It doesn't matter what job you're doing. I don't care where you work. I don't care what your role is at your job.
I don't care how long you've been doing it or how short you've been doing it. I don't care if you hate your job or you love your job. Whatever job you're doing, do it unto the Lord.
No matter what vocation or career we find ourselves in, we can glorify God in our work. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip's son Nate Heitzig shares the one purpose that can help you thrive in your work life. Right now, we want to tell you about a resource that encourages dads everywhere to step up and fulfill their God-given calling.
Your gift to this teaching program has helped us grow, and we want to do more in 2023. This month with your gift of $50 or more, you'll receive a download or DVD of a new critical issues video hosted by Skip, Where's Dad? The problems are clear. Teen crime, drug abuse, youth suicide, abortion, and a host of others. The question is, where's dad? Where's the man of the household when their boys are making life decisions about their treatment of women, their worldview, and their morals?
Why are legions of energetic teens channeling their time towards self-destructive and socially destructive behavior? And where's dad to guide them, to correct them, to be in relationship with them? We realize that single parent families are not exclusively a male issue. Fathers who do not take responsibility for their children are the critical problem. Where's Dad? looks at the problem of missing fathers in the home, tells stories of people who have been impacted by this plague, and looks at the possibilities of reconciliation at any age or stage of life. Get your DVD or download of the full length video, Where's Dad? hosted by Skip Heitzig and featuring Josh McDowell. Receive your copy of Where's Dad?
When you help us expand Skip's teaching with your donation of $50 or more, call 1-800-922-1888, or go to connectwithskip.com to get your copy of Where's Dad? Now we're in Nehemiah chapter three as we join Nate Heitzig for today's message. Did you know that over 70% of our time spent awake is spent in the workplace? 70% of your time spent awake, if you work a normal nine to five job like most people with some overtime, 70% of your time awake is spent in the workplace. And yet our training and teaching tends to focus on areas where we spend much less time. The workplace is the greatest mission field of our day and age.
I really believe this. The workplace is the greatest opportunity that we have to be a reflection of Jesus Christ and to change lives. And yet we don't train business people how to effectively integrate their faith into the workplace.
The wall between Sunday and Monday still exists in a very real fashion for most people. Most business people don't understand that all of life is spiritual. Sometimes we want to relegate our lives and have compartments and say, well, this part of my life is spiritual when I'm at church, maybe how I engage with my family and raise my kids, but work and business is separate. We kind of want to compartmentalize our life into these little areas, but all of life is spiritual.
Not just Sunday, not just when you're at church, all of life. A recent study found that 50% of Christians have never heard a sermon on work. 50% of Christians, 70% have never been taught the theology of work and 70% have never heard a sermon on vocation.
So why do we focus on the fringes rather than at the center where most people spend most of their time, the workplace? I'm sure you've all heard the quintessential quotes in the idioms on work. Thomas Edison said, there's no substitute for hard work. We're all used to hearing the idioms early to bed, early to rise, burn the candle at both ends, work your fingers to the bone. The early bird gets the worm or perhaps the lesser known quote by the esteemed American philosopher, Homer Simpson, kill my boss?
Do I dare live out the American dream? After a while, all the idioms, all the quotes on work, and we hear these a lot. Last week, my dad talked about that famous line that every dad tells their kid at some point, get a job. And we're so used to hearing these little pithy sayings about work. And eventually these quotes can become so monotonous and we can even get to the point where it makes us want to do the opposite of work, which is nothing and just be lazy and just stay home. You know, right now our country is experiencing this more than ever before. We're in the midst of what some people are calling the great resignation.
It's a huge problem right now for our culture. People are having a hard time finding workers. People are quitting.
People are expecting outlandish things when they try to apply for a job. Americans are leaving their jobs in record numbers. As a matter of fact, it's reported that 4.4 million people are quitting their job each month. 4.4 million people each month right now in the United States.
That's up from 3.5 million people a month pre-pandemic. You know, I think the key to enjoying work is by not focusing on the work itself. And we're going to kind of explain what this means tonight. But the key is to not focus on work itself, but rather to focus on the one that you're serving. And I don't mean your boss.
I don't mean the employees or the people who shop at your business or your patrons. I mean Jesus Christ. To focus not on the work itself, but focus on the one that you're doing the work for. Colossians 3 17 says, whatever you do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Let me tell you something tonight before we go any further. It doesn't matter what job you're doing. I don't care where you work. I don't care what your role is at your job.
