Made to Work ForeverSeptember 3, 2023 | Brandon Cooper
As Christians, we know the story’s final word from reading the Bible. Work was initially meant to express your worship, love, and cultivation for God but was corrupted by sin. Isaiah 65:17-25 talks about work in the new creation – that there will be perfect worship of God without sin, perfect love among God’s people, and perfect cultivation where work is enjoyable, purposeful, and fruitful. Knowing this future vision of work transformed in glory should give us a broader mission, deeper hope, and a longer view of how we approach our daily vocations. We can work to advance God’s kingdom and bring the world closer to that perfect future state through our jobs and callings.
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Good morning, you want to go ahead grab your Bibles, you can open up to Isaiah chapter 65. Isaiah 65. We’ll be beginning in verse 17. This morning, Isaiah 6517, as you’re turning there, Joseph Goebbels, who was kind of the chief propaganda officer for a Hitler’s Germany, one said, Whoever says the first word to the world is always right. And this is the idea, of course, behind propaganda or even spin, you know, you got to take control of the narrative, you got to set the tone for the conversation. And ody else has to talk about it. In your terms, whoever says the first word is always right. Ironically, of course, Goebbels was very, very wrong about this. We know that because of the universal feeling that the world today has about Gimbels and Nazi Germany, whoever has the last word is actually the one who’s going to be right. It is the final word that counts once all the truth has come out. And here’s the good news. As Christians, we get to know the final word in advance. We’ve gotten to read the last page already. Really, this is what Paul means when he says that famous phrase that we live by faith and not by sight, sight gives us the first first word that the current word, but But faith tells us how it’s gonna go in the end, right? We see graveyards, but we believe in the resurrection of the dead, it is the final word that counts. Knowing how the story ends, then changes everything about our present experience. You’ve had this of course, you’ve watched a movie at some point or TV show or something like that, where you already know the you know, the character is still alive in the second season. So at the last episode of that first season, when it looks like he’s in mortal danger, you go, I’m not gonna stress out here. Like I know what’s coming. That’s the life we get to live as Christians. And here’s the thing, that’s not just true when it comes to these big subjects like death and suffering, but it’s true for work, too. It’s true for our work, too. So that’s our main idea. Today, I’m gonna give it to you upfront, and we’ll kind of unpack it as we go, main idea, knowing what work will be like in glory, what’s the last word about work? Knowing what work will be like in glory transforms how we work now. So what are we going to do this morning, you can see there kind of two pieces to that main idea, knowing what work will be like and glory. Okay, so what will work be like in glory? And then that transforms how we work now. Okay, how is that going to transform how we work? Now, as me the two halves of the sermon just you knows we’re gonna spend the first half looking at Isaiah 65, which is that last word, that picture of what work will be like in glory? And then we’re going to turn from there and ask the question, okay, how does this apply to us today? So a new kind of exposition and application let’s start with the exposition. So what will work be like in glory? Let’s read it together. I’ll read it out loud. Isaiah chapter 65, verses 17 to 25. See, I will create new heavens and new earth, the former things will not be remembered nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever and what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people, the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years, the one who dies at 100 will be thought a mere child, the one who fails to reach 100 will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell on them they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree so will be the days of my people. My chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands. They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed misfortune for they will be a people blessed by the Lord. They and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer while they are still speaking I will hear the wolf and the lamb will feed together and the lion will eat straw like the ox and dust will be the serpent’s food and when either harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord Before we dive in, let’s have a quick recap of the series. So we started you know, we’re looking at the four eras of salvation, history creation, fall, redemption and consummation, stating started in creation with the idea that we were made to work. And that had specific expressions means we were made to worship or our work was an expression of, of worship to God, or we were made to love that is our work was an expression of, of service to those around us. And then we were made to cultivate, that is when we were given a command for creation to steward it well. But when we sin, when we rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden, all that got flipped on its head. So instead of worship, we’ve got idolatry instead of love, we got selfishness, and instead of cultivation, we’ve got toil. But there’s hope. Kyle took us through it last week. The Gospel redeems us from the curse, and renews our focus, and our motivation and our purpose. What’s our renewed focus back on God that we were worship Him with our renewed motivation, love that we would serve others, what’s our renewed purpose, everything we do we do for the glory of God and for His kingdom. That takes us then to consummation. You’ll notice by the way, same three points, I told you week one, this is just one sermon, it was just too long to do it all at once. So here we are, again, in the consummation at the end of time, and in the age to come, God restores us to our original purpose, but he perfects us. There’s no possibility of falling back into sin, he perfects us, He protects our world and he perfects our work. That is the last word. So let’s unpack it together. We get in glory, perfect worship, perfect worship. We were created after all, to live in perfect communion with God. Back in the Garden of Eden, you’ve got Adam and Eve taking afternoon walks with God. That’s the type of intimacy we were created to enjoy. But that was destroyed by sin. We were separated from God, we were exiled from the garden, even we can’t be with God anymore. But now the good news. In Christ we who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. That’s really the whole arc of salvation history. You can read from Genesis to Revelation, it’s, we used to be with God, how do we get back to living in God’s presence? And almost the last page of the Bible tells us it Ellie read this for us earlier, what do we read Revelation, chapter 21, verses one to three, then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Look, God’s dwelling places now among the people. And He will dwell with them, they will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. So here’s this vision of the end. You notice, by the way, John is actually quoting Isaiah 65, the new heaven, the new earth, he’s drawing on an expanding division of Isaiah 65. But what is the climax of it is that God will be with us, we will live with him again.
