How Should Christians Work? – Part 5

Work, it’s something we do a lot of. I am not sure if you have ever figured it up, but on a 40 hour work week, you will spend over 2,000 hours a year working. Over 30 years that amounts to roughly 62,000 hours or 2,600 straight days at work. I think it is safe to say that work is a big part of our lives.

Work is also a necessary part of our lives because without work we wouldn’t survive. We have to pay for the place live, the food we eat, the car we drive, the clothes we wear, and the things we do. So work is not only a big part of our lives, it’s a necessity.

Since we work so much, and retirement is far away for most of us, it’s important we have a biblical understanding of work.

How Should Christians Work?

(5) As Christians, employers must recognize they are ultimately accountable to God

In the second half of verse 1 of chapter 4, Paul says this,

“…knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.” (Col 4:1b)

Just as employees are accountable to God and should work for Him, so should employers. They too have a master in heaven that they are answerable to. Knowing they are accountable to God should drive how they treat and interact with their employees.

Conclusion

So as we have seen, work is a big part of our day and life. We are going to spend at least 62 thousand hours working. As Christians, we can’t separate our church life from our work life. They two have to be one. We have to allow the Bible to influence the way we work.

While we don’t have time in this post to cover all the ways the Bible should influence our work, applying these five ideas are a good start.

Question for Reflection

  1. Are you working from a Christian perspective?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon How Should We Work from a Christian Perspective?

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How Should Christians Work? – Part 4

Work, it’s something we do a lot of. I am not sure if you have ever figured it up, but on a 40 hour work week, you will spend over 2,000 hours a year working. Over 30 years that amounts to roughly 62,000 hours or 2,600 straight days at work. I think it is safe to say that work is a big part of our lives.

Work is also a necessary part of our lives because without work we wouldn’t survive. We have to pay for the place live, the food we eat, the car we drive, the clothes we wear, and the things we do. So work is not only a big part of our lives, it’s a necessity.

Since we work so much, and retirement is far away for most of us, it’s important we have a biblical understanding of work.

How Should Christians Work?

(4) As Christians, we must treat our employees as we would want to be treated 

In the first part of verse 1 of chapter 4, Paul says this:

“Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly…” (Col 4:1a)

Part of treating others as we would want to be treated is for us to treat others fairly, giving them their due. Employers aren’t to rip their employees off. They work for an agreed upon wage and benefits, which should be given in a timely manner.

As well this means you should provide your employees with adequate working conditions. I recently read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. It is about what was happening in the meatpacking industry at the turn of the 20th century. One of the major things Sinclair highlights in the book is the horrible working conditions. Many were required to work in extreme heat and cold without adequate ventilation, light, or drainage. All that was so their employer could make more profits.

While profits are important, they can’t be our only focus. We also have to focus on our employees. We have to give them what they need to do their job and provide for their families.

Treating others as we would want to be treated also means that we don’t motivate with guilt or coercion. We wouldn’t want anyone to do that to us, so we shouldn’t do it to others.

Really when we use guilt or coercion to motivate others, what we show them is that we don’t really care about them, we just care about what we can get out of them, which is no way to treat our employees.

Instead, We are to think of our employees as people, not just worker bees. The people who work for us are just that — people. They aren’t machines assigned to do a task. They are people whom we have hired to work alongside us. They have families, interests, ideas, and feelings. If we are going to be a good employer, we must recognize that and try to cultivate a relationship as time and money allows.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you treat others as you would want to be treated?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon How Should We Work from a Christian Perspective?

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How Should Christians Work? – Part 3

Work, it’s something we do a lot of. I am not sure if you have ever figured it up, but on a 40 hour work week, you will spend over 2,000 hours a year working. Over 30 years that amounts to roughly 62,000 hours or 2,600 straight days at work. I think it is safe to say that work is a big part of our lives.

Work is also a necessary part of our lives because without work we wouldn’t survive. We have to pay for the place live, the food we eat, the car we drive, the clothes we wear, and the things we do. So work is not only a big part of our lives, it’s a necessity.

Since we work so much, and retirement is far away for most of us, it’s important we have a biblical understanding of work.

How Should Christians Work?

