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When Work Becomes an Idol - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
November 25, 2022 5:00 am

When Work Becomes an Idol - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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November 25, 2022 5:00 am

Work can become an idol, interrupting the priority of God in your life. In the message "When Work Becomes an Idol," Skip shares how you can cultivate healthy boundaries in your work life.

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While yes, we admire people who build and work and watch, again, do not confuse activity with accomplishment. You could be worshipping your work. Learn to leave your work at work and not take it home. Somebody said blessed is the one who is too busy to worry in the daytime and too sleepy to worry at night.

Overwork can affect your personal life, family relationships, and even your health. Today on Connect with Skip Hyten, Skip shares how you can build a healthier, more life-giving relationship with your work. Before we begin, we want to let you know about a resource that shares hope for our nation by calling on dads everywhere to step up and lead. Welcome to Connect with Skip. Where's Dad?

Where's Dad? Okay, we're in Psalm 127 as we join Skip Hyten for today's study. Who built the temple again? Who built the house of the Lord?

Who did the construction? Solomon. And when Solomon built it, he dedicated it. And he had a long prayer of dedication. It comes to us in the book of 1 Kings Chapter 8 and 9. You don't have to turn there.

I'm going to throw this again up on the screen so you can see it. But I want to read something to you that God told Solomon after Solomon prayed after the temple was built. He said, Oh Lord, please watch over this house and watch over this city. And so God answered him. This is 1 Kings Chapter 9.

It says, The Lord appeared to Solomon a second time as he appeared to him at Gibeon. And the Lord said to him, I've heard your prayer and your supplications that you have made before me. I have sanctified this house which you have built to put my name there forever.

And my eyes and my heart will be there perpetually. Now, if you walk before me as your father David walked in integrity of heart and uprightness to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep my statutes and my judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever as I promised David your father, saying, You shall not fail to have a man sit on the throne of Israel. But if you or your sons at all turn from following me and do not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them. And this house which I have sanctified for my name will be cast out of my sight. Israel will be a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And this house will be exalted, yet everyone who passes by it will be astonished and will hiss and say, Why has the Lord done thus to this and that house?

And they will answer, Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt and have embraced other gods and worshiped them and served them, therefore the Lord has brought all this calamity on them. Look, you guys are good to go. This temple you built, thank you for building it. Yep, I'm going to be here with you perpetually. I'm looking after you. But if you turn or your sons turn away from me, deal's off.

Deal's off. See, what's interesting about all this is if you go to Israel, you can find archaeologists have found what they call Solomon's Gate. When Solomon built cities, it's like he wanted to make sure that what he built would be guarded with his own human efforts. So he built a gate. It's called the Solomonic Gate. It's four interlocking gates with chambers in between each gate. So if an enemy can breach the first gate, he's now trapped between gate number one and gate number two with soldiers stationed on each side shooting arrows or pouring oil on top of your head.

And you have to do that three times to get into the city. It was almost a fail-safe, he thought, protection measure. But what happened historically? What happened is Solomon turned his heart away from God and later on the kings that followed after him, him forsook the Lord completely. You know what happened? God stopped guarding the city. He withdrew his protection from the city he made a covenant with. And we know what happened.

586 B.C., the Babylonians came in, burned the city with fire and destroyed the temple and took the people captive to Babylon. So moral of the story is this. If God is defending you, no worries. If God is not defending you, nothing you do will help.

Right? So you want to make sure God's on your side. Actually, you want to make sure you're on God's side. That's a better way to put it. God, I hope you're on my side. We do that in football, football games. We pray for our team. That's dumb.

I don't think he cares all that much about football. I don't even know why I'm using that as an illustration. So let's just scrap that. You want to make sure you're on God's side. Now, nobody knew this better than King Hezekiah. I know I'm giving you a lot of history today, but that's okay.

I think you're up for it. King Hezekiah followed Solomon, one of the sons of Solomon, the progeny of Solomon. King Hezekiah was the 13th king of Judah.

The people had gone up and down in terms of idolatry. During Hezekiah's reign, an enemy came and surrounded Jerusalem. Hezekiah was hoping the Lord was guarding the city, but he was not sure because the Assyrian army under Sennacherib was a powerful invading army. All the other nations it had come against fell, and now they're at the gates of the city. So the general of the Assyrian army stands in front of the walls of the city of Jerusalem, starts lipping off and mouthing off to King Hezekiah and to the people who are guarding the city. And he says, what confidence is this in which you trust? If you say we trust the Lord our God, has any of the gods of the nations delivered its land from the hand of the king of Assyria? In other words, we have a perfect track record. Every nation we invade falls to us.

You're next. Well, King Hezekiah hears this, tears his clothes, puts ashes on his head. It's a thing they did back then to show that they were humble. Humbled himself, went into the house of the Lord, the temple, and prayed, cried out to God, please God, we're sorry, we repent, we've sinned against you. Isaiah the prophet came to him and said, God has heard your prayer and God will deliver you, protect the city.