He will be our God, we will be his people. But that relationship, it’s not just king in subjects, like we’re finally faithful servants or something like that. No, it’s more than that. I mean, look at some of what I say a says in verse 19, I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people. says why John uses the the image of a bride waiting for her husband to come and get like, that’s the intimacy that we have to enjoy that, to be back in the presence of God means the complete overthrow of sin and death. There’ll be no more weeping and crying. There’ll be no more death. In Isaiah 65. It says no more untimely death. Although I really think that’s just a poetic treatment of what’s coming. In the end. If nothing else in Revelation 21 We know there is no more death at all. Why not? Because death is a punishment for and result of sin. And in glory, sin is gone, thank God. Here’s the way Augustine described the blessedness of heaven. He says on earth, God tells us not to sin. In Heaven, the reward is that we can no longer sin. On Earth. The command is that we mustn’t follow sinful desires in heaven. The reward is that we have No sinful desires. Can you even imagine that? He even imagine how good that will be. When we see God truly, for who he is face to face, not as through a glass darkly, we will at last, understand the desire of our hearts, we will understand that the desire of our hearts is God and God alone. Everything else we’ve been seeking has just been a perversion of that one pure desire to know Him, to be known by him. And so we will be a people. Verse 23, blessed by the Lord, living in perfect communion with Him. So perfect is the communion, verse 24, that before we even, you know, turn to ask God something, he’s got it for us. That’s the blessedness of the relationship, we will experience and so all we will do that will be an expression of love for our God. Every act, we perform the next note in a song of unbroken praise. Here’s the way Rudyard Kipling puts it in his poem describing what it’d be like to be an artist in glory. And I love this. And he says, and only the master shall praise us and only the master shall blame. And no one shall work for money, and no one will work for fame. But each for the joy of the working in each and his separate star shall draw the thing as he sees it, for the God of things as they are everything for the God who made us perfect worship. But that leads to perfect love, leaves perfect love. Second point perfect love. Because when our hearts are at last resting in Him, we are fully known and yet fully loved, no longer trying to create an identity for ourselves like the Tower of Babel, but but resting in his love that vertical transformation transforms the horizontal as well. Because then we’ll no longer have to see people as competition, like siblings, striving to win a distant father’s approval or something like that. No, because we have been loved by Christ, we will love others in Christ. And notice how often Isaiah in this passage and John in Revelation, talk talks about a people, a people. God is not saving individuals. He does save us individually. Yes, but he’s not saving individuals. He is saving a people for His name. We see here in Isaiah that God is rejoicing over the city, the collective, not over each member of it. It says we are a people blessed by the Lord are people meaning we’re experiencing perfect unity. Because we are at last perfectly united, and what matters most, the love of Christ for us and our love for Christ in return. And so all the almost gonna say stupid things that divide us now will be gone. Thank God, we can just love one another. Well, Isaiah depicts this beautifully. He’s looking at the natural world, let’s say but I think it’s a good picture of us as well, because you got the wolf and the lamb feeding together as almost as crazy as Republicans and Democrats hanging out together, right like that level of harmony restored. This is truly miraculous. The lion is eating straw. I’ll answer your question because I know you’re thinking about it right now. Anyway, does that mean we’re gonna be vegetarians in heaven? This is kind of a bad news. Good news thing. Okay. Bad news. Yeah, I do think it means that good news. The grass tastes like primary. So it’s, you know, the harmony of nature is restore that we don’t have that nature red in tooth and claw feel anymore. We’ve moved from survival of the fittest to fit us for heaven to live with the there. It’s actually interesting how often Paul and other writers and scriptures describe us as basically wild animals. You know, in Galatians, Paul says, You got to stop biting and devouring each other and here we’re done with it. No more biting, no more devouring. Why because we got the same focus the glory of God, we got the same motivation love for one another and we got the same purpose to build for God’s kingdom. I understand. It is so hard to get our minds around this. And it’s so hard to picture this I’ve had people say to me before they don’t want to live forever, because they don’t want to live with people forever. And I get that here. But you look at what it’s going to be like and you go okay I could do that. overflowing with love for