I don't care how long you've been doing it or how short you've been doing it. I don't care if you hate your job or you love your job. Whatever job you're doing, do it unto the Lord.
Doesn't matter how boring or miserable it is. As long as you're doing it, do it well. As Christians, we understand that part of the base idea of being a believer is that we should show our faith in Christ through everything that we do, and that includes through our work. We know from last week's message, get a job, that work is good. But today in our message titled, get to work, we're going to look at how we as Christians are supposed to work. As important as faith is, faith can only take you so far until you have to do something to enact your faith. We're going to look at the story of Nehemiah who had a great amount of faith. He was a man of prayer. He was a man of very devout faith, and he had faith that Jerusalem would get rebuilt. But as important as that is, it would have done nothing unless the people and him were dedicated to the work that it took to accomplish the goal. Again, we're going to be in Nehemiah 3, and we're going to look at our first point, work with purpose.
But before we dive into our text, we need to understand something. Nehemiah was a man of prayer, but he was a man who was willing to do the work. And the reason I think this is important is because some Christians can get so hyper spiritual, they get bottlenecked with prayer and faith, and they never take any action beyond that. It's that common phrase, some people are so heavenly minded you can't be earthly good. I don't like that phrase because I think we should be heavenly minded, but I think some Christians want to blame everything on their faith. And so they never get anything done.
They never take that next step. They never take that next venture into what God has for them because they're always focused not on actually doing, but just on this hyper spiritual idea that, well, until God tells me verbatim what to do, I'm not going to do anything. Nehemiah was concerned about one thing and one thing only, and that was the glory of God. We find here in our text in Nehemiah 3 that Nehemiah has been on a journey. In chapter one and chapter two, Nehemiah feels this calling from the Lord to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls.
His heart is in anguish because his homeland has been destroyed. The walls of Jerusalem have fallen, and he recognizes that it's a reproach, not just upon the Israelites, but upon God. And so he has this call from God to go back and restore the walls and the gates of Jerusalem.
And so he leaves his job working for the king and he goes to Jerusalem with purpose ready to work. Nehemiah chapter two, verse 17, the chapter before the one we're in tonight, says, let us build up the wall of Jerusalem that we may no longer be a reproach. Nehemiah had a true purpose in building these walls, and it wasn't wealth, it wasn't power, it wasn't popularity.
Nehemiah wanted to go do this work because he wanted to exalt the name of the Lord among all nations. All those around Jerusalem took pleasure in mocking the Lord. In mocking and persecuting the Jews. The Jews were almost like a pun for the people of that day, pointing out their failures, pointing out their destroyed cities. I'm sure the Jews even felt abandoned. After all, if God loved Jerusalem so much, then why were the walls and the gates burned down to the ground?
If God had made a covenant with his people, then why weren't his people thriving in the way that they expected to thrive? And so Nehemiah goes home with a purpose. Glorify God by working hard and rebuilding the walls.
Let's look at the first verse in our text, Nehemiah chapter three, verse one. It says, then Eliashib, the high priest, rose up with his brethren, the priests, and he built the sheep gate. They consecrated it and hung its doors. They built as far as the tower of the hundred, and they consecrated it, then as far as the tower of Hananel.
We see here in the first verse, it says that Eliashib, the high priest, rose up with his brethren, the priests, and built the sheep gate. Now, why is this important? In any understanding of work, it's important to realize that leaders are the ones who have to set the example. And I love that this starts out with a mission. They have a plan. They wanna go out, they wanna build the wall, they wanna restore the city of Jerusalem.
And who's the person on the front line who's doing the work? The high priest. The priests are there doing the work, setting the example. If there was anyone in Jerusalem who should have been working hard, it was the priests.
Why? Because their entire livelihood was built up on serving the God of Israel. And I submit to you that if anyone today should be showing Christian attitude and showing purpose and hard work and should be showing these principles we're talking about, it should be us. It should be Christians. But far too often, Christians are known and can be known in the workplace as the lazy ones or the ones who aren't doing the hard work. And sometimes it's incredible how Christians can pawn off their laziness and their bad work upon the scripture. But if anyone should be setting an example, if anyone should be working with purpose, it's you and me. And sadly, I see people every day that claim to be Christians but act worse than some people who don't even know Christ.
And this is especially true in the workplace. The problem is that the church can become its own worst enemy. As believers, we're called to be an example and set an example to those. But oftentimes, I find believers griping and bickering and complaining and unwittingly falling into one of the most effective satanic traps, his strategy of divide and conquer. We are in danger, Christian, of wasting our energy on insignificant things like quarreling, fault-finding, and disputing.
