Industriousness grows well in the soil of humility

What does God not need? He doesn’t need proud people. He doesn’t need self-sufficient people. He doesn’t need people who are looking for their own glory. He does not need and so people like that are at odds with who God is.

This past Sunday afternoon, I had the joy of watching three people from my church be baptized. It is a wonderful thing to be a witness to this event in a Christian’s life because it points in a public way to the fact that God does a great thing in people’s live — he saves them — by first making them humble. John Piper, in his sermon from this past Sunday, says that humility “is the work of God under everything that makes all other good things in Christianity possible.” He gives just a few examples:

Faith. Would anyone depend on Christ as a needy, weak, and sinful person, if God hadn’t made him humble?

Worship. Would anyone earnestly make much of the worth of God, instead of craving to be made much of himself, if God hadn’t made him humble?

Obedience. Would anyone surrender his autonomy and submit obediently to the absolute authority of Scripture, if God had not made him humble?

Love. Would anyone seek the good of others at great cost to himself, if God hadn’t made him humble?

So, we are all in need of humility if we are to be of any good to God. The world, Piper reminds us, tells us that the best sort of courage is self-confidence. The humble person, however, is God-confident and lives his life not fearing man, but fearing God. Fearing men is a sign of pride, not humility. And because the humble person fears and loves God, that person works and is not passive. Remember what Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 15:10:

By the grace of God I am what I am . . . I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

Because we are freed from the chains of self esteem and the concerns of the world, God allows us to be productive, creative, industrious people who do great things for God’s sake, not our own.

Life is a vapor, be productive

Because of my sinfulness, I am prone by my very nature to rebel against God. One of those ways is by being inactive. While it is good to rest, and it glorifies God (who never sleeps), I can also fall into a habit of idleness.

And, when we do that, we make a god out of our rest because it becomes the thing that satisfy us rather than God. The Bible tells us that life is a “mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” Do we want to waste it on the drug of idleness? Rather, we need to trust God to help us in our labors and find rest in Him:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

— Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 11: 28-30