepping forward to pray each morning for God to arrange our day, is surrendering to God in obedience to His desire for our lives. In doing so, God will reward us for our labor. In fact, the Apostle Paul states that:
“Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his labor.”
– (I Corinthians 3: 8. NASV).
So whether you planted the seeds of the Gospel message (the foundation), or you came along to water the seeds (build upon the foundation), you will be rewarded for the work that you do for the Kingdom of God. Moreover, God will give us a glorious day of rest from our labor when we get to Heaven.
Entering that Glorious day of Rest
As I mentioned at the beginning, the Apostle Paul (or the author of Hebrews) tells us of a day of rest that all believers will enter into when we finish our work here on earth. Actually Christ tells us of the first part of this glorious rest, which we receive when we ask Christ into our heart. In Matthew 11: 28-29 Christ says:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Christ does give us soul rest when we turn to and put our faith in Him. But there is a complete rest that we can look forward to as well.
“So, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his (earthly) works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.”
– (Hebrews 4: 9-11. NASV).
When we faithfully finish God’s will and have done the work that He has given us to do here on earth, we will enter this Sabbath rest. Just as God ceased from His work of creation, we will cease from our own works here on earth. This rest is given to us by Jesus and it is an eternal or complete rest that will never end. We know this because Christ told the Apostle John in Revelation 14: 11-13:
“Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. (John says) And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, ‘Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.’”
Although we can retire from our physical work here on earth and in some ways physically rest, we will not experience full or compete rest until we arrive in Heaven. Those who have accepted Christ as their personal Savior and have received soul rest will experience not only a physical rest, but a complete spiritual rest in Heaven for their obedience to the will of God. They will also receive rewards and crowns for their spiritual work or deeds done here on earth. “For their deeds follow with them.”
Although we have physical labors here on earth, in the book of Hebrews, the author refers to the spiritual labor that we engage in our obedience to the Lord. Remember that Christ asked each one who gives their heart to Him to tell others of the Good News. That is every Christian’s responsibility. It is part of our foundational conduct. Christ has also told us to help each other and be there for each other when help is needed. In other words, Christians cannot just say that they believe God’s Word and Christ’s instructions, but then do nothing. God’s Word must be obeyed once we accept Christ as our Savior. We have a responsibility to share the Good News with others. We have a responsibility to find the time to serve in the Kingdom of God. Active Relational Christian Mentoring is a wonderful and easy way to incorporate working for the Lord into our daily life.
Just hearing and believing the Gospel message is not enough. Remember, James 2: 19 tells us that “the demons also believe, and shudder.” Our labor for the Lord should not only show that we believe in Christ, but that we are living and obeying the Lord, and that we are working for Him, so that others can see and want the type of peace, love, and assurance that we have in Christ. In fact, James 1: 22 states:
“But prove yourselves doers of the Word and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”
Someday, those who have accepted Christ as their personal Savior will enter the most glorious rest of all. Not only is it soul rest, but it is rest from all labors. God will reward those who have worked hard here on earth to live for Him. He will reward your deeds of kindness, caring, teaching, and of sharing of the Gospel message. You can do it! You can ask God to arrange your steps so that your day can be used to glorify Him in all you do. Pray that God will arrange your steps so that you will be able to help some other woman through Active Relational Christian Mentoring. Then, you can look forward to the Glorious Day of Complete Rest in Heaven.