Reflections: The Fifth Day of Christmas

Today’s Reading: Small Catechism: Table of Duties, To Workers

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 55:1-13; Luke 1:1-25

Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. (Ephesians 6:5–8)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Work. Everyone’s got to do it. Not everyone likes it. Some people detest it. And then there are some who do incredible amounts of work in order to avoid work. 

But work is not itself bad. God works. “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done” (Genesis 2:2). God likewise made man for work. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). But Adam inverted this scheme. He worked where he should have rested and harvested fruit when he should have been hearing God’s Word.

Sin breaks work. Instead of working for the good of creation, we want to work to please God. Instead of resting to receive God’s gifts, we relax our efforts when our neighbors truly have needs. Sin turns work upon its head.

But to this broken world of work, God speaks His Word. “Bondservants, obey your earthly masters. . . as you would Christ. . . rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man.” Works done for others are works done for Christ! Whether you are a servant bound to a boss or a free person bound to your neighbor’s needs, your works benefit the world around you. God sanctifies work once again with His Word.

And this allows us to relax before God. “Whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord,” not in the way of rewards or karma, but that God also sends workers for your good. Through the work of others, God also blesses you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

With the Lord begin your task; Jesus will direct it. For His aid and counsel ask; Jesus will perfect it. Ev’ry morn with Jesus rise, And when day is ended, In His name then close your eyes; Be to Him commended. (“With the Lord Begin Your Task” LSB 869, st.1)

Rev. Jacob Ehrhard is pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church and School in Chicago, IL.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch