Work

Work: Worshipping through my work

WORSHIPPING THROUGH MY WORK

It’s Not Just A Job – Part 1 of 4

Rick Warren

 

I.       GOD’S VIEW OF WORK:

 

Humans were designed to work … Genesis 2:15  The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (NIV)

Later God made women to work with the man (not for the man as some may think!)

 

In God’s plan work is not a punishment. It is a privilege! {The entry of sin into the world made some work into toil!!} That doesn’t mean that all work is unpleasant.

 

If you are a pupil/student, you have to work.  If you’re at home you have to work.  If you’re retired, you still have to work!  Work is much broader that paid employment – if we reduce work to purely economic terms we demean many and their valuable efforts – housewives (husbands),

 

  1. God designed us with talents, gifts and interests that He wants used for His glory.

We are custom made.  There’s nobody like you in the whole world. God custom made you — and He wants you to express those gifts through work. Ephesians 2:10 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)

The Bible says that you are God’s workmanship.  The Greek word there is the word “poema,” from which we get the word poem.  You are God’s poem / work of art / masterpiece.  And He made you to express certain gifts, talents, abilities and interests.  That’s what work’s for.  Work is never just a job for a Christian.  It’s part of God’s plan for your life. Remember Christians are in a sense doubly made – created and re-created in Christ Jesus!!

 

  1. God wants my work to be meaningful, beneficial and fulfilling.

In other words, it’s more than just to put food on the table, it’s more than just a necessary evil, work is meant for good in your life.  Many (esp. in our Western Culture) think that the goal in life is to eventually be able to have enough money so that you can do nothing.  That you work all your life until you work enough to get enough money, then you stop and you do nothing. The word retirement is not in the Bible.  Why is it so many people retire and six months later they die? We were made for meaningful, purposeful, fulfilling work.

3. God wants my work to express what He made me to be.

 

God has given each of us gifts, talents and abilities, and one day He’s going to say, “What did you do with them?”  And if you say, “Well, I spent my life at a job that didn’t use them”

ILLUS.: Remember the parable Jesus told about the Talents / gifts he gave to his servants … He condemned the One who didn’t use what he was given. I suggest that Jesus was angry with the man not because he didn’t make a profit (or possibly even if he had made a loss Jesus would have understood – although we must be careful not to speculate) I seems to me Jesus is angry because the man didn’t bother to even try.

 

  1. If Christ isn’t Lord of my work, then He really isn’t Lord of my life.

 

Many Christians don’t make the connection between Sunday and Monday.  They compartmentalise their life.  They say, “Well, I’ve got a spiritual life and I’ve got a secular life.  My spiritual life involves reading the Bible, praying, going to church and I doing nice things.  That’s my spiritual life.  And that’s over in one compartment.  Then over here is my secular life.  That’s my work, my job, my career, my business decisions, my finances, my pension plan, all these things, that’s my secular life.”

 

BUT God says, “No.  That’s wrong.” All of life is spiritual.  The word secular isn’t in the Bible. God is as interested in your work as He is in your prayers. He’s interested in every area of your life.

ILLUS.: Your relationship to Christ is like marriage.  Marriage is a full time relationship, and so is your relationship with Christ.  How about if I came up to my wife and said, “Darling, I’m going to always act married when I’m at home.”

The fact is, all of life is important to God, and if you’re not a Christian at work, you’re not a Christian in the rest of your life either.

 

  1. For believers, work is to be four things.

Now we’re going to go into these in detail in this series, but just let me give them to you this morning.

  • Work is an act of worship.  You can actually worship through your work.  It’s never just a job, no matter what you do, it’s never just a job if you are a believer.
  • Work is a witness of my faith.  It’s a witness of my relationship with God.  You say, “Well, I don’t talk to people about the Lord at work”  You’re a witness, the question is, if you are a good one or a bad one.  You are a witness.  And it is a witness of your relationship to Christ.
  • Work is to be a ministry to others.
  • Work is a test for eternal rewards.

II.      HOW CAN I WORSHIP GOD THROUGH MY WORK?

 

Now, we’re going to look at each of these in this series.  But briefly in the remaining time –  “How can I worship with my work?”

Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. (NIV)

“Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to His service and pleasing to Him.  This is the true worship you should offer.”  .. the words “offer yourselves” and the words “true worship.”

 

Worship is not just something I do on Sunday.  Worship is something I do with my life.  Worship is anytime I’m expressing my love to God.  Whenever I express my love to God, I’m worshipping. Now that’s good news, because some of us can’t sing. Or preach, or teach, or whatever.  But I can use my hands and I can use my mind and I can work to the glory of God, and it’s just as important.  Now what kind of work worships God?  What is it that transforms work into worship?”

