January 7, 2023 • Life for Leaders
Scripture — Philippians 1:3-6
I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.
It may be unclear how our present work is actually turning out to advance the Gospel. But we can learn to live a good life with the same confidence that Paul had.
What does it take to be convinced? How much do you have to see before you are confident that something is really happening? Paul was convinced of what would happen because of his communication with God and his relationship to others.
It would be nice to always have circumstances unfold in a way that assures us that everything is going well. But we are moving toward a renewed heaven and renewed earth and a kingdom that will be fully realized. In the meantime we work and live with the potential of being convinced of what will be.
Paul may be in prison in dire circumstances. But what does he know to be true? Virtues of grace and peace are not without good results (Phillipaisn 1:2). Thankfulness is reciprocal and derived from Gospel implications (1:4-5). And finally, there is a bold confidence in the glimpses of what will be. Paul knew what we should aspire to know and to anticipate through the Gospel. God does not leave any stone unturned, no task unfinished, nor any efforts in vain (1 Cor. 15:58). Paul’s certainty was that when Christ returns the good work God began among the Philippians is going to be carried out and completed. It may be a hard life but based on where things are headed—what he knows will be—it was still good to Paul.
It may be unclear how our present work is actually turning out to advance the Gospel. But we can learn to live a good life with the same confidence that Paul had. If Christ began a good work in our strivings as a great retail worker at CVS, an underemployed worker striving to upskill while taking care of family, a CNA, or a CEO then we can be certain that he will complete it.
When you think about the new heaven and new earth how do Paul’s words “the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion” form how you approach it?
Take some time to consider the next 12 months of your life’s work. If God cares about you and your efforts what is the wise thing to do and how should you do it?
God, thank you for making our feeble efforts not vain efforts. Thank you for moments of pure joy in moments of dire circumstances. Help our good to be prompted by our confidence in what we know and where we are headed. Make us confident in you where we see pieces of glory to come. Thank you for your kingdom reigning on heaven and on earth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Banner image by Werner Du Plessis on Unsplash.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the High Calling archive, hosted by the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Gospel Sharers.
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DeLano J. Sheffield is the Business Resource Specialist for Goodwill of MoKan where he connects to people on the fringes, training them to reach their full potential through learning and the power of work; he also is on the frontlines of the advances of the fourth industrial revolution and coaches leaders on diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. He began his career as an architectural engineer then went on to attend seminary. In every part of his life he finds ways to infuse theology into vocation, and strengthen practical connections of faith and daily activity. DeLano lives in Kansas City, Missouri.