Revive Our Hearts Weekend Podcast

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Working for the Lord

Episode Notes:

These series make up today's Revive Our Hearts Weekend program:

Women of the Bible Podcast: Ruth—Week 4: A Life That Speaks Volumes

Revive Our Hearts Video: Reaching Inside a Cambodian Prison

Revive Our Hearts Podcasts: The Counter-Cultural Woman: A Fresh Look at Proverbs 31 & Satisfied with God: The Life of George Mueller

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Dannah Gresh: Does the daily grind consume you? Are you overwhelmed by everything on your to-do list?

Portia Collins: I think that there’s a healthy balance that God intentionally put in place. He created us to work. He worked six days, and He rested on the seventh. So He models everything that we’re supposed to be doing. I think we just need to go back to the beginning and take some notes.

Dannah: We’ll take a look at how to find a healthy balance in our work, today on Revive Our Hearts Weekend.

Seven Dwarfs singing: “Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go . . ."

Dannah: Welcome to Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh.

Those cute little guys sure did love to work! Let me see if I can remember their name. Let me see, there was Doc, Dopey, Sleepy, Happy, Grumpy, Bashful, and Sneezy. They worked in a mine with their picks and axes. You probably use different tools when you work, but . . . do you sound as happy as them when you are heading off to do your job? 

We all have work to do. Some of us are accountants, some are daycare workers and teachers, nurses, executives at the office, executives at home (yeah, I'm talking to you, mommas), writers, social media managers, janitors, gardeners, cooks . . . The list is endless. 

First of all, thank you for what you do to make this world a better place. Thank you for your contribution to our society. God knows you, and God sees your the tasks before you. But do you ever feel like you’re stuck on a hampster wheel? Doing the same think day after day after day after day . . . working, working . . . running and running, sometimes frazzled . . . and feeling like we are getting nowhere? 

Let’s see if we can gain some health and balance in how we approach work! First stop: the Revive Our Hearts Women of the Bible podcast. 

During an episode on the life of Ruth, Erin Davis, Kristen Clark, and Portia Collins discussed the value of work and our attitude towards it.

Erin Davis: How would you assess or describe our culture’s view of work? Kristen?

Kristen Clark: Oh, I don’t know. I feel like there’s two-fold. It’s, like, “Work like crazy—hustle, hustle, hustle.”

Erin: Work is everything.

Kristen: Work is everything. It’s all of your success. It’s your identity. Your worth. Just do it like crazy.

And then there’s this kind of other side, like, work is a burden. “I don’t want to work, so I’m just going to be lazy and do my own thing and do what makes me happy.”

Erin: Right. “I just kind of grind through work so that I can live my best life on the weekend.”

Kristen: Right.

Erin: Yes. I see both of those, too. And both are kind of oppressive. Right?

Kristen: Right.

Erin: That hustle culture can make me feel all kinds of pressure I don’t think the Lord intends for me. As can work being the part of my life I don’t want to do.

Kristen: Like the necessary evil.

Erin: Yes. Your thoughts on how our culture views work, Portia?

Portia: I always go back to Genesis. I think we missed the fact that we were given work before the fall.

Erin: Sister! Are you looking at my notes?! (laughter) That’s something I wanted to talk about because it’s so important.

Portia: Yes.

Erin: Take us there.

Portia: So in my mind, I’m, like, “We were created to work, to do work.”

Erin: Right.

Portia: But the thing is: Our work should not consume us. That’s not where the glory goes. The glory goes to God. So anytime we’re working and we make an idol of that work, we’re in dangerous territory.

And then on the flip side of it, when we are just totally against working and just want to sit back and kick our feet up, once again, we’re in some dangerous territory.

I think that there’s a healthy balance that God intentionally put in place. He created us to work. He worked six days, and He rested on the seventh. So He models everything that we’re supposed to be doing. I think we just need to go back to the beginning and take some notes.

Erin: Well, I think part of the reason the three of us are such close friends is because we’re all a little Type A. (laughter)

Kristen: Just a little bit.

