Question:

Hello Jeffrey,

I'm in need of advice and I'd like to ask a question.

First, I want to know how I can live by faith, while at the same time providing for myself and my loved ones with my own job. One of the things that I've been struggling with is the temptation to develop a mindset that I don't need God to provide for me the basic necessities if I'm the one going to work and earning the money to buy those things.

Second, is there such a thing as a spiritual calling? If so, how can I find mine?

 

Answer:

I'm wondering how you view faith. Faith means to trust someone. Thus, when God says I must do something, then I trust Him that this is best for me. God says that we must work for our living. "For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either" (II Thessalonians 3:10). He also stated, "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (I Timothy 5:8). Therefore, not working shows a lack of faith in God.

When Jesus was followed by a crowd looking for him to provide them free meals, he rejected them. "Jesus answered them and said, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal'" (John 6:26-27). God cares for His people, but He isn't raising a bunch of lazy bums. We do what we can in this world. What we are able to do is a gift from God. The fact that we opportunities to work is also a gift from God. But I am still required to work. "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going" (Ecclesiastes 9:10). When we are obedient to God, God promises to watch over us and make sure we have enough (Matthew 6:24-34).

"Calling" in the New Testament refers to God inviting (calling) people to leave the world of sin. "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (I Peter 2:9).  Those who are called by God are then to live a life in accordance with that invitation. "So that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory" (I Thessalonians 2:12).

There have been a few times when God selected men for special duties, such as prophets and the apostles, but this doesn't mean that God assigns every man his tasks. The calling of God in the New Testament is a general invitation to all men everywhere to be saved (Acts 17:30). It isn't done directly but through the teaching of God's message. "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Thessalonians 2:14).

Question:

Thanks for the clarification, Jeff.

The reason I was concerned about this was that the group, "A Voice in the Desert" firmly believes in not working to provide for yourself (Matthew 6:19-20). Instead, they advocate living communally as the early Christians did (they sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with the poor). They believe what Jesus said in (Luke 6:46; 12:22-33; 14:33) are universal commands for believers to get rid of everything they own and share the proceeds with the poor. They even reject the Old Testament and believe that only the teachings of Jesus matter in the Bible.

Answer:

While the laws in the Old Testament don't apply today, we still need to learn the Old Testament in order to understand the New Testament. See The Old Testament, and New Testament Christians. The reason for narrowing what source they accept is that it makes it easier for them to twist the words of Christ when there is no context for the words.

The aesthetic life has long been a popular false teaching. See Does God want me to give up everything and preach the Gospel?

Another popular myth is that early Christians lived a communal life in a communistic form of society. See Economic Systems.

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