God and for one another. Always a perfect world. Yep, perfect love. And then lastly, perfect cultivation, our work perfected at last. Now, in order to talk about this, I do have to correct some misconceptions about the end. Here, Isaiah is describing the new heavens and the new earth, but they’re together. In other words, Isaiah and John later they are describing an earthly heaven. Like there’s dirt in heaven, earth, God is making all things new. He’s not making all new things. There’s a big difference there. You can even see it in the vision of Revelation where heaven comes down to earth, we don’t float up. I know we have this picture. Like when we die, we become angels, on clouds, playing harps, and just you know, locked in an eternal choir practice. That’s not the vision of the end that we get in Scripture, we will not be angels when we die, because God created angels, and he created humans, and he created them differently for different purposes. So angels are spiritual beings, we’re not we’re physical beings, we will rise in a physical body to live on a physical Earth in glory. That means though, that we’re going to do real work on a real Earth, the new earth, we will build houses, plant vineyards, all these things that we see here, we will work in the new creation, we will work in eternity, I wanna make sure you got that. And our work will be good. In every sense of the word, it will be enjoyable, not toilsome, there’s no more drudgery, there’s no more sense of what I’m doing is meaningless, will be joyful, and purposeful. All that we do will be true and beautiful and good. You’re not gonna have to worry about buying a lemon when you go to buy your car in glory, because you can make lemons and glory. And even if you did, the salesman will never sell it to you, because He loves you too much to do that to you. There’s no questionable content in art, there’s no fake news or spin. And then maybe best of all, our work will be fruitful. It is we will do work, we will plant vineyards, but then we will enjoy our labor we will eat the fruit of those vineyards. Mentioned in week two, you know the sense of alienation we have from our work. So often you’re just a part of the process. You don’t even see the end product and you don’t get to enjoy yourself that’s over now.
But notice another piece of this is we’re talking about work in glory. The things that we do in this world can last into glory. Of course, we could think of concepts like the work we do for justice or for peace. But it’s more than that. Because at the end, where are they living, they’re in a city. A city involves technology that was not there in the Garden of Eden. So some of what we’ve invented is actually there and the new heavens and the new earth. Look at what Isaiah says earlier, Isaiah chapter two, verse four, he’s describing the last days and he says this, they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. So a couple things there. First of all, there’s the perfect love, no need for war anymore. That’s great news. But notice that the technological inventions persist it we don’t need Spears anymore, but we’re still turning them into you know, plows and stuff. The tools are going to be needed in glory and the tools will be there in glory. There is a good reminder in this verse, though, because there’s no more training for war. That does mean that there are some professions that we have now that we won’t have in heaven. Soldiers comes to mind law enforcement, and nobody’s breaking the laws, doctors because their work is finished. Pastors. You’re not gonna need me to teach you anymore. You can just ask God, okay, he can help you out. What a beautiful picture, right? No more crying, no more pain, no more death, no more sin in the perfect Cree recreation. We will delight in perfect worship and perfect Love and perfect cultivation. That’s the end of the story. And knowing what work will be like then transforms how we work now. So how, what does that vision give us today? tomorrow as we head to work is gonna give us a broader mission, a deeper hope and a longer view and take each of those one at a time. So a broader mission. First of all, you may remember what oz Guinness said. I think I quoted it the first week it’s he says it’s not that Christians aren’t where they should be. It’s Not, but it’s they are, what they should be where they are. And that’s the understanding we got to have still, why is it that so often we’re not what we should be where we are, it’s because we have reduced our concept of ministry, to advancing the church only, rather than advancing the kingdom of God, a lot of overlap in that Venn diagram, okay. But it’s not a perfect overlap. The kingdom is broader than the church. So hear me as clearly as you can possibly hear me. Discipleship and evangelism, are really important. That’s the great commission go and make disciples of all nations. But it’s not the only commission we’ve been getting, we do have a broader mission. And we even pray that daily Your kingdom come, your kingdom come. And now we’ve seen that kingdom in its fullness here and Isaiah 65, in Revelation 21. And it includes working includes fulfilling the original mandate, the creation mandate, fill the earth