One of the eternal struggles of the Lord's disciples is to learn and practice a proper balance between the affairs of this life and the affairs of the kingdom of heaven. What we often feel we need is many times just something we want and the kingdom of heaven is left lacking of our time and talents while we spend these in carnal pursuits. One of the crying needs of our day is to learn to put the Lord's work first (Matthew 6:33). We must be busy, of course, but we must learn the difference between working for "food that perisheth" and "food that abideth unto eternal life" (John 6:27). As I say, there is a balance in these matters and we must learn it or be found wanting.
The Bible does not condemn Christians engaging in business enterprises. In fact, examples abound which show disciples of the Lord practicing different forms of business. Matthew was a tax collector, Lydia a seller of purple, some of the apostles fishermen, and Jesus Himself certainly knew the carpentry business. The "worthy woman" of Proverbs 31 made and sold fine linen garments to the merchants. In addition to these examples of industry by faithful people, we may add the scriptures that censure those who would not "provide for his own" (1 Timothy 5:8) or who refuse to "labor with his hands" (Ephesians 4:28).
Let me repeat, there is nothing wrong with a Christian engaging in business enterprises. But a faithful Christian will also have a "busy-ness" for the Lord. Being "busy" for the Master will require a true perspective of the values of life. It will not allow earthly pursuits (however honorable and necessary) to interfere with being busy for the Lord.
There are times when Christians lose this sense of perspective and walk perilously close to blasphemy when they accuse the Lord of demanding too much of one when conflicts arise between "business" and "busy-ness." A man may seek so much overtime work that he cannot attend gospel meetings ... a woman may want the finer things of life so eagerly that she gets a job and neglects being a "keeper at home" ... a teenager may want a car so badly that he will get a job on weekends, missing the assemblies of the saints. Get the picture? Yet when sermons are preached on "putting the kingdom first," members are heard to say, "Why, preacher, don't you know I have to make a living for my family?"
Now, whoever said that you didn't? The Lord knew this fact and addressed Himself to it in scriptures mentioned above (1 Timothy 5:8, Ephesians 4:28, etc.). Sure, you have to make a living, but God also wants you to live (eternally) and to do that you will have to learn to conduct your business while being busy for the Lord. And there is no conflict here. You can provide for your family, having all the necessities of life and more, and still serve Jesus Christ. But you can't serve Jesus Christ and put the world first. As someone has said, "Jesus won't play second fiddle in your life."
We all need to learn how to be busy for the Lord while conducting business. I know teenagers who read their Bibles every day while they also go to school, do homework, etc. I know of housewives who take the time to visit a weak member while getting housework done. I know of men who own a business who also keep tracts for the public to read. I know many Christians who work a full day's work who also drive to neighboring towns to attend a gospel meeting and who wouldn't think of missing a single night at home when the local church plans such a meeting.
To be sure, let us work at whatever business appeals to us to support our families, but let us also be busy for the Lord.
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