What is your typical response to the question “What do you do?” If you’re like me, the first thing that usually comes out of your mouth is your job. I’m working on training myself to respond with something along the lines of being a worker in God’s Kingdom. I want God to use me in my job and in every other aspect of my life to bring glory to him.
It is with that job in mind that I write this article. God has blessed me with a great job as a poultry veterinarian, following in my dad’s footsteps. It’s an opportunity that has brought me to a wonderful place and put me in contact with a ton of terrific people.
Just the other day, I was doing some “celebratory destruction” of an enormous pile of notes that I used to study for my recent board certification exam. It was something that consumed about five months of my life, robbed me of time with my family and of sleep, and caused me an increasing amount of stress and anxiety as test day approached.
<Side note> God has always been faithful to me. One of my struggles is worry—even though I know worrying does more harm than good and is in fact contrary to my faith. I know that he takes care of the sparrows, so of course he takes care of me. I know he wants me to cast my anxieties on him. I know that I should bring everything to him in prayer. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.
But God brought me through, as he always has! And so I was blessed to celebrate! I always did better with reading paper notes, so I’d often print my notes out instead of reading them on the computer. That left me with quite a bit of papers to dispose of…
Wanting to send these things off with a bang, I started off with a little target practice. The stack was probably 10-12 inches or so. 9mm bullets only penetrated about 4-5 inches, but 5.56mm rounds went clean through!
Then I took them to the fire pit. The stack was too thick to burn at once, so I was taking them bit by bit to burn them. As I did that, I was offering a prayer of thanksgiving. I was thanking God for his provision, for bringing me through this stressful time, and for allowing this chapter of school and studying to close. I prayed that he would use my job for his Kingdom and for his purposes. As I prayed that, he showed me that he was there…
I had been just haphazardly grabbing pages and tossing them in the fire, but at this point I happened to glance down and read the page that was currently on top. It was notes on the five basic tenets of animal welfare, known specifically as the “Five Freedoms.” I don’t believe in coincidences. This was a wink from a loving Father. Let me go through the Five Freedoms and show you what I mean.
FREEDOM FROM HUNGER AND THIRST.
- Jesus promised this! We will not be hungry or thirsty with him.
- Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. – John 6:35
- “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” – John 6:54-58
- “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” – Matthew 5:6
FREEDOM FROM DISCOMFORT.
- No discomfort we face in this life is permanent. We are promised an eternal life perfected in Him.
- So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
- “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:10-12
- “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30
FREEDOM FROM PAIN, INJURY, AND DISEASE.
- Similarly, no pain will last. No injury or disease will persist.
- When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. – Isaiah 43:2
- He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces… – Isaiah 25:8
- And no inhabitant will say, “I am sick”; the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity. – Isaiah 33:24
- Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. – 1 Corinthians 15:24-26
- …In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality… – 1 Corinthians 15:50-58
- “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:4
FREEDOM TO EXPRESS NORMAL BEHAVIOR.
- In God’s Kingdom, we are allowed to live as we were truly created to live—humans perfectly reflecting his divine image!
- His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. – 2 Peter 1:3-4
- From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:16-17
FREEDOM FROM FEAR AND DISTRESS.
- What do we have to fear when the Lord is with us? Absolutely nothing. Not even death.
- “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
- …Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me… – Psalm 23
- “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” – Matthew 10:28-31
- “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
- But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled… – 1 Peter 3:14
We have true freedom in Christ, eternal freedom. Come enjoy that freedom today!