Erin: I like saying, “I’m not Type A, I’m Type Double-A.” Like: “Get . . . the . . . job . . . done . . . all . . . the . . . time.” I have a sign in my office that says, “People over projects” because I have to remember not to just think that my to-do list is my be-all, end-all. I think I gravitate most into “work is my identity.” But I can see the other camp gravitating towards, “Work is a waste of my time.” I think Ruth is going to give us some healthy perspectives on work.

I want to read us a comment that came in through Grounded, which is a videocast we do on Revive Our Hearts. I love this comment. This takes us all the way back to COVID-19, she’s referencing that. But she says:

Thank you, COVID-19, for reminding me that work is a PRIVILEGE. [She had that in all caps, which you know means, “We mean business.” Work is a PRIVILEGE.] I don’t have to work, but I get to work and help provide for my family. May I never take work for granted.

I’ve thought about this comment many, many times—the privilege of work. 

Listen to the entire episode, "Ruth—Week 4: A Life That Speaks Volumes." This comes from the Women of the Bible podcast: "Ruth."

Dannah: “Work is a privilege.” Have you ever considered that? God created purpose, and it’s a privilege to participate in what He assigns to us in our corner of the world. 

That's true no matter if we do or don’t love our job. I mean, consider what Paul wrote in Colossians chapter 3 verses 23 and 24. Let me read it: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (NIV)

Okay, first of all, he wrote that knowing that many of the people who would read it were slaves. They didn’t even get to choose their work. But He said that if you do the work not for the human master but for the Lord, there’d be a reward. 

What assignments or chores do you have on your to-do list today? Who are you doing it for? If you’ll start consider yourself to be working for the Lord, you may start to feel just how very privileged you are!

We have a link to this episode of Women of the Bible in today’s transcript. Find that at ReviveOurHearts.com/weekend

I want you to meet a young woman with a fascinating work story. And I want you to hear what’s the difference between just working for a paycheck and truly working for God.

Julie McGregor: My name's Julie McGregor. I'm from New Zealand. I currently live and have lived for seven years in Cambodia.

Dannah: Julie was an ambitious young woman who had worked in the corporate world in New Zealand. She was a high-achiever, and she worked hard at everything she did. But after a personal life crisis, she needed a change of pace.

Julie: I called out to God and just said to Him, "I need to see you at work in a bigger context than my life." And so my church said, “Well there's a lady in Cambodia who we support, and she needs some help for a couple of months,” so that's how I first got there. And I haven't moved back. So Cambodia is home now.

In the beginning, I was working with small Christian organizations doing leadership development, but really my whole rhythm of life was the same.

Dannah: Even though she moved to Cambodia to be a missionary, Julie's focus on achievement and getting results never changed.

Julie: I was very good at doing work for Jesus. All I did was swap being paid a lot for not being paid a lot from living and working in a Western context around the world to living and working in a third-world context. I was still making sure I was achieving and being valuable. I thought I had to be valuable to God and use every skill that he's given me, and I have to be value for the supporters that are sending me.

Dannah: This pressure to achieve was crushing to Julie. So she began seeking the Lord—asking Him to uncover the root of her desire for success.

Julie: And my identity, He showed me, was caught up in achieving, and all I really had done was swap my context. But I was still working for Him, but He showed me I wasn't working with Him.

Dannah: Julie began reorienting her focus on the Lord, instead of the things that she could do for the Lord.

Julie: If our relationship with our Father— if our intimate relationship with the Lord is put on the back burner and is not the bullseye, is not the central focus, then we will burn out and we will be toxic to the very people that we have been called to love.

Dannah: As Julie's heart became aligned with God's heart, He opened a completely new door of ministry for her.

Julie: Now, after a long journey, I work in Cambodia's largest women's prison in Phnom Penh. I teach Bible, and we worship. I've never been to seminary. I'm completely unqualified to be doing what I'm doing, yet God truly is so strong in my weakness. The women in my class, which has grown over the last five years from about six people to forty, is made up of women from all over the world, every continent.