and subdue it. I find a lot of Christians and churches and even denominations separate the great commission from the creation mandate, and kind of good at one or the other. But what God has joined, let no one put us under. So some churches are big on evangelism. And some churches are big on justice. Crazy thought, what if we were big on both? Kind of like God is, like, take the picture here. Suppose we’ve got a large homeless population, right by us. And as a church, we want to reach them, and half the congregation is going, we need to get them food and beds. And the other half is going, we need to give them the gospel, but they need to find new life in Christ. Which group is right? That’s a dumb question, isn’t it? Like, Oh, of course, they’re all right. Let’s do it. All this is not an either, or we want to see the kingdom of God come in the hearts and lives of people as we witness Christ to them. We also want to see the kingdom of God come on earth. Because the kingdom, a kingdom, just the very concept of it. A kingdom involves a people and a place and a place. And that’s what we’re talking about. That vision transforms our work. Now, Kyle kind of said this last week, if we’re not doing the Lord’s work when you know, I evangelize my co worker, but I’m not doing the Lord’s work when I serve my clients with what he needs. It’s all the Lord’s work. CTX stud missionary, very famous quote, he said only one life will soon be passed only what’s done for Christ will last, yes and amen. But all of what is done for Christ will last. We are actively working to bring in the kingdom of God on earth, engineering the future, seeking peace and justice. Why? Because we are not just souls. And it’s not just the spiritual realm that matters. What does Paul tell us and Romans eight creation itself is groaning for redemption. The earth the physical Earth needs to be redeemed to broader mission than what you do matters and can matter eternally. broader mission, second, deeper hope. Deeper Hope is what the vision of the end gives us. Christianity Today this month had their entire issue was a tribute to Tim Keller who passed away just recently. And one of the articles in it was an excerpt from the sermon that he preached on September 16 2001, in New York City was entitled something like everything sad is coming on true, which is a nod to a line from talking. In the Sermon though he shared his recurring nightmare that he his wife had died. His wife Kathy had died. So he had this you know, Nightmare over and over and over again. And he said he was always so happy when he woke up and saw her there. Now, again, hear me clearly in this life, the nightmare is sometimes come true. Like some of you are waking up, and they’re not there. But the day is coming when we will all wake up. Right? That’s the last word. That’s the end of the story. Everything sad will in fact, come on true. And yes, when we hear that we think about death and suffering. Absolutely. But that is true for our work to the toil. The car repetition, the dehumanizing influence of work, all of that sad stuff is going to come untrue also. And here’s why that’s important, because last week, it sounded good, didn’t it? But maybe a little too easy. I know. That’s how some of you felt like you’re listening to Kyle who was not wrong, of course, what he was saying. But you know, the, the message is basically just love and serve like Jesus. And you go, yeah, but easy for you to say, Pastor. You don’t know what my Friday was like. You don’t know the stupid decisions that are being made above me that are affecting me and the people around me that I love and want to serve. You don’t know what it’s like to be yelled at, by rude and angry customers, or to have patients that you’re trying to help who don’t ever listen to what you’re saying. So they’re getting worse instead of better? Or what it’s like to be stuck in a dead end job. unemployed, underemployed, not doing what you feel called to do. How can you keep going in those situations? That is a real question. One of our informal taglines here at Cityview is honest answers to honest questions. Look, that is an honest question that deserves an honest answer. The reality is that none of us could possibly endure in this life. Without hope. It is the hope of the resurrection, the hope of redemption. And consummation is the only thing that keeps us going. Because if we know how it goes, in the end, we can persevere. Early on in our days, serving with Safe Families and Amy and I, we had a little girl with us in the house. It was over Thanksgiving weekend, and her sister older sister also needed a place to stay. And we knew this was going to stretch us and we knew this sister was a handful. The little one was a handful also, you know, spaces kind of maxed out whatnot, and we’re looking at what to do, but you’re gonna, what’s the option. And so we looked at each other and we said, okay, we can do anything for four days. We can do anything for four days, it’s knowing that there is an end that kind of allows you to persevere. And I think the reality is we can do anything for days or four years or even fourscore years. If we know the end is coming, and the end will make all things right.
