1. Encourage them to joyfully trust God’s good purposes for their time of trial (yesterday’s post).
2. Encourage them to be diligent to pursue every avenue of ethical employment and yet wait on the Lord.
God has a very high view of work. In fact, He was the first worker (Gen. 1:1) and ordained, before the curse of sin, that we too should be hard workers (Gen. 2:15). Even though work is tainted and made more difficult by the curse (Gen. 3:17), it has been redeemed byChrist. Believers are now God’s “workmanship, created inChrist Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). Therefore, if anyone in the world should possess a strong work ethic it should beChristians.
Believers have the unique advantage of working for men with the knowledge that ultimately they are working for God and His glory. Colossians 3:23-24 tells us, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the LordChrist whom you serve.” Therefore, as believers we should strive to be the most hardworking, best-spirited employees at our place of employment and thereby love our neighbor by faithfully serving our employer.
Yet a commitment to excellence in performing work, and in pursuing work, needs to be coupled with a calm, confident trust in the Lord lest we fret (Ps. 46:10). Isaiah gives two wonderful promises to those who wait on the Lord.
Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary (Isaiah 40:31).
For from of old they have not heard nor perceived by ear, neither has the eye seen a God besides Thee, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him (Isaiah 64:4).
To wait on the Lord is not the same as sitting idle and is certainly no excuse for laziness (the Scriptures are replete with warnings against idleness). Waiting on the Lord involves actively trusting Him, that His provision for our needs will be sufficient as we carry out our responsibilities. Waiting on the Lord involves resting in His faithfulness to fulfill His promises. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord” (Ps. 27:14).
As we trust the Lord, He goes to work for us (Isa. 64:4).
3. Encourage them to seek first the kingdom of God, trusting that every other area of life will then fall into its proper place and perspective.
It is common for those who are unemployed to struggle with worry. But it is supernatural to be filled with the peace of God when outside circumstances are uncertain. This peace will come to those who reflect on the teachings and promises of Jesus found in Matthew 6:24-33.
Unemployment provides a unique opportunity to wean us from the comforts of our culture of affluence and compel us to love God more than money so that we will trust Him more than our earthly forms of security. Only then will worry dissipate from our minds. Seeking God through more extended times of prayer and meditation on His Word will renew our minds and fill our hearts with the peace that passes human understanding (Phil. 4:6-7).