The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. (Psalm 145:9)
I was talking with a friend recently who explained how he felt called by God to quit podcasting because of how much anxiety it was causing him.
Every one of this guy’s friends was telling him that he needed the podcast to grow his business. But he shut down the show anyway. And then, his business exploded.
Reflecting on this series of events, my friend said, “It just goes to show that God rewards doing business his way.”
“Ummmmm, not so fast,” I said.
I went on to lovingly explain to my friend that it may be true that God’s blessing was tied to what he perceived to be an act of faithfulness. But not necessarily. While there are certainly eternal rewards tied to working “as unto the Lord” (see Colossians 3:23-24), temporal rewards are not always connected to our righteousness. To quote my college statistics professor, “Correlation does not imply causation.”
Because, as we’ve seen throughout this series on common grace, God gives good gifts to “the righteous and the unrighteous” (see Matthew 5:45). That truth has a number of practical implications for our work including this: Common grace forces us to decouple our success from our faithfulness.
If, in the words of today’s passage, “the Lord is good to all” and not just the faithful, then my friend can’t connect his success to his obedience. Because there are plenty of people not working “as unto the Lord” who are succeeding by the world’s standards every day!
The same is true for you and me. If you get a promotion today or land a new customer, it’s not necessarily because you’ve had a consistent quiet time this month. And conversely, if you don’t land that promotion, it’s not necessarily because you forgot to tithe on Sunday. Remember, Job was “blameless and upright” (see Job 1:1) and yet he lost everything both personally and professionally!
Common grace reminds us that God doesn’t do good to us because we are good to him. He does good to us because he is good. May that truth lead you to follow his ways as you work today—not so that he will bless you, but because he created and redeemed you for his glory.