 

Three things:-

 

  1. Work should express the gifts and abilities that God has given me.

 

Most of us have the freedom to choose our work. Many places don’t have the freedom to choose their work. — but we do in the UK – generally speaking.  Ideally we should choose the work that best expresses who God made us to be.

  • If you are good at selling, be a salesman.
  • If you are gifted at teaching, be a teacher.
  • If you are good with numbers, be in engineering or accounting or computers — because God gave you that ability.
  • If you are good with words, writing or speaking, then you need to be involved in something that involves writing or speaking.
  • If you are gifted athletically, you’d better be an athlete.
  • If you’re good at cooking, invite me over!  Because I’m good at eating!

 

On what basis should I choose a career?

On what your parents say?  No, but listen to their advice!

On what peer pressure says?  No.

On what will make me the most money?  No.  None of those are legitimate reasons for choosing a career, a vocation.

 

Romans 12:6 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. (NIV)

Does this principle apply only to “spiritual” gifts??? I think not!

What does God say, Romans 12:6, “So we are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us.”   Notice who gave you those gifts — God. “God has given us.”

God wants me to choose my work on the basis of my gifts.  Do you think God is pleased when He gives you gifts, abilities, interests, motivations — and He gives all these things to you and He makes you this way, and you don’t use them, do you think that pleases God?  No!  No, it doesn’t please God.

 

The fact is, when a creature does what it is meant to do, that brings glory to God.  When a bird sings, it brings glory to God.  Because birds were meant to sing.  When a flower blooms, it’s doing what a flower is supposed to do.  And when a flower does flowery things, it brings glory to God.  When a worm turns over in the ground, and does wormy things, it’s bringing glory to God.  When the tree acts like a tree, it’s being what it was created to be.  It brings glory to God.  And when you be what God wants you to be, you bring glory to God.

 

Many Christians think that God only smiles on them when they are doing “spiritual” things.  When I’m reading my Bible, when I’m praying, when I’m witnessing, then God smiles on me.  They never consider that maybe God smiles on you when you’re closing a business deal and you’re gifted to do it.  When you’re completing a project or developing a new software or creating a new song or teaching a young child or driving a bus safely for other people — God smiles on that.  Because He says, “They’re using the gifts that I gave them.”

 

ILLUS.: The movie Chariots of Fire?  And the runner in that, who’s a Christian – Eric Liddel.  And he says in one point in the movie, “God made me to run.  When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.”

 

Why is it that many, even Christians, don’t feel God’s pleasure in their work?  Are they doing what they were made to do?  Is it because the church is guilty of putting too much emphasis on the spiritual?

OR is it that the world’s standards of commercialism and materialism are too influential in our decision making?

What are the world’s standards?  Find the highest paying job, the best benefits and the easiest work — whether you are gifted for it or not!  Take the promotion!  It’s more money!  That’s called materialism.  Choosing a job for prestige, for power, for money are the wrong motivations.

 

Why don’t most people feel God’s pleasure in their work?

Look at this verse, Rom 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)

Romans 12:2.  “Don’t conform to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind.  Then you’ll be able to know the will of God.”

 

Do you want to be able to know the will of God for your life?  If you’re a believer, I’m sure you do.  Do you want to know God’s will?  It says here how to know God’s will.  It says, Don’t conform to the standards of this world.”

 

Now that includes your job.  What are the world’s standards for jobs?  For the most part, what makes the most money, what’s the easiest to do, what gives me the most prestige? Salary is only one factor – an important one? Yes because we are responsible to provide for ourselves and our family as far as it depends on us!

 

The question is, does it use the gifts God gave me? And so the first way we turn work into worship is to say, “What did God make me to be?  What are my interests? What are my God-given abilities”

 

In an article out of John Asmith’s Reinventing the Corporation.  He says:

“The new [American] work ethic holds that work should be fulfilling and fun; and integrated as a part of whole life planning.  More and more of us believe that work should accomplish a personal or social mission.  Today, work must provide more than just a paycheck.  We want it to express ourselves and our values.  To make a difference in society and to fit harmoniously with the other priorities — family, health and spirituality.”

 

Where did he get an idea like that?  God.  It’s built into you, a desire to express what God made you to be.

The BIG BUSINESS GOSPEL in the 1980’s was more money, more power, less sleep.  But devotion to work collided with personal lives and now they’re writing a new chapter in corporate history — “How to Take a Step Down the Ladder.”