And it is coming and will make all things right the the pain now is even part of the joy. Then, here’s the way CS Lewis said it he said people say have some temporal suffering, no future bliss can make up for it. Not knowing that heaven once attained, we’ll work backwards and turn even that agony into glory. This hope that we have that our agony, our drudgery, our toil now will turn into joyful glory. The good news that helps us with more than just getting on and work, you don’t enjoy it. It’s got a broader application. It gives us the strength to make the hard choices in this life, and to sacrifice as needed. Faith, your faith in Christ may cost you at work. Some of you have lived that painfully honest he may get you fired. When your boss cares more about the bottom line and would rather you’d cut some corners there. Your love for your client may lose you a sale. But in Christ, who sacrificed for us, we can joyfully sacrifice in this life. What did Jesus say whoever loses his life for My sake for the sake of the gospel. We’ll keep it. So one who’s trying to keep it that’s the one who loses it. Ultimately, this is our hope, nothing that we give up in this life for Christ. There’s nothing in this life, we give up for Christ that we won’t receive a hundredfold in the life to come. You may give up riches because of your faith in this life. Guess what? I’ve seen your eternal bank account. It’s doing great. You have the riches of glory already. It’s there. Did you Bonhoeffer as he was awaiting trial, and ultimately waiting his execution for his active work for the sake of the kingdom in this world fighting against the Nazis. He wrote something, a poem called Who am I and near the end of it, he said, is something within me still like a beaten army fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved? You ever done that as a Christian Given up fled, even though the victory is already won. Like I think Bonhoeffer is question there is the question you need to ask yourselves, on the days when work is the hardest. When it feels like we’re living in the fall more than we are in the redemption and certainly not in the consummation, we have a deeper hope. We know how the story ends. But third, we also have a longer view, we know how the story and because we know the end, we know the end, we know that there will be perfect peace and perfect justice and perfect righteousness and perfect healing and perfect worship and perfect joy. That means we can begin to ask the question, how does my work now contribute to that perfect end? I mean, think about that, even in the vocation God has given you How is your work contributing now to that perfect end? Because as Christians, we’re not working for the weekend. We’re not even working for retirement. We’re working for 10 million years past that moment, because we’re thinking of eternity. Scripture invites us over and over again, to ask ourselves which of our works will last. Here’s First Corinthians three for example, Paul says if anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is because the day will bring it to light, it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. The fire is an important picture in this image because fire burns wood and hay and straw. But fire purifies gold. The gold goes on in that story. This is by the way, why the world ends with fire. Because not destroying the world. In the end. He is renewing and purifying the world in the end. So some of what we do. If it’s gold, that’s costly stones, if it’s silver will last eternally. No. Good. I know what you’re thinking. Miroslav Volf, Croatian theologian actually asks the question we’re all thinking right now, is it not a contradiction to ascribe eternal permanence to what corruptible human beings create? A chair becomes broken in a year, bread is eaten in a day, and a speech including sermons I might add. Regrettably, a speech is forgotten in an hour. Yes, but let’s play. Make believe for a moment here. Like what’s what’s imagine one of the classic test texts of the Christian world you know, J i Packer’s knowing God AW Tozer is the knowledge of the holy is a book like that worthy of glory. These are good books. Will they be purified with fire? With with a fire, maybe burn out a sentence or two or transfigure? A word here or there? I’m sure. But I see no reason why wouldn’t be able to read these books in heaven? Well, then why not the rest of what we do if it’s done for the Lord, we’ve already seen that some of our tech and tools are going into glory, some of our invention, like you might hold a patent that’s still there and glory, that’s cool to think about. How about those of you who are engaged in the task of educating minds broadly considered so teachers, but counselors, parents, things like that? Do we forget everything we learned when we get to glory? I think so. So that’s a work that lasts investment you have in the minds of others, or those who’ve worked to heal our bodies, they’re gonna be healed in glory, you are part of that process. You see, culture is not erased but transfigured by the final judgment. And that word is key, right? When we hear judgment, you know, we think bad, but judgment, like it’s an evaluation, there’s a judging between, there are some things that are wood and hay and straw, and they’re not gonna make the cut, but other things that are gold, and silver and costly stones, and they will, and that gives such renewed purpose to those in the so called secular fields like arts and education and business and politics. You’re