And he did. He guarded the city. And the Bible tells us in both 1 Kings 19, or 2 Kings 19, and Isaiah chapter 37 that the angel of the Lord went through the camp of the Assyrians and killed 185,000 in one night. 185,000 were dead. Any of you remember the show in the 1990s called Touched by an Angel?

Remember that show? Well, this would be called Punched by an Angel. This is what happens when one angel is after you.

185,000 were dead. So God guarded the city. Now apply all of that to your life. What God builds, God can guard. What God has given, God can guard. If God has given you a job, God has given you your family, God has given you your home, God can keep that for you. God can guard that for you. And it's important that you hear that. That you are where you are in life during this time of history and it's not like God is not in control.

He is in control. I say that because we live at a time in our history after the last two years there's a lot of people, I find even Christian people, wondering about the future. And not just wondering, but fearful of the future. Just living in fear. Like Chicken Little, the sky is falling. The sky is falling. Randy Alcorn said, if you base your faith on a lack of affliction, then your faith lives on the brink of extinction.

It could fall apart with a single phone call. You're just living your life with your nails every day gripping instead of relax. You're a child of God. What the Lord builds, the Lord can guard. Job knew that.

Even Job, after he got sick and lost everything, he said so beautifully and I admire him so much. He says, the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. God hasn't changed. My relationship with God hasn't changed. Yes, this has changed on the horizontal level, but the Lord gives, the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

And he didn't charge God or blaspheme. So, working in vain, watching in vain. Here's the third, worrying in vain. That takes us to verse 2. It is vain.

Here's the third usage of it. It is vain, empty, worthless, futile. Vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows, for so he gives his beloved sleep. That verse is talking about the artificial lengthening of one's day that adds anxiety to a day of labor already. In other words, you build all day, you guard all evening, and then you toss and turn all night long because you're worrying about it. The Living Bible translates verse 2 this way. It is senseless for you to work so hard from early morning to late at night, fearing that you'll starve to death.

That's no way to live. Now, Solomon gives three details in this poetic stanza. He says, first of all, it's demanding. Rise up early, sit up late. In other words, it takes all your time. It's demanding.

Second detail, it's excruciating. You eat the bread of sorrows. You eat the bread of sorrows. You're busy but bummed. That's your life. Busy and bummed. Describe your life. Busy and bummed. That's me.

Always busy, always bummed. Eating the bread of sorrows. Third detail, it's exhausting, where he says, for so he gives his beloved sleep.

You weren't meant just to work, and you certainly weren't meant to worry on top of all your work. Interesting. You know the name George Lucas, yes? Star Wars, Indiana Jones, all those great movies he made.

Lucas Films is the company he came up with. George Lucas, there's a biography written about him that describes the young George Lucas as this overworked, over-worried executive, multimillionaire, restless, unfulfilled, and frustrated. He didn't have a good relationship with his wife, not a good relationship with people, but he could not stop working. He couldn't quit.

He just didn't enjoy life. He built a house. He built an empire by work and watching and worry, but so what?

So what in his own personal life? Did you know that our word worry, the English word worry, comes from the German word, it's based on the word wurgen, wurgen, wurgen, and the word wurgen means to choke or to strain. Remember what Jesus spoke about? He said the seed of truth gets choked by the worries of this world.

It's a very descriptive term. Choked, strained by the worries of this world. One of my favorite stories about an overworked, overcommitted man who learned his lesson and finally let go. His name was George McCausland.

He was the director of the YMCA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania some years ago. During that time, the local YMCA that he was managing was going through a bad bout. They were losing members. They were losing money.

There were squabbles among the staff. George, the director, was working 85 hours a week losing sleep and things were not getting better. He finally went to a doctor. The doctor said, George, you've got to figure out a way to let go of this because it's going to kill you. So one day George said, I took a long walk in the woods with a pencil and a pad of paper. I sat down under a tree and I wrote God a letter, a resignation letter. I said, dear God, today I hereby resign as the general manager of the universe, signed George. And he said, wonder of wonders, God accepted my resignation. I think God's waiting for some of your resignations. You're trying to just control everything.

God's saying, why don't you just resign that position of being the manager of the universe and leave that job up to me? Well, yes, we admire people who build and work and watch. Again, do not confuse activity with accomplishment. You could be worshiping your work. Learn to leave your work at work and not take it home. Somebody said, blessed is the one who is too busy to worry in the daytime and too sleepy to worry at night. Work hard during the day and turn it off in the evening. Now, I'm going to close by just sort of summing all that we have talked about from the Old Testament and these different illustrations.

I'm going to tie it together. I want to give you some practical tips on how you can tell if you're worshiping your work or beginning to worship your work. Number one, exhaustion. You're just exhausted all the time. And you find yourself going to the office just a little earlier and coming home just a little later and eventually a lot earlier and coming home a lot later. And when you come home, you're whooped, you're drained.

