“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Piece work or “a piece of work”

The Wikipedia definition of piece work

“Piece work (or piecework) is any type of employment in which a worker is paid a fixed piece rate for each unit produced or action performed regardless of time….

When paying a worker, employers can use various methods and combinations of tactics. Some of the most prevalent methods are:
1) paid a wage by the hour (known as ‘time work’);
2) paid an annual salary;
3) salary plus commission (common in sales jobs);
4) base salary or hourly wages plus gratuities (common in service industries);
5) salary plus a possible bonus (used for some managerial or executive positions);
6) salary plus stock options (used for some executives and in start-ups and some high tech firms);
7) salary pool systems; gainsharing (also known as ‘profit sharing’);
8) paid by the piece – the number of things they make, or tasks they complete (known as ‘output work’).

Some internet definitions of the phrase, “a piece of work”:

“(Idiomatic, often derogatory) A person who has a strong and unusual personality, especially one with seriously unpleasant character flaws (e.g. a nasty piece of work). 

A complicated, difficult, or eccentric person.

Someone who -- although often interesting -- is difficult to get along with on an every day basis. They often make simple things overly complex, or argue points ad infinitum. 

Someone who is unusually unpleasant or behaves unusually badly. Someone who is cruel and unkind.

We all are the work of Christ’s hands.

“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength because of Thine enemies, that Thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained;
What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?
For Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” (Ps. 8:2-5).

“But now, O LORD, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our Potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand.” (Isa. 64:8).

“Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay…?” (Rom. 9:20,21).

Most hands-on, production-type workers prefer piecework. Usually the other option is work by the hour, or hourly wages. Hourly wages usually amount to the worker barely being able to pay his bills. But, piecework is the best way to make money for the quick-thinking, self-starter, smart worker. The fast-paced, engaged worker can build, assemble, accomplish good quality products quickly, and thus make more money than an hourly wage because his/her pay is based on how much he/she produces. But, for the slow and lazy, half-hearted worker hourly pay is preferred because it is dependable, consistent, and has much less pressure with regard to the work.

Can God sanctify us quickly? Can He easily mold us like clay? Can He efficiently build Himself a church? Yes, He can. He has done it in the past.

“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will…. And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.” (Eph. 1:11,19).

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them….
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone;
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Eph. 2:10-22).

“For He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.” (Rom. 9:28).

Can He do miracles in our work of sanctification today? If not, why not? Must He take a lifetime to give us victory of one sin? Is the real question, How willing or unwilling are we? Are we piecework, or “a piece of work”?

Working with wood or stone or electronics or some aspect of building construction is similar but not exactly the same as the Lord’s work with hearts for their salvation. The earthly items make a good object lesson for spiritual things, yet they come far short of comparing perfectly with the greater, higher work of Christ for saving our soul. His work involves objects that have a mind of their own--us. We have a will of our own, and we must give permission for His work to continue in us. Even building robots doesn’t run into the kinds of problems that come with working with the human being because of our God-given freedom to choose. And, God has always limited His work to our choice of whether to cooperate or oppose His work in us and for us. God made us especially in His image, and He will never abrogate our freedom of choice. All of his work in us and for us has always been predicated on our willingness to cooperate with Him. Satan strives to work outside of our choice through his temptations and delusion; but God forces him to stay within the bounds of the law of our choice. We are all left free to choose for or against God’s work in our eternal interest.

“In the work of redemption there is no compulsion. No external force is employed. Under the influence of the Spirit of God, man is left free to choose whom he will serve.” Desire of Ages, p. 466.

But, how quickly do we let God work in us? Are we piecework? Do we cherish His chipping away our undesirable characteristics? He will never rip our idols from our hearts. Do we relish His work of perfecting us? Do we love to suffer for His sake because we anticipate that we will reap the mighty rewards of surrender to His will, of a union with God, and the indomitable peace that comes from that union.

“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.” (1Pet. 4:1).

Are we arming ourselves with the precious promises that make us accessible to Christ’s powerful character? Or, do we arm ourselves with the things of this world that keep us under the control of our fallen human nature?