(3) As Christians, our work must be done wholeheartedly

Look at what Paul says in verses 23-25,

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.” (Col 3:23–25)

What Paul tells us here is that we must give the work we do our all. That idea reminds me of a book that Camden had around Christmas time. It was entitled Pete the Cat Saves Christmas. There is a consistent refrain in the book that goes like this: Give it your all; Give it your all; At Christmas we give, so give it your all.

While it is good to teach our kids that they are to give it their all, that is something we have to remember as well. We are to give it our all. We aren’t to slack off. We aren’t to cut corners. We aren’t to do sloppy work as a way to get back at our company. We are to give it our all 100% of the time because we aren’t working for men; we are working for the Lord. So no matter how things are going at work. How the company is treating us. We are to give our all at all times.

We can give it our all no matter the situation because our ultimate reward and inheritance come from the Lord. We can count on God paying us our inheritance, instead of withholding it from us like an employer might do. As well as we can count on God paying the wrongdoer back for the way they have treated us. We, then, don’t have to seek vengeance. Vengeance is the Lord’s.

So no matter the situation, we are to give it our all, working wholeheartedly for the Lord.

Question for Reflection

  1. When you work, do you give it your all?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon How Should We Work from a Christian Perspective?

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How Should Christians Work? – Part 2

Work, it’s something we do a lot of. I am not sure if you have ever figured it up, but on a 40 hour work week, you will spend over 2,000 hours a year working. Over 30 years that amounts to roughly 62,000 hours or 2,600 straight days at work. I think it is safe to say that work is a big part of our lives.

Work is also a necessary part of our lives because without work we wouldn’t survive. We have to pay for the place live, the food we eat, the car we drive, the clothes we wear, and the things we do. So work is not only a big part of our lives, it’s a necessity.

Since we work so much, and retirement is far away for most of us, it’s important we have a biblical understanding of work.

How Should Christians Work?

(2) As Christians, our work must be done with a dependence on God 

When we truly depend on God, trusting Him to supply our needs, we don’t have to be people pleasers. We can not only be genuine, but we can also keep our hands clean. We don’t need sketchy side deals to make things happen or take care of our family because we know that the Lord will provide.

Nor do we have to work ourselves to death. When we depend on the Lord, we can enjoy a work-life balance. Which means we can actually take a Sabbath, spend time with our family, and enjoy a vacation.

As well as depending on the Lord means we can pick a career that suits our God-given gifts. A lot of times people don’t do this. Instead, they pick a career based on the money they can potentially make.

That is why I chose sales as a career right out of college. But there was only one problem with the career I had chosen, I wasn’t all that great at it. While I like talking to and meeting new people, I don’t like to impose upon people’s day. As well as I am not all that great at small talk. I do it from time to time because it allows me to get to know people, but I don’t really like it. In sales, you have to do both of those things a lot — you have to impose upon people and you have to be a good small talker.

So while sales promised me the potential to make a lot of money, it didn’t work for me because it didn’t play to my strengths. It didn’t play to my God-given gifts. As you can imagine, I wasn’t really good at it, and I was miserable doing it.

But here is the thing, when we depend on God to meet our needs, we are free to take positions that allow us to use our gifts, even if they aren’t lucrative careers.

As you all know, pastors don’t make a lot of money, but I have to tell you, our family doesn’t want for anything. All our basic needs and more are taken care of. I attribute that 100% to the Lord. He has worked things out in ways that only He could so that we are taken care of and are able to serve Him in the way that He desires.

God taking care of you doesn’t just hold true for pastors, but everyone. I believe if we depend on the Lord, answering His call for our lives, the Lord will provide for us so that we can use the gifts He has given us. Now that doesn’t mean that you are going to be rich, just because you answer the Lord’s call. The gifts the Lord has given you may not amount to a lucrative career. So you might need to rethink your standard of living. But even if a lucrative career isn’t in store for you, I believe you will be happier, and I believe you can count on the Lord to provide for your basic needs.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you depend on God, even when it comes to work?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon How Should We Work from a Christian Perspective?

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How Should Christians Work? – Part 1

Work, it’s something we do a lot of. I am not sure if you have ever figured it up, but on a 40 hour work week, you will spend over 2,000 hours a year working. Over 30 years that amounts to roughly 62,000 hours or 2,600 straight days at work. I think it is safe to say that work is a big part of our lives.

