The Work of Man

On March 2, 2004, the Philae robotic lander was launched from the surface of the earth into outer space, with a mission to land on the surface of a comet. Just over ten years later this radical and seemingly impossible mission was accomplished when it successfully made a soft landing on the surface of the nucleus of comet “67P”. As unfathomable and crazy as it sounds to land a spacecraft on the surface of a comet, a team of human beings managed to accomplish the task. To me, this is a prime example of man accomplishing whatever he sets his mind to do (compare Genesis 11:6). With this space probe attached to the nucleus of the comet, the scientific community is thrilled to discover previously unknown facts about this celestial body. For man, this is quite a feat.

As significant as this accomplishment is to man, in the context of God’s plan, landing on a comet is meaningless. In fact, it is even worse than meaningless, because it gives man an opportunity to be proud and glorify himself. The strong, wise, rich and powerful according to the standards of the world may have something to be proud about now, but the Bible is clear that “…the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Corinthians 1:28-29).

If we have pride in our lives that elevates our opinions of ourselves above God, knowing that this is something that God will punish, what are we to do? We need to change our perspective to be spiritually minded and to walk in the Spirit (compare Galatians 5:25). This simply means that we should not seek value or glory from the world. The things that the world might provide are only temporary and will not provide any enduring reward. We are reminded of this perspective in 1 John 2:17 where we read, “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” If we live with the understanding that the world truly is passing away and that it is God’s Will that no flesh should glory, the achievements we accomplish in this world lose their value.

When we put this understanding into action, our motivation shifts away from achieving the temporary accomplishments in the world and re-focuses on fulfilling God’s Will. We put our treasure in heaven when we live in the Spirit. The Scripture that illustrates this shift in perspective is Colossians 3:23-24, where Paul writes, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Here we can see that we are not to stop taking action in our lives because the world is temporary. We must continue to be productive individuals, but the reason why we take action changes. The work we do – the action we take – must be done to please and glorify God, not man—not ourselves!

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