Dannah: Julie began listening to Revive Our Hearts when she came to Cambodia. As she's listened, she’s found the Revive Our Hearts resources to be invaluable to her in this new ministry to women in prison.

Julie: God has used Revive Our Hearts, Nancy, and the podcast on the app. Thank goodness for the Internet that I can actually access these resources from a place like Cambodia. It doesn't matter the time zone I'm in, and it doesn't matter that we don't have shops or places that I can go to access resources like you can in this country. And it was through listening to Revive Our Hearts that I actually really thought, Oh! I actually don't think I know my Bible.

So that was the beginning of me letting projects go and doing less (it would seem to the outside world), really studying God’s Word for myself, and now teaching the women in the prison to study for themselves and God is transforming them as they recognize their true identity. I am so grateful!

Watch Julie's entire story on video, "Reaching Inside a Cambodian Prison."

Dannah: I’m so grateful for Julie. God is transforming these women into His likeness, but it started with Julie being faithful. What an example of Colossians 3, verse 24, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord."

You don’t have to be in full-time Christian ministry or go to another country to do your work as for the Lord. That’s not the point. Here’s what I want you to take away from this: whatever we do, we work with Him—bookkeeper, teacher, doctor, editor, entrepreneur, maker of widgets, wiper of noses and bottoms. As you go, as you use your hands, remember that God gave you this job, this position. It’s good.

I know of a nurse who reminds herself as she heads into the clinic each morning, “The Lord establishes my work.” She took that from Psalm 90:17. It’s one of my favorite verses to quote when I begin to get overwhelmed by or addicted to what I accomplish each day. It reads: "Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and establish the work of our hands upon us—yes, establish the work of our hands." (NIV) 

If you’re struggling with the daily grind, or maybe you love it, you still need to be reminded, the Lord establishes our work—not me, not you. The Lord! Maybe you need to write that on a Post-It note and stick it to your mirror. That’s Psalm 90:17.

You’re listening to Revive Our Hearts Weekend; I’m Dannah Gresh.

The work of our hands is important. Even if it is monotonous, it’s good. God used His hands. Yes, He did. He created the world and still holds it in His hands. Does the sweet little children’s song pop into your head? “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”

Jesus worked with His hands. He built things with His hands, and healed with His hands.

I wanted Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth to share with us some of the great examples in God’s Word of His people using their hands, toiling for Him. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: The apostles worked with their hands. First Corinthians four, the apostle Paul said, “We labor, working with our own hands” (1 Cor. 4:12). Acts chapter 20 tells us, again Paul is speaking to the elders at Ephesus. He said, “You yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities and for those who were with me” (Acts 20:34).

Isn’t it interesting that the great apostle Paul who penned, I think, thirteen books in the New Testament, was not above working with his hands? You see, working with our hands is the cure, the antidote, to laziness, to stealing, and to uselessness. And that’s why we read in Proverbs chapter 21 that lazy people won’t work with their hands. “The desire of the lazy man kills him,” Proverbs says, “because his hands refuse to labor. He covets greedily all day long, but the righteous gives and does not spare” (Prov. 21:25).

Do you see the difference there? Lazy people are always wanting to get. They want to be on the receiving end. They won’t work to give. They want to get. And ultimately, if they can’t get what they want, that can even cause them to turn to stealing out of laziness. But people who are hard workers are willing to work with their hands so that they can have something to give to others. That’s the heart of this virtuous woman.

So we read in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, “We urge you,” Paul says, “that you aspire to lead a quiet life and to work with your own hands, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside and that you may lack nothing” (1 Thess. 4:11–12).

Now, this is serious business because Paul’s not just saying this is something you ought to consider doing, to be hard at work with your hands in whatever tasks you have that require that. He goes on to say in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3 that there were some in that church who were idle—they wouldn’t work with their hands. And Paul said, “Look at our example! We did not eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but we worked with labor and toil, night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us” (2 Thess. 3:7–8, paraphrased).