Work is also a necessary part of our lives because without work we wouldn’t survive. We have to pay for the place live, the food we eat, the car we drive, the clothes we wear, and the things we do. So work is not only a big part of our lives, it’s a necessity.

Since we work so much, and retirement is far away for most of us, it’s important we have a biblical understanding of work.

How Should Christians Work?

(1) As Christians, our work should always be genuine

One of the first long-term jobs I had out of college was at a staffing company. I began working for them in Atlanta and ended up moving to Dallas to help open a satellite office. I didn’t move to Dallas alone. Four other people from the corporate office moved with me. Everyone who moved to Dallas had done really well in the Atlanta office, which only makes sense, after all, you aren’t going to trust your brand new satellite office to those who are having a hard time with sales or recruiting at the Corporate office.

Our new office looked promising. There, however, was just one problem, no one was appointed as the head of the office. Instead, a bunch of twenty-somethings was thrown in an office half-way across the country and told to work without any oversight. While it wasn’t a total bust, most of us worked hard, there was one guy in our office who didn’t. It is not that he didn’t do anything. He made a few obligatory calls, participated in our daily office meetings, made sure I was working on the few jobs he had pulled in, but the rest of the day he watched videos on his computer, talked to his friends on the phone, and joked around with people in the office. That was his daily routine until one of the executives from the Atlanta office came out to check on things.

When the executives were there, his work ethic picked up 100%. He was on the phone all day setting meetings, pulling in jobs for me to work on, as well as he made it a point to talk up all that he had done in the office, or was supposed to be doing. You see, his goal was to be head of the office in Dallas. He knew if he wanted that position, he had to impress the executives, which is exactly what he set out to do, but only when they were there and they could see him.

Now, the way he worked is the exact opposite of how Paul calls Christians to work in Colossians 3. In verse 22 he says,

Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.” (Col 3:22)

According to Paul, we aren’t just to work hard when our bosses are watching. Instead, we are to work with “sincerity of heart“. In other words, what our boss sees when in the office should be what they can expect when they are out of the office. Our work, then, should always be genuine.

Our genuine work should be driven by our fear of the Lord. When the Bible talks about fearing God what it means is that we are to live in awe and wonder of Him, that we are to have an intense love and respect for Him. Those things should be what drives us to work well.

When we allow the fear of the Lord to drive our work, people will see a difference in the way we work. They won’t just see us doing things for attention, accolade, or promotion, like many of their co-workers, or even themselves. Rather they will see us as genuine. People appreciate people who are genuine, even if they aren’t genuine themselves.

Being genuine not only pleases God, but it also opens up a conversation with others about why we work the way we work. It gives us an opportunity to tell other people about Jesus. How He has changed our heart, and how that has affected our work.

So as Christians, our work should always be genuine. We shouldn’t seek to please man, but God.

Question for Reflection

  1. Is your work genuine?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon How Should We Work from a Christian Perspective?

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How do we lovingly guide our members away from false teaching?

From personal experience, I have found that many church members aren’t discriminate about the preaching to which they listen or the books they read. With so many indiscriminate readers and listeners, we are bound to see many of our fellow members following false teachers, most of which are doing so unknowingly. Not only is this dangerous for their spiritual lives, but for our churches as well. We, however, aren’t to allow those who are indiscriminate to continue to be indiscriminate, nor are we to allow those who we know are digesting false teaching to continue. As pastors and church members, we have a responsibility to lovingly guide them away from error.

How do we lovingly guide our members away from false teaching?

(1) Teach the gospel

If we want our members to discriminate on the teaching to which they subscribe, whether that be a popular radio preacher, best-selling author, or blogger, we have to make sure they know the gospel like the back of their hand. As well as they must know how it applies to all of life. The only way this will happen is if you have a thoroughly gospel-centered ministry. Without rewriting what I have already written, let me just say that one element of a thoroughly gospel-centered ministry is gospel-centered teaching.

Preaching the gospel is no less than telling someone how they are saved, but it is much more than that as well. The gospel has many dimensions, much like a diamond has many facets. It is our job to expose those facets as we teach. As well as it is our job to make sure the gospel informs our application, not works, shame, or guilt.

