On Strike!

Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. – Acts 15:36-41.

Most of you know what a strike is in a labor dispute. A strike means that a person or a group of people refuse to work to try to obtain something. Usually they want better wages, benefits, or working conditions. There are many strikes going on across the world right now. In Canada, British Columbia’s 38,000 teachers have been off the job since Oct. 7 to protest against class sizes, wages and the loss of their right to strike. Soccer players in Columbia may soon go on strike for better wages. Their annual salaries begin at $2500.00. There is also a hunger strike going on at Guantanamo bay prison facility.

Surprisingly, some people go on strike against God. John Mark went on strike while on Paul’s first missionary journey. No one is for sure as to what happened, because the Bible does not say much about it (Acts 15:38; Acts 13:13). Some think that when the persecution became intense that Mark became afraid, and fled for his safety. But whatever the reason, Paul notes that Mark went not to the work.

What about us? Have we ever gone on strike against God? If we have, it was probably not while we were missionaries in some foreign country like John Mark. Our strikes are more like sick outs, set down strikes, work slowdowns, or the refusing to talk when we are angry kind of thing. Sometimes, we are not even aware that we are on strike against God. So, let us look at some of the symptoms of a spiritual strike.

Here is one symptom: Refusing to talk to God. Or, if we do talk, it is just for a few moments to maintain appearances. It may work with your friend, or your wife, or husband, or boss or your parents; but do you really think that is going to work with God?

Another way we go on strike against God, is by refusing to read His Word, The Bible. Jesus quotes the Old Testament while resisting the devil, and in Matthew 4:4 says that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. And how does faith come? By reading, studying, and hearing the Word of God. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The fact of the matter is this: If you are not reading the Bible on a daily basis, you are on strike! You are on a strike against God.

Here is another common method of striking against God: Refusing to attend church, or if we do, we attend infrequently or only a minimum number of services. We know what the Bible says in Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” We also know what the Bible says in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” So, if you do not want to be where God is, and where God wants you to be as frequently as you possibly can and you are physically able…then, you must be out on strike against God.

Here is another way some are on strike. There are many who may come to church, they may read God’s Word and pray – just don’t ask them to serve, witness, help or do anything else of a tangible nature that involves some kind of action. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) is not the Great Suggestion. No, it is a command and Jesus says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you….” The going, the disciple making, and the teaching was and is for all not just a select few. We are all to be a part of the fulfillment of the Great Commission. If you are not willing to witness, teach, help, serve or do anything of a practical nature to help the Kingdom of God besides warm a pew – then you are on strike!

Are you on a spiritual strike? I do not know why and maybe you do not even know why you went out on strike. I believe, however, if you are honest with yourself you will see that you have just been hurting yourself – You are not hurting God. In addition, you are certainly not impressing God by being on your little strike. God is still the same God. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Is that going to be good enough for you or not?

We do not know how it happened but John Mark ended his spiritual strike because in 2 Timothy 4:11 while Paul is in Rome he writes, “Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.”

In a labor dispute, striking is difficult for the worker and for the company they are striking against. The hope is that the company will give in to their demands and they will soon be back at work. Striking spiritually will not work in that way, because God will not change His Word to suit our personal desires. Striking spiritually, only serves to make life more and more difficult for us. Isn’t it time to end your spiritual temper tantrum, end your strike, and get back to work?

(Some people go on strike against God. Are you on strike? Find out some of the symptoms of a spiritual strike.)

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