Work can cost less but be more expensive. Work can be so natural it demands significant preparation. It can also prove useless.
Now, fourth, it can be regretted by those involved. Einstein’s signature on a letter written by a number of scientists to President Roosevelt convinced him to begin nuclear research that eventuated in Trinity, Little Boy and Fat Man. Einstein later remarked that his one great mistake in life was his signature on the letter. WWII, Time Life, 427, In March, 1939, refuge Hungarian physicist Leo Szilard produced a laboratory-scale-reaction using uranium. That night he realized that the discovery meant sorrow for the world. Ibid.
How differently the night Jesus came to earth. Never had Language and Message more rhapsodically merged: Jesus Christ is Born...JOY to the world. He brought mending to all that’s torn. Intelligence to replace all ignorance. Healing for all the hurting. Laughter instead of languishing. Forgiveness of even unforgiveable sins.
Fifth, work that sees immediate results. Even as the battle for Iwo Jima raged, 35 super fortresses made emergency landings on the island. A & E broadcast 9/14/89. That offered proof to the men fighting that the price they paid was worth the cost. And in every life today where Jesus is accepted, immediate, positive changes occur. New values are established. New goals set. New hope aroused.
“For never was a story of more woe “Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” A5, S3, ll 9-10.
But...for those loving Christ, every story ends in delight, not woe; with anticipation, not despair; with a new beginning that never ends, never with a forlorn end just as we were preparing to begin. -Fini-
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Before, and first, work that seems easiest can be costlier long-term. Now, second, work that seems effortless has been faithfully practiced. Tony Gwynn had a lifetime batting average of .338, finishing fourth among all players with 3000 hits. He held 8 National League batting titles and played in 15 All-Star games, 11 as a starter. It seemed mechanical: the pitcher threw the ball and 3 times out of 10 Tony got a hit. Except...he had tapes on how every club pitched him, in every situation. He corrected flaws by watching his batting stance and swing. He studied tapes on long flights.
Excellence results when skill merges with effort. Even lesser skill can achieve superiority with consistent effort. If Christian seek a refined spiritual life: with the grace of Fred Astaire dancing; or the authority of Yul Brynner ruling, plan to succeed, because God majors in success! But also plan to spend time in Bible reading and prayer. In God’s presence he broadens and deepens us in faith and practice.
Third, work can prove useless. To ease the difficulties miners faced when pulling heavy loads up Chilkoot Pass in the Alaska Gold rush, a Washington, D.C. bureaucrat ordered 500 reindeer shipped from Norway to New York. He spent $10,000 more to send them to Seattle, and who remembers how much more to ship them to Hanes, near Skagway. The reindeer, however were useless. They could pull men and supplies on level tundra, but not on steep mountain passes, where they were needed most. There was no natural food like lichens for them. Most of the deer died of starvation, exhaustion and injuries. It would have been a national sandal of bureaucratic bungling had not the battleship Maine blown up in Havana Harbor at the time.
On the 40th anniversary of Trinity, the first Atom-bomb explosion in New Mexico, July 16, 1945, 76 of the scientists involved expressed regret for their part in it. They were brilliant men who devoted themselves to the creation of a new power source. And they demeaned it!
You can read Paul’s response to King Agrippa in Acts 26:24-29, especially verse 29, when Agrippa didn’t think Paul should expect him to become a Christian after hearing his first sermon.
The essence of his deathless words in 26:29 meant: Paul wanted Agrippa to: know Jesus as he did; experience Jesus as he had; have the hope Jesus gave him; possess the confidence Jesus granted him in facing life, death and the after-life.
Paul was saying that he had served Jesus for 25 years and THROUGH it ALL he had learned to trust in Jesus and learned to trust in God, and it had been more than WORTH it ALL.
-End Part II-
Ancient Romans had an average of 206 working days. That contrasts with our average 250 working days, not including 10 holidays and not including vacation time. But the ancients had at least 30 more holidays than we.
Caution, however...with a million free men and 1,300,000 slaves in Rome, we would as likely be a slave as a free person. One senator made a motion that slaves be forced to wear specific clothing so they would remember their PLACE. The motion died when another senator reminded the Senate that it would more likely remind them of their NUMBERS.
Consider this week work in several categories with scriptural application where possible.
First, Work That Comes Easiest or Cheapest May in Long-Term Cost More
The Perkin-Elmer Corporation of Connecticut bid $70 million to build the 8 foot diameter mirror for the Hubble telescope and its secondary 12.5 inch mirror. The Eastman Kodak, with more experience and greater work force bid $105.5 million. The lowball bid won. But it cost NASA...and the US taxpayer in the end. For we spent in excess of $110 million to rebuild and repair the mirror in space. The low bid cost more when incompetent work ballooned repair costs.
Today one hears little about Christ’s teaching on self-denial; or his demand that we resist temptation; or his expectation that we articulately defend the Four Gospels. Though each is a precious foundational teaching to God and must be for his people. And if others want to hear a far less demanding message that gives them more freedom of opinion, that’s TOO BAD for them! God makes the rules and the God who makes the rules is the Only Ruler.
Christ guarantees that he will save from sin, from an aimless life, from the grave and eventually to a new body in God’s new, perfect world. Many options to his offer exist. And if we want to take a chance that another way to God exists...well, we don’t want to take that chance, because no other way to God DOES! Jesus alone offers the way and IS the WAY—and no other way exists.
We’re going to live forever, do we understand...forever and ever, eternally. With God or without God. And whatever skeptics may say, we don’t want to live without God. That’s no fun. It’s not happy. It’s not even tolerable. It’s HELL without God. And Jesus is the only way to avoid it. –End Part I-