As we teach the gospel week in and week out, our people should not only come to understand the basic idea that Jesus died for our sin but also how it applies to all of life. Members who have a deep understanding of the gospel should have red flags going up all over the place when they hear or read something that is remotely contrary to what they know to be the gospel.

So one way we can guide our people away from false teaching is through a consistent diet of gospel-centered teaching. Apart from consistently teaching the gospel, there are other things we can do to lovingly guide members away from false teaching.

(2) Provide access and knowledge of biblical resources

If we want our people listening to and reading thoroughly biblical resources, we have to provide them with those resources. One thing I have done on my church’s website and my personal blog is to provide a list of trusted books and authors. On my personal blog, I have also placed links to other blogs/authors I trust. We don’t currently have the resources at my current church to do the following, but other churches I have attended in the past ran a church bookstore, as well as they recommended books each month in the church bulletin. Still another way to expose your people to good resources is to give them away. Set a stack of free books out for the congregation to take. If you do that, you may want to do what one of my former pastors did and make it known that if you take a free book, you are agreeing to be asked about it.

Those are just a few ideas for getting good resources in the hands of your congregation. Hopefully, if you can get them reading your recommendations, they will grow in their ability to discern false teaching. As well as if you can fill their reading list with your recommendations, the time they have to read other things will be limited or non-existent.

(3) Listen and correct

One practice I have found helpful in confronting ideas garnered from false teaching is to listen and correct. As pastors and teachers, it is easy for us to do all the talking, but one thing we must learn to do is listen to what others are actually saying. If we listen, we can then correct them.

When we correct, we shouldn’t do it in a condescending or negative way, but rather with love and patience. When I am in conversation with someone and they say something questionable, I usually say something like, “I am not so sure about that, or I don’t really agree with that idea. Here is what I believe the Bible says about that…” Or if someone brings up a known false teacher, I am sure to let them know my concern with that person. In order to do that, however, we have to be clued into the popular false teachers and know why we disagree with them.

(4) Provide a book review

Providing a book review is another helpful way to address false teaching. I have found Tim Challies (challies.com) to be an excellent source for book reviews, especially on popular level books currently influencing Christian culture. Don’t be afraid to share these reviews with members. After sharing, don’t forget to follow up. A review alone isn’t enough. We also need to gather their thoughts and discuss the main difficulties with the book.

(5) Use social media

Almost everyone I know has a social media account. Social media can be an effective tool for communication and teaching if used properly. In an effort to do just that, I make it a point to post on my church’s Facebook feed weekly. My posts generally cover three broad categories. Some I use to teach and challenge, others are for encouragement, while others are used to inform. I find that to be a good mixture. As well as I try to spread those posts out over the week, which you can easily do by scheduling posts right from your church’s Facebook feed.

(6) Confront

As fellow Christians, it’s important we confront those affected by false teaching with the truth of God’s Word. When we do this, we must go with our Bible’s open, ready to share God’s teaching on the matter. What we think doesn’t matter, as much as what God thinks, so we must confront with God’s Word open in love with much patience.

(7) Pray

Along with providing a steady diet of gospel-centered teaching, a list of resources, correction, book reviews, articles posted on social media, and loving confrontation we must pray and trust the Holy Spirit to work. I say that because it is ultimately the Holy Spirit who draws people away from false teaching and to the true gospel, not us. We can help, but the Holy Spirit must convict and cause a person to repent.

(8) Remove

The above has assumed the person being addressed has indiscriminately subscribed to false teaching. But what about those who haven’t? What about those who are actively spreading false teaching in your congregation? I believe the only option we have when it comes to false teachers, whether they are doing the teaching, or knowingly and actively spreading another’s teaching, is to remove them from any sort of leadership role while making the congregation aware of the false teaching they have shared and its corrective.

If they are not a teacher but are still actively and knowingly spreading false teaching in the congregation, we need to first approach them and ask them to stop. We also need to approach those members with whom they have shared that teaching and provide a corrective. If after approaching them, they refuse to repent and stop spreading false teaching, we must remove them from the congregation by means of church discipline. This may seem harsh, but it is our responsibility to protect the sheep from roaming wolves, which seek to devour.

Question for Reflection

  1. Are there any other ways you would deal with false teaching in your congregation?

Resource

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