“Do not be weary in doing good” (Gal. 6:9, paraphrased). That’s a good word for mothers, isn’t it? He goes on to say, “If anyone does not obey our words, note that person, and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed” (2 Thess. 3:14). Now, that’s not only something to model in your home, but it’s an important thing to teach your children. Your children need to learn how to work, and how to have a work-ethic, but also practically how to work.

Well, there are so many ways that a woman in the context of her home can use her hands. I made a list of some of those, and you will think of others: sewing and mending clothes, curtains, linens. Cleaning—cleaning dishes, cleaning clothing, cleaning children, cleaning toilets, cleaning floors, cleaning spills. And there’s always plenty to do with the hands, picking up after the family, cooking, baking, food preparation, shopping, crafts that are used to make your home beautiful: painting, stenciling, gardening, planting, weeding, tending the garden.

Working with your hands: flower arranging, needle work, writing notes of encouragement—that’s a way you can use your hands to minister grace to others. And by the way, start at home with those notes of encouragement. Some of you are great at thank you notes and notes of encouragement, but do you write your husband and your children notes of encouragement?

Let me ask you right now to stop and look at your hands. Just look at them. If you’re a Proverbs 31 woman, or becoming one, as we are committed to becoming together, your hands may not be model’s hands. You may not have perfectly manicured nails. But let me ask you this: Are they serving hands? Are they hands that you’re using to bless and to minister in practical ways to the needs of others?

If they are, then though they may not be beautiful hands, they’re hands like the Master’s. See, Christ’s hands were nailed to a cross. He endured that, out of love, out of the heart of a servant, for the sake of the gospel, for the sake of the plan of redemption.

Can I say that when you serve your family with your hands, when you work with your hands, when you clean and cook, whatever you do with your hands around your home, you’re doing it for the sake of the gospel. You’re doing it so that your children may know what Jesus looks like, so they may be drawn to Him, so they may want to know Him.

There’s a wonderful word of encouragement in 2 Chronicles chapter 15. The prophet came to King Asa. Asa was a man who had a heart for God, and he was seeking to establish reform in the nations which desperately needed reforms, but it was hard work.

It would have been easy for Asa to get weary in the work and to give up. God sent a prophet to him to say what I want to say to you today. He said, “[But you, King Asa,] Be strong, and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!” (2 Chron. 15:7).

Let me say it again. Let me say it to you. “But you, be strong, and do not let your hands be weak, for your work,” if it’s done as unto the Lord, “will be rewarded!”

It will be.

Listen to the entire episode, "Working Joyfully." This comes from the series, "The Counter-Cultural Woman: A Fresh Look at Proverbs 31."

Dannah: Amen. I don’t know about you, but I needed that encouragement today. Work on the farm and work in the ministry seems to be never ending! I’ve been telling Bob lately I feel like the tail is wagging the dog! I just cannot keep up with everything! There is always something to do, and it can weigh me down. Can you identify? 

The next time you are weighed down with all you have before you, as Nancy said, look at your hands and consider everything they do in a day, and remember they are like the Master’s hands, and you are an active part in His redemption story. 

Oh, that just sends chills up my spine thinking that God is using you and me to display His story for all to see.

Back in the early 1800s there was a man known for dependence on prayer and for caring for orphans. His name was George Mueller. I’m always so intrigued by this man’s life! Now, maybe you already know but the Lord and His work were of supreme importance to George.

Here is Nancy, joined by Jim Elliff and John Piper, telling part of this great man’s story. Jim begins by sharing a verse that God put on George Mueller’s heart, Psalm 81, verse 10. 

Jim Elliff: And it said this: “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it” (KJV). God used this verse and this concept to lead George Mueller to believe God, to trust God for the money to actually take these orphans in and be able to supply them with everything they would need for life.

Nancy: Even as he made plans to care for orphans, George Mueller continued to keep God’s glory as his number one priority.

The first and primary object of the work was and still is that God might be magnified.

John Piper: Now, I think the biggest surprise I got in reading the life of Mueller is how pervasive was his insistence that he was not doing orphan work mainly for orphans.

