This year for my devotional reading, I am reading The Message by Eugene Peterson cover to cover. This morning I finished Ezra and am moving into Nehemiah. Peterson’s into to Nehemiah deals with something I have been trying to put into words for quite some time. Peterson writes:

“Separating life into distinct categories of “sacred” and “secular” damages, sometimes irreparably, any attempt to live a whole and satisfying life, a coherent life with meaning and purpose. Nevertheless the practice is widespread. But when did all these people come up with the habit of separating themselves and the world around them into these two camps? It surely wasn’t from the Bible. The Holy Scriptures, from beginning to end, strenuously resist such a separation.”

Peterson then goes on to talk about the how we look at some work, mostly ministry and missions, as sacred and everything else as secular. Scripture on the other hand shows us God at work in the lives, and work, of people from a multitude of professions and it’s true. All good work can be done to the glory of God. All our interactions with others can be ministry. It’s not our position in life, but the position of our hearts. Are we submitted to God in what we do?

The stories of Ezra and Nehemiah bear this out. As Petersen reminds us:

“[Nehemiah] started out as a government worker in the employ of a foreign king. Then he became-and this is the work tells us of in these memoirs-a building contractor, called to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. His coworker Ezra was a scholar and teacher, working with he Scriptures. Nehemiah worked with stones and mortar. The stories of these two men are interwoven in a seamless fabric of vocational holiness. Neither job was more or less important or holy than the other. Nehemiah needed Ezra. Ezra needed Nehemiah. God’s people needed the work of both of them.

We still do.

Do what ever you do to the glory of God today!

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