As the world begins to knock upon our doors, asking us to come out and play once more, my heart longs to cross through the door long here, but rarely opened. The one creation frames, carved like cradle and cross and leading to the land where I can simply keep Him company. My heart beats hard for the threshold that whisks me past the rim of all the reasons why work need resume to the edge of the extravagance for the one my heart works, beats for.
Be strong all you people of the land, says the Lord, and work, for I am with you says the Lord of Hosts. Haggai 2:4
Haggai was a prophet to the people who returned to Jerusalem after captivity under King Cyrus. I’m sure in those days there was great rumble and ruckus to rebuild the Temple. To get to work. For wasn’t that why they returned?
Newly out of exile they were anxious to grab hammers and nails and build. But something built by duty will only fall again and again. Haggai knew and was precisely placed to make known the One they were there to work with. That they would work because He was with them.
Haggai didn’t speak to them of job openings, but reminded them of the way in which they were created to work. Haggai’s word for work is ‘ashah’ formed from ayin-shin-hei and carrying the meaning of not laying hand to labor without considering He who commissioned it. Not until that contemplation would the fiery passion for the exertion come, followed by His breath and presence with which to complete it.
In other words, don’t hold hammer until He’s been held Holy. For nothing can separate what He brings together. Work and worship are made for marrying. They were rooted together at the origin.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and dress it. Genesis 2:15
The word used for work is ‘avoda’ and means “work, worship and service.” The word for plowing a field is the same as that of worshipping the God who made it. There is no dichotomy between what He designed and what He desires for us. A life where work and worship are an integrated action, sprung from the same root. Seeded in the same soil. A seamless way of living, bears fruit.
This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, that they may worship (avodah) me. Exodus 8:1
Exile always ends that we might reconcile the world to who He truly is. We aren’t products of the world, but priesthood for the world. Adventurous hearts who lead from the ledge of laid waste to the scene of sacred.
We aren’t here to make a living, but to reveal life. We make altars into tables and point problems to praise.
He is with us or “ani itikem”. With (in Hebrew) begins with aleph and concludes with tav. With is strung together with eternity. The Beginning accompanied by the End. The always present escorted by He who never leaves. The sum of our eternal value.
There may be spaces in our togetherness as we return. We need not fear the freedom of making room for more of Him as we are fitted into a new world. For we bring a new order, where all comes after Him as we go for Him with all we are, offering all we have. Our eternal value brings everlasting praise, after all. That we would go after all.
Kahlil Gibran said:
Work is love made visible. Thus when we see what each other has made or done, we can see what the other loves.
I am eager with the expectancy of what we will invite each other to see and allow each other to give!
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