And you know who that impacts the most? Besides yourself, besides your own health, like your heart and your nerves, your people, the people in your home, your family. You will never find in Scripture some verse of Scripture that goes like this, tiredness is next to godliness. You'll never find that, not in there. Exhaustion is next to godliness.

It doesn't say that. In fact, what we do find is the Lord Jesus spotting with His disciples this tendency to overdo it and commanding them to stop doing it because they were exhausted. The text is Mark chapter 6. I'm going to read to you a couple verses beginning in Mark 6 verse 30.

The apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all the things, both what they had done and what they had taught. They're working for God. And He said to them, Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile. For there were many coming and going and they did not even have time to eat. That's exhaustion. So they departed to a deserted place in a boat by themselves. Jesus knew how to keep life balanced.

And they did not. And He checked them on it. So exhaustion is the first. The second tip you can tell if you're worshiping your work besides exhaustion is pride. You take a certain amount of pride in identifying yourself in the occupation in which you find yourself. Your conversations are about what you do. You like to talk about that a lot. You like to talk about your work a lot.

You bring that into every conversation. Your identity, instead of just being a child of God or the husband of this wonderful woman, it's I'm a CEO or I'm a CEO or I'm a manager. You take pride in that.

Can I remind you that the people of Babel, the city of Babel in Genesis chapter 6, sought to make a name for themselves based on their work. Tim Keller said this, When you make your work your identity, if you're successful it destroys you because it goes to your head. If you're not successful it destroys you because it goes to your heart.

It destroys your self-worth. So this is pride. This is when you make the most important thing about you your work. So exhaustion, pride. Number three, fear. If you're fearful all the time, you're fearful of the future, fearful of any change, fearful of the loss of work, you're driven to find security in wealth, therefore work. And you can't bear the thought of losing that job.

Perhaps you become slaves to it. Number four, escape. Escape. You always have the excuse, I've got to work. Well, honey, can you do this? Got to work.

Yeah, but I need that. Yeah, but I got to work. Work. I provide for this family. Work. It could be that you're just using work as an excuse to avoid personal responsibilities.

It could be an escape. Deuteronomy chapter 8 verse 18, the Lord said, You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may confirm His covenant that He swore to your fathers as it is this day. Look, God gave you the power to do it because God wants to be a partner with you in providing for your family. That's part of the covenant that you have with God. God will provide.

You've got to work. God will guard. You also have to maintain.

But it's a partnership. Never lose sight of the Lord in this. And when you keep Him as your priority, you will naturally keep His other children as your priority. And it's not all about your work. So, to sum up, Psalm 127, if you're building your life apart from God, it's vanity. If you're worrying about it on top of that, it's insanity. But if you can keep projects and people in the proper balance, that's the right mentality.

That's the right mentality. Now, we have just a couple of minutes left, so let me give you some things to do tomorrow when you start work, if tomorrow is the beginning of your work week. Before you go to work, begin your day with just a few minutes in prayer about your work. And ask the Lord to help you keep Him the central part of your focus in your day. Focus on Him. Because when you do, it's going to keep you in balance.

So just offer your day to Him and ask Him to help you focus on Him. Second tip, when work is all done and you go home after hours, don't check your email. Don't check your email after hours.

I'm talking about work-related stuff. Number three, from time to time, review your calendar. Look at what's coming up ahead in the week and month. And just ask yourself, is this a balanced life? Do I find myself like the disciples, talking about what I do and what I've taught, and yet no time to rest?

So review your calendar. And then finally, number four, when work is all done and you get in your car to go home, spend just five minutes on the way home, asking God to prepare your heart to be able to focus on what's in front of you once you get in that door at home. Lord, help me focus on what is at home with my family, with my wife, with my husband, with my children, with my grandchildren. Help me to focus on that and not focus on what I did during the day, but focus on my position in life and how important I am.

And I always have to work to focus on that. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from the series Hustle and Grind. Now here's Skip to share how you can keep these messages coming your way to connect you and many others around the world with God's word. It's easy to become wrapped up in ourselves or caught up with the world's ways, but we're called to a higher purpose and we strive to encourage you in whatever the Lord may be calling you to. That's why we share these affirming Bible teachings to push you on in your pursuit of the Lord. And you can help encourage many others in living out God's calling on their lives.

Your gift today means more people can connect with God's truth. You know there's a great biblical resource available right at your fingertips through your mobile device. You can access several of Skip's Bible reading plans in the YouVersion Bible app and dive deeper into several books of the Bible to gain new insights. Just search Skip Heitzig in the YouVersion Bible app. Be sure to come back next week as Skip Heitzig shares how setting aside time to rest can greatly benefit your relationship with God. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-26 22:09:54 / 2022-11-26 22:18:36 / 9

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