The chief reasons for establishing an orphan house are: One, that God would be glorified should He be pleased to furnish me with the means—it is being seen that it is not in vain to trust Him and that thus the faith of His children may be strengthened; number two, the spiritual welfare of the fatherless and motherless children; number three, the temporal welfare.

Now make no mistake, those three—the strengthening of the faith of the church of Jesus Christ by watching my life and how I care for the orphans, the spiritual welfare of the orphans, the temporal welfare of the orphans—those three in that order was his life, not the other way around. This is really a deep sense of calling on George Mueller. It was absolutely his passion.

The first and primary object of the work was and still is that God might be magnified by the fact that the orphans under my care are provided with all they need only by prayer and faith without anyone being asked by me. Whereby it may be seen that God is faithful.

[He was deeply grieved] that so many believers were harassed and distressed in mind and brought guilt on their consciences on account of not trusting the Lord.

Jim: He wanted to be a living illustration that God was everything He said He was. I find that to be the most important aspect of George Mueller’s life and the thing that we need to carry away with us more than anything else about this great man of God.

John: He chose the orphans decisively, crucially to display the trustworthiness of God in answering prayer. Let’s read it.

It seemed to me best to be done by the establishing of an orphan house. It needed to be something which could be seen even by the natural eye. If I, a poor man, simply by prayer and faith obtained without asking any individual the means for establishing and carrying on an orphan house, there would be something which with the Lord’s blessing might be instrumental in strengthening the faith of the children of God.

Listen to the entire episode, "The Primary Object." It comes from the series, "Satisfied with God: The Life of George Mueller."

Dannah: George Mueller was a great hero of the faith, a man who believed deeply in God and trusted Him for all his needs. And this was evidenced through the work of George’s hands. Incredible.

I hope you see that the work of your hands is just as valuable, and I hope you are encouraged to know that what you do for a living matters to God. 

For twenty years now Revive Our Hearts has been bringing you the truth of God’s Word for women. It’s been twenty years of of reminding you of the freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness we have in Christ. Twenty years of saying, “Yes, Lord!” 

Did you catch that? We’ve hit a milestone around here—twenty years. Yes, twenty years, we are celebrating around here. And it's with grateful hearts that we want you to teach the next generation of women to say “Yes, Lord!” This month we want you to go back to the basics, the basics of biblical womanhood, with True Woman 101. Be reminded of all that you are, so that you can pass on a rich legacy.

True Woman 101 is a classic resource by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and Mary Kassian, and we’ll send it to you this month when you give a gift of any amount. You can make your donation online at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. Be sure to ask for your copy of True Woman 101. 

A storm hit my farm this summer while I was away. It was strong and furious and knocked a lot of trees down. The damage was extensive, but you know what? God was with my husband, Bob, in that storm. Our farm still stands, our animals are fine. Next week we’re going to talk about the God who is with us through the storms.

Thanks for listening today. Thanks to our team: Phil Krause, Blake Bratton, Rebekah Krause, Justin Converse, Michelle Hill. 

And for Revive Our Hearts Weekend, I’m Dannah Gresh

Revive Our Hearts Weekend is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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About the Panelists

Portia Collins

Portia Collins

Portia Collins is a Christian Bible teacher and writer/blogger who enjoys studying and teaching Scripture.  Portia is the founder of "She Shall Be Called" (SSBC), a women’s ministry centered on helping women understand and embrace true biblical womanhood through solid study of God's Word. To learn more about SSBC, visit www.sheshallbecalled.com.  Portia and her husband, Mikhail, have a daughter and currently live in the Mississippi Delta. 

Kristen Clark

Kristen Clark

Kristen Clark is married to her best friend, Zack, is co-founder of GirlDefined Ministries, and author of Girl DefinedLove Defined, and Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart. She is passionate about promoting the message of God-defined womanhood through blogging, speaking, mentoring young women, and hosting Bible studies in her living room. In the end, she’s just a fun-lovin’ Texas girl who adores all things outdoors and drinks coffee whenever possible.

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.

About the Host

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

About the Guest

John Piper

John Piper

John Piper is a preacher and author who served as Pastor for Preaching and Vision of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota for 33 years.