involved in shaping eternity to it’s not just the pastors and the missionaries. Justin Martyr was a second century apologist for the Christian faith. And he grew up over the hill from Galilee in the second century, and he notes that there are plows still in use then, that were made by Jesus It’s fascinating, isn’t it? We so often contemplate Christ’s cross, but so rarely contemplate his carpentry part of it because Scripture doesn’t tell us a lot about it. Of course. I mean, I think the cross is the focus, no doubt. But what an interesting thought whatever else we might say about Jesus’s carpentry, we know he wasn’t doing shoddy work, because he was working as for the Lord and so what he built he built to last. We can too, we can too. And in an instant, everything culture, that’s just a really good reminder, it is so important for us to take the longer view. Here’s the way Lesley Newbiggin describes that longer view. He says we can commit ourselves without reserve to all our secular work, knowing nothing we do in itself is good enough to form part of that city’s building. Knowing everything from secret prayers to public acts is part of that sin stained human nature that must go down into the valley of death. And yet, knowing that as we offered up to the Father in the name of Christ and in the power of the Spirit, it is safe with him and purged in fire will find its place in the holy city. In the end I want to close this series by sharing with you a little bit from JR are tokens short story Leaf by Niggle. So Leaf by Niggle couple things we got to know here
niggle I mean, toking he was a linguist he chose his words carefully. We don’t use the word nickel a lot today. But it means to work ploddingly and effectively. And it was how talking viewed his own work. He was trying to create Middle Earth, you know, had to like invent elvish and Dwarvish and things like that. It took him some time. Right? And he wasn’t getting it done. And he wasn’t sure that he’s going to finish especially because World War Two happened. You know, they’re bombing London, things like that, and the specter of death was hanging over him. So he’s very definitely niggle in this story. The other thing you got to know about the story is that niggle has a problem because he’s got a journey to make. And in Anglo Saxon literature, the journey that you have to make is is death. And Tolkien as a professor of Anglo Saxon literature, that’s what he meant by it. So his time was short. But he’s again talking was living with the specter of death hanging over him so niggle was a painter. And he had a vision of a painting. First, it was just a leaf that he saw. But it grew to be the whole tree and behind it the country, you know, receding in beauty. And so he got himself a huge canvas to be able to capture this vision so big he had to use a ladder to paint it. But he ended up only being able to work on one leaf. He just like he couldn’t get it done. He had he loved painting leaves. He wasn’t going to painting trees. So he wanted to get the shading, right. He wanted to get every detail exactly right. Plus, he was often distracted, because he was loving. And so he was distracted by his neighbors including his neighbor, parish. I think that’s really funny. By the way, the church is getting in the way of my work, guys. Okay. So this is part of his problem. He can finish it because he’s he keeps helping parish and in fact, one time he goes out to help parish by caring for a widow who was in need, he’s caught in the rain and in the cold he gets sick. And as a result, when he gets back from his trip, the carriages they’re waiting to take him on his journey. He dies. One leaf on a giant canvas. They found it in his studio. And they kind of went like wow, this is a great leaf. So they put it in the museum with a little title underneath it Leaf by Niggle. But it was mostly unnoticed, because who wants to look at a giant canvas with a single leaf on it kind of a depressing story except that the carriage arrives, the journey that he was going to take. And as the carriage door opens, he sees his leaf and the whole tree. Not on the painting. But in real life. There is his tree. There’s the vision of the country receding behind it. And Tim Keller who just finished his own journey, of course, he writes about this story. He says in the real world, the permanent world the last word world, the Full unfinished tree was not a fancy that died with nickel. But it was part of the truest reality that we’re live and be enjoyed forever. We could bring that perspective into our Monday’s work today. In light of that coming day, let’s pray
Father, we thank You that we know how the story ends. We see the perfection that is coming. We are not finished yet as we sang earlier, but you will finish your work in us. And our work is not finished yet. But a day is coming. When we will see the fruit of all that we’ve done, when we enter into that holy city, to continue working for Your glory and the love of our neighbors, but in perfection, in fulfillment, and in communion with You. And Lord, as we think of work, we thank you, especially for the work of Christ, on the cross on our behalf, that we might be reconciled to you so that we can be transformed every aspect of our lives including our vocations. We offer our work to you now Lord, we offer our attitude about work we pray that you would be transforming us and transforming it as we seek to worship you love others and fulfill the mandate you’ve given us it’s for your name we pray amen.