We're in danger of forgetting that God is at work in us while we spend ourselves in foolish debate and senseless controversy. When you're in the workplace, your purpose, your goal should be to glorify God, not bicker with people about vaccine mandates or politics or what's happening in the news or find these ways to divide. Our purpose in the workplace is to do all that we do unto the glory of God so that the unbelieving world, when they look at our lives in the workplace, they see the hard work, they see the example we're setting, and they say, man, there's something different about those Christians. There's something different about the way they approach work.
There's something different about the way that they conduct themselves. We are on the front lines, and we need to be showing the love of Christ to others. When you're at work as a Christian, you are there to reflect Christ. Sure, you're there to get a job done. Sure, you're there to collect a paycheck and provide for your family. But as a Christian, the chief purpose you have in the workplace is to reflect Jesus Christ.
This should be our motive in our jobs. You know, today in the church, the world either ignores us or mocks us. When you look at the news, when you look at what people say about Christians, they either ignore us and they don't care about what we're doing at all, or they're mocking us and telling us that our views are destructive or hurtful.
There's no middle ground. No one really likes what we're doing by and large. And at times, I'll admit, it can get pretty discouraging, can't it, to hear what's happening in the news, hear the things that are said. It can feel like going to a job and going to a job can be a drain, like oh my gosh, especially now with where we're seeing the country head and it feels like you're being persecuted for different views and different ideas and ideologies. This is why it's so important for Christians to work with purpose. Because if you don't work with purpose, if you don't realize that above all, your job in the workplace is to reflect Christ.
And as long as you're doing that, you're succeeding. If you don't start with that purpose, it's hard to find motivation. It's hard to wake up in the morning. It's hard to go to your job. It's hard to do a good job and be motivated to succeed and be motivated to do what you're supposed to do. It's easier to complain.
It's easier to quit. But when you have purpose, when you recognize every day that you put on your uniform, that you go to your job, no matter what it is, you say, look, I'm going to experience some hatred today. I might experience some mockery today. I might experience some indifference. But at the end of the day, my purpose is to reflect Jesus Christ.
At the end of the day, my purpose is to be a witness for Him. That changes the way that you conduct yourself. It changes the way you work. Let me tell you, it changes the way that people view you at work. It changes the way that they talk about you at work.
It changes the way that they promote you or choose not to promote you. We need to be diligent to the work that's set before us, to the purpose of the work that we are doing. No matter what job you're doing, as a Christian, the purpose of your work is to glorify God. Romans 12 11 says, not lagging in diligence, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. The King James Version phrases that as saying, not slothful in business. Martin Luther said, don't be lazy as to what you ought to do. Now this really is speaking primarily to our service to the Lord, but as a believer, we can extract some application of this and apply it to anything that we do as a believer. No matter what you do as a believer, service to the Lord, your nine to five job, the way you raise your family, the way that you treat your spouse, don't lag in diligence.
Be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Now every dad should get this, right? Because quitters never win and winners never quit.
That's right. Come on somebody. I need some dads to help me preach this message to the next generation because it's okay to fall down as long as you get back up and try again, right? We never quit. We keep pushing.
It's hard. It can be difficult, but we keep pushing, we keep pursuing because spiritual laziness is the cause of spiritual defeat. And if you're experiencing some spiritual defeat in your life, chances are you can root it to some spiritual laziness in your life. You can root it to a lack of purpose. You can root it to that lack of understanding of what you were put on this earth to do, why you have your job in the first place, why you have your family in the first place. When you start with purpose, when you start with that understanding that I have a purpose on this earth and it's more than just a paycheck I collect from a non-believer or a believer, my purpose on this earth is to be a reflection of Jesus Christ, that spiritual fortitude. You know, many Christian men spend more time shaving, brushing their teeth, and pumping iron for physical growth than they do on spiritual growth. I'm not going to let you off, women. Many Christian women spend more time putting on makeup than they do putting on the Lord Jesus Christ.
And unlike the outside, you can actually fix the inside if you try. It doesn't matter how many times you paint the barn, it's still a barn, but Jesus wants to turn your barn into the temple of the living God where the most high can dwell. He wants to pimp your ride. He wants to do a complete home makeover on your life.
He wants to turn your fixer-upper into an MTV crib. But it takes purpose and it takes work and it takes diligence and it takes discipline. And then there's those who use their Christianity as a cloak for poor workmanship and this is something that drives me nuts. General laziness. Have you ever heard a Christian try to hyper-spiritualize their bad work?
