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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Trust God Will Use You

Work Construction

I just finished preaching a series over the Genesis 1-12. In the last chapter — Genesis 12 — we encountered Abram (Abraham). He is a great example of someone who had to trust that God would use him.

Abraham’s Hindrance

Remember the promise God made Abraham — to make him into a great nation. That is a great promise to hear and believe if you already have a large family of 10 kids.

However, consider Abraham, he is 75 years old and doesn’t have any children. In Genesis 11:30, the text tells us:

… Sarai was barren; she had no child.” (Gen. 11:30).

Sarai’s barrenness wasn’t for lack of trying. Abraham and Sarai weren’t late bloomers who married later in life, nor did they use birth control. In fact, according to Jewish custom, they probably had been married since they were 13 or 14, which means they had been trying to have kids for 60 years without any success.

So when God told Abraham that a great nation would come from Him, he had to really trust that the Lord would use he and his wife, because so far they hadn’t produce one child, let alone an entire nation.

Our Hindrances

In the same way we have to trust that the Lord will use us to advance His Kingdom. Trusting the Lord to use us sounds a lot easier than it really is. There are a lot things that have the potential to hinder us from believing God will use us to bring another to faith in Jesus.

(1) For some that might be your knowledge of God’s Word. Maybe you don’t believe you know enough to talk with someone else about the gospel, or you are concerned you won’t be able to answer their objections.

(2) For others that might be your past. Maybe your past was hard and difficult. You were known as a trouble maker. Maybe you even spent some time in jail. Now you can’t imagine that anyone would listen to you.

(3) Still for others it might be your ability to connect with others. Maybe you are different than those you live around and you can’t imagine how God could use you to speak into their lives.

These are the end-all-be-all of hindrances. There are many other things that may hinder us from believing God will use us to expand His kingdom.

Believing You Can’t Be Used is a Lie

However, believing you can’t be used by God to further His kingdom is a lie. Starting in 1 Corinthians 1:27 Paul writes,

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Cor. 1:27-29)

You see, if God saves us, He will use us. No matter what abilities we possess, or what we have done. God will use us. So don’t doubt. Instead, trust that God will use you to further His kingdom.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you trust that God will use you to further His kingdom?

Resources

Post adapted from the sermon: God’s Reclamation Project

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