We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. Hebrews 6:12 (NIV)
When I first did some financial planning 20 years ago, as my career began, I was asked at what age I wanted to retire. I thought I wanted to retire at 50 or 55. Now, at age 49, that seems absurd. What would I do with myself? I’m still (relatively) young and healthy. I do complain sometimes on Monday morning that I have to go to work, but I can’t imagine not having a job to go to. It’s just part of my life. Going to work is normal and necessary. Work isn’t something I do for a few years and then simply stop because I don’t want to go anymore. My work gives me purpose and allows me to earn a paycheck doing something that I feel God wants me to do. To simply quit, while I can work, would be lazy.
Most of us comprehend this when it comes to our vocation. We understand that we must get up and go to work for most of our lives. This is normal to us, and it should be. According to today’s passage though, we should have a similar view of our faith and recovery. In the passage, the author said that we must not become lazy in our faith. Our relationship with God is something we’re meant to work at every day. Daily we’re supposed to go to him, asking what he wants of us. Then, we must do it, even if it requires hard work. Faith isn’t something we do once and then retire. Faith is daily action, learning to pursue the new life in all our decisions.
You can see a good example of this in those who’re seeking recovery. Early on, the one addicted to drugs or alcohol will be so miserable that he’s willing to change everything. He surrenders his will to God, and he makes radical decisions to pursue the new life. Eventually though, as the misery abates and life returns to normal, he becomes apathetic. If he relapses, he can look back and see that he retired from the work of recovery. What he needed to do was continually work on recovery for the rest of his life, pursuing God’s way instead of his own. Recovery and faith go hand in hand and are meant to be actively pursued daily for the rest of our lives. These aren’t jobs from which we retire.
If we want the new life, we must daily work towards it. When we stop, we slide back to the old life. Just like our vocation, faith is meant to be something we work on every day.