I have and it usually sounds something like this. They don't do a good job or what they're doing isn't the work that they're supposed to do and their response is usually something like, well, it's all gonna burn anyways. Okay, so that's an excuse to not do a good job. Or, well, I'm doing it under the Lord so it doesn't matter what people think about what I'm doing. Okay, you're using the truth scripturally to excuse you not doing good work that people can look that you're a Christian and say, yeah, you're doing good work and glorify your Father in heaven. We wanna hyper-spiritualize and sometimes write off our laziness and our poor workmanship, but as believers, we should be the best at what we do. Christians shouldn't be the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to the workforce.
We should be the top. Every employer in the city, when they see that you come in and you say that you're a Christian, they should say, I wanna hire this person. Because I know that as a believer, they're gonna be honest, they're gonna have integrity, they're gonna show up on time, they're gonna work as hard as they possibly can. They're not gonna be prideful or try to be shady about what they're doing, but they're gonna be honest and they're gonna do what they say they're gonna do when they say they're gonna do it. The world should look at Christians and say, man, how can I get more of those people in my workforce?
We should be the best students, the best secretaries, the best deliverymen, the best farmers, the best salesmen, the best whatever. Colossians 3 23 says, whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly as unto the Lord. And as you look at the Old Testament in the building of the temple, you see how there was an anointing from God on the craftsmanship of what they did. Did you realize that there can be an anointing from God upon the work that you do with your hands? We tend to think of an anointing of God coming from the things that we say, we're street witnessing, we're talking to someone about the gospel and God anoints us, but God anoints the work of your hands, your craftsmanship, the labor that you do. There can be an anointing upon that, and the work that you do can actually be a testimony to a non-believing world. God can use the work that you do to bring others to Christ. Exodus 36 two says, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the Lord has put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred to come and do the work. You know, I'm appalled at the shabby second-rate work that's all too often done in the realm of arts by believers.
Does that drive anyone else nuts? Like Christian movies and Christian music, sometimes it's just a cheap imitation and a copy of what the world has to offer. This is why I'm so passionate about Christians in creative arts. Have you noticed that oftentimes we refer to Christian artists by the secular counterpart that they sound like? Well, what kind of music are they? Well, they're like the Christian version of Adele, or the Christian version of Coldplay.
What does that even mean? No, no, Coldplay is Coldplay, Adele is Adele. We should be doing original things that sound original, things that the world wants to imitate. Don't get me started on Christian movies. How many bad Christian movies are there out there? I mean, the message is great, don't get me wrong, but you watch the acting, you watch the production, you watch the movie, you're like, I can't sit through another minute of this.
Which again, it should be the opposite. The art that Christians are making should be such top-notch, top-level, incredible, intricate, thought-out, well-planned, that the world looks at the art that Christians are doing and says, man, how do we be like them? We decry Hollywood and all the junk that they're making us watch, all the junk that they're forcing down our throats, and I agree, a lot of it's trash. We shouldn't be, you know, we should be like them.
We should be free. A lot of it's trash. We shouldn't be consuming it. We shouldn't be indoctrinating our kids with it. But let me tell you, the answer isn't to boycott Hollywood.
The answer is to make better written word, to make better movies, to make more compelling art, to make higher production value, more thought-out media than what we are currently doing. It's why I love things like The Chosen. Look, The Chosen is a good show, whether you believe the message or not. It's just good. It's good TV. It's well done. It's well thought-out.
It's well filmed. We need more Christian art like that. Why should Christian movies and music be looked down upon by the world? We should be the ones being imitated, not vice versa. People should be saying, oh, Coldplay sounds like that Christian band, whatever.
Oh, Adele sounds like that Christian singer, whoever. Christians should be the ones setting the standard. We should be working with purpose. Number two, we should be working with people.
Throughout this entire chapter, chapter three, we see a huge number of names and groups of people, and we observe a profound truth. God uses in his work all kinds of people. And as you get to work, you're inevitably going to work with people. And all of those people are going to work differently. Some people that you work with are going to work really hard. They're going to be great workers.
Some aren't going to work at all. You'll get along with some. Others are going to drive you nuts. But regardless of who you work with, you are called to work hard, and you are called to be an example to all.
That's Nate Heitink with a message from the series Hustle and Grind. Now, we want to let you know about a special opportunity you have to pursue biblical studies in a way that works with your schedule. Personal or small group Bible study is a great way to learn God's Word. But what if you want to learn more?
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