“According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2Pet. 1:3,4).

Are we willing piecework in the hands of the Spirit of Christ or are we a resistant piece of work? Are we easily fashioned in hands of Jesus, or are we hard to get along with? Do we love His carving away our flesh and worldliness; and are we grateful to be rid of that awful, dead part of our character? Do we thank Him for His sanctifying work or do we complain? Is our profession of godliness only for pleasing people, or the Father? How firmly are we rooted in the self-sacrificing life of Christ?

Does our Christian experience waver back and forth, obedient and then disobedient, victorious and then backsliding? Are we lackadaisical, ho-hum, half-hearted in response to Him who gave up all for our salvation?

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:5-8).

What is the reward for total surrender to the self-sacrificing Spirit of the Son?

“In the change that takes place when the soul surrenders to Christ, there is the highest sense of freedom. The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan’s control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God.” Desire of Ages, p. 466.

Does freedom sound good? Freedom to do God’s will? Freely expressed righteousness does sound good because so often we feel pressured and stressed to do God’s will. But, when it is Christ’s righteousness, constrained by love for His wonderful love toward us all, then our hearts melt and righteousness flows from us freely. Yet, that freedom didn’t come free. There was a cost; but, every effort of ours was duly rewarded. Only they will receive the freedom that God promises who actually take up the offer of God and trust His word that their rewards will greatly out-weigh their personal investment.

“And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God and he shall be My son.” (Rev. 21:6,7).

Freedom of spirit means no more captivity to self. 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18,19).

Are we enslaved to a vice? Do we fear our lost power of choice when it comes to that vice?

“Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:34-36).

Isn’t it so much better to serve a good Master than a dogmatic tyrant? Christ promises, “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Matt. 11:30). Jesus’ new lifestyle is easy because love makes everything easy and every burden light. He promises rest from the forced demands brought upon us by sin and self-indulgence. But, to have His rest we need to yoke up with Him. He will give us eyesalve to find Him revealed all around us everywhere. We will see the precious Son of God in every precious heifer and bullock, in every precious lamb and kid goat, in every precious baby squirrel and sparrow and fawn, every precious young one of the animal kingdom and every precious toddler of our human race. All the little babes and sucklings in the world testify of the precious meek and lowly One sent from God. We need to learn that He is meek and lowly, and then trust His invitation to our hearts, which He has promised in all meekness and lowliness.

“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matt. 11:28,29).

“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise” (Matt. 21:16).

We will see the young One sent from heaven to carry an infinitely weighty mission to win our hearts back to God by His youthful love and need for attachment. We will see the beauty of the precious Babe torn from the bosom of God. We will see Him who displayed the eternal joy and purity during His life here, joyfully living under the constant love of His Father. We will see that the precious Son truly “is altogether lovely” (Song 5:16). Can our hearts say of Jesus that “this is my beloved, and this is my friend” (Song 5:16)? Can our hearts believe that He would say the same about us? There is infinite, unending life in the Son’s abundant, irrepressible love.

“This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1Jn. 5:11-13).

Will we keep looking unto this Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our redemption? Will we leave off the half-hearted, indolent seeking for the Saviour from sin, and search for Him with all our heart?

Will we be like Paul and the apostles who were easily worked by the mighty Cleaver of truth, letting the great Physician do His wonderful work of anesthetizing their diseased characters by His beauty and grace, and then quietly cutting away their spiritual cancers and tumors?

Or, will we be seriously unpleasant with the Spirit of the Lord? Will we be complicated and difficult? Will we be difficult to get along with God on an every day basis. Will we allow the devil to make simple, divine things overly complex, or will we argue our self-preserving opinions before God ad infinitum. Will we be rebellious and test God’s patience to the limit? Will we “frustrate the grace of God” (Gal. 2:21), or will we do “despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:29). Will we grumble and complain like the children of Israel did in the wilderness?

Will we be piecework, pleasant and quick to respond to our lessons, for the happiness of our Creator? Or, will we be a rebellious piece of work remaining under the control of the destroyer?


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