Some people with high-flying, high-paying jobs are beginning to question if it s all worth it. Some are stepping down the ladder .. (Usually they can afford to!!)

 

Choosing a career based on giftedness may mean turning down more money or promotion.  And the first step we need to take is some self-appraisal.  We need to ask yourself, “What did God make me to be?”  Notice this verse, Romans 12:3,  “…try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you.”

Romans 12:3  For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (NIV)

 

God does not expect you to glorify Him with gifts you don’t have.  But He does expect you to glorify Him with gifts you do have.

 

Now this raises some questions, “What if my current job doesn’t express my gifts?”

“What about work that needs to be done but doesn’t express my gifts, but, you know, just has got to be done?”  Any housewife knows what I’m talking about.

The fact is every job, even the ones you are suited for has onerous parts to it, has distasteful, non-enjoyable, mundane parts.  Every job has parts to it that you don’t like.  But you can still worship God through it.  And I would suggest you adopt the attitude of “Well, maybe this job that I’m in right now is a phase of my life and I’m not going to be here the rest of my life–but it is where I am now, therefore I will worship God right now.”  How do you do that?  By the other two ways you transform work into worship.

 

  1. By working as though I’m working for God. 

 

Colossians 3:23-24:  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord, and not for men.  Remember, the Lord will reward you… For Christ is the real Master you serve.”

No job is too small, no job is too menial, no job is too insignificant when you have the right motive and perspective for it.  “I’m doing it for God, I’m doing this job as if I’m doing it for the Lord.”

There are two characteristics of doing work for the Lord.

 

  • Excellence. If I’m doing my work, not for the boss, but I’m doing it really for the Lord, first I do it with excellence.  That means I give it the best shot–I do the best I can because I’m not doing it for anybody else, I’m doing it for God’s approval.  So I do it with excellence — the best I can be. Balance with time esp. if you are a perfectionist

 

  • Enthusiasm. Because I’m not just doing it for my boss, BUT for God also –therefore, I do it with a cheerful attitude. Romans 12:11 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. (NIV)

Another translation… “Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically.” By working as if I’m working for the Lord.  There’s one other way you can transform your work into worship.

 

 

 

  1. By having love as my number one motive for work.

 

1 Corinthians 16:14 14 Do everything in love. (NIV)

Notice 1 Corinthians 16:14 “Do all (not some) {your work} …  in love.”

1 Corinthians 13:3 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (NIV)

“If I have no love, I achieve precisely nothing.”

Any job, … {not quite any as some jobs would not be compatible with God’s will –e.g. jobs that exploit people pornographic industry etc…} any legitimate job / task whether pay or unpaid, can be turned into worship when I model Christ’s love in it, to my co-workers, my clients and my customers.

 

Mother Teresa said, “It’s not what you do so much that matters, but how much love you put into it.”

Someone said “When love and skill come together, expect a masterpiece” – John Rushcan

 

A prayer for every day this week.  When you get up to work, whether it’s at home or at school, in your garden or at an office or wherever, job site–I want you to say, “Father, today I want to worship you through my work.  I want to express my gifts, I want   to do it as if I’m doing it for You and I want to do it in love.”

 

WORSHIPPING THROUGH MY WORK

 

I.   GOD’S VIEW OF WORK:

 

  1. God designed us with talents, gifts and

interests that he wants used for His glory

 

 

  1. God intends our work to be

meaningful, beneficial and fulfilling

 

 

  1. God wants our work to express what he

made us to be

 

  1. If Christ isn’t Lord of my work, then he

isn’t really Lord of my life

 

5.   For believers, work is to be:

 

      – An act of worship

 

      – A witness of my faith

 

      – A ministry to others

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. HOW CAN I WORSHIP GOD THROUGH

MY WORK?

 

  1. By using the gifts and abilities God has given me.

 

  1. By working as though I’m working for

the Lord.

 

  1. By having love as a primary motive for

my work.

 

 


Readings

Genesis 2:15

            15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (NIV)

 

Ephesians 2:10 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)

 

Romans 12:1-3

            1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual [RESONABLE] act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.

            3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (NIV)

 

Proverbs 18:9

            9 One who is slack in his work

                        is brother to one who destroys. (NIV)

 

Colossians 3:23-24 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (NIV)

 

1 Corinthians 13:3 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (NIV)

 

1 Corinthians 16:14 14 Do everything in love. (NIV)

 

 

            

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