Share This Episode
Insight for Living Chuck Swindoll Logo

Honoring God in Our Occupations, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
December 7, 2020 7:05 am

Honoring God in Our Occupations, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 856 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

December 7, 2020 7:05 am

Becoming a People of Grace: An Exposition of Ephesians

Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
Clearview Today
Abidan Shah
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg
The Truth Pulpit
Don Green

Those who spend countless hours in the workforce often do so apart from their families and the loved ones who give them purpose. So what does the Bible say about our careers and the time we spend earning a living? Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll teaches from Ephesians Chapter 6. In this section of the New Testament, Paul offers timeless wisdom for both employees and employers. Whether you're gainfully employed, retired, or running a business of your own, there's something in this passage for all of us.

Chuck titled this message, Honoring God and Our Occupations. where we have come to a section of Scripture in this magnificent letter in which Paul talks about our occupations, our employment. Each of us has been called by God to our work. Whether or not it is vocational Christian ministry, it's a calling. And therefore, each of us plays a significant role in God's kingdom simply by fulfilling that calling. It is easy to think that it's only the pastors or the missionaries of the world who are involved in doing truly significant work. But that's not so.

Our daily nine to five stints in the cubicle make a lot of difference, even though you may not feel like it does at times. As we will see today, Paul places a lot of emphasis on anyone's occupation, and we'll read of that in verses 5 through 9 here in the sixth chapter of Ephesians. Listen carefully. But as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will renders service as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. And masters do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their master and yours is in heaven, and there's no partiality with him. This is another passage where I just love the way Eugene Peterson has rendered these words.

Again, listen carefully. Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters, but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. Don't just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily as Christ's servants, doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you're really serving God. Good work will get you good pay from the master, regardless of whether you are slave or free. Masters, it's the same with you.

No abuse, please, and no threats. You and your servants are both under the same master in heaven. He makes no distinction between you and them. Today's message is titled, Honoring God and Our Occupations. Father, thank you for proving yourself, all that you have told us you are, in the book of truth, the Bible. You've never failed us yet. You will never forsake us.

You'll never walk out on us when we really deserve to be walked out on. You will forgive us. You will cleanse us. You will free us. You will prepare us to go on and on and on. Thank you for modeling this like no one we've ever known on this earth. The one who knows us the best, loves us the most, will be there the longest.

Thank you. Now, Father, this statement that we have sung says one thing to one person and something altogether different to someone else. Some have recently moved here, and you've proven yourself faithful in the move. Some have recently gone through surgery, and you've proven yourself faithful through the time of surgery. Some are in pain, emotional, physical pain, and you're there, faithfully there.

You've not failed us yet. Thank you for your kindnesses, your mercies that come with every morning sunrise. And we pause as we stand before you and adore you as our only God to express our gratitude. Thank you for giving us our occupations and ability to make a living, even to make more than we need. Or sometimes just enough, and for the privilege as we have right now of returning to you from our savings and earnings, that which you already own, since you own it all. Be pleased in the motive as well as in the act of giving, and be honored in this time of worship and in this time of prayer.

Thank you, and we give to you gratefully, generously, in Jesus' name, amen. This is a sermon about your job, your job. Where you work, the company you may own, the world that most of us never get to see as you live out your life outside the church.

This is about your job. Now, we Christians listen to a lot of sermons. There's no way to keep count, though some preachers have done that. Back in the 18th century, George Whitfield, a well-known British pastor, for 34 years averaged preaching 20 sermons a week. A lot of sermons. Charles Spurgeon, in the 19th century, died in 1892 at the age of 58, began preaching as a teenager.

In fact, they were standing in snow to hear Spurgeon preach before he turned 25. The great gospel tabernacle in London was filled to overflowing for years as he preached. During his lifetime of preaching, many of his sermons found their way into pamphlets and small and larger books, and even sometime into columns in the newspaper. Above and beyond that number of sermons, when he died, someone decided all of his sermons needed to be put into print, and they decided they would print them once a week, and they did so for 25 years, never running out of material, though they did stop because they ran out of money.

In many ways, Spurgeon's sermons to this day have not all been put into print and made available. A very prolific preacher, but since when is many sermons the goal? And since when is more sermons better than one that really touches the heart? Obviously, those sermons that touch us are those that have been thought through by the one doing the preaching, doing the speaking. How foolish for some to think that they can sort of, in a haphazard and quick manner, prepare a few thoughts and then deliver them and call that a sermon that honors God. I smiled a couple of weeks ago as I read of an American Presbyterian minister who lived right next door to the church in the parsonage provided by the congregation.

His besetting sin was conceit. He used to brag, between the walk from the parsonage over to the pulpit, I prepare what I have to say and I deliver the message when I get there. You wouldn't be surprised to hear that at his fifth anniversary, the congregation bought them a new parsonage five miles away from the church.

Take a little longer walk, huh? But since when is a deep sermon the goal? It isn't that you hear a lot of sermons that makes a difference, it isn't necessarily that you hear a deep sermon that makes you think. The great goal of a great sermon is that it connects with where you live. I ask myself virtually every Sunday night the same question.

Did that connect? Did it strike the heart of where people live? Not did it please them, not so much was it deep, or was it long, or did it sound profound, but did it connect with life? To my surprise, I look back over years of preaching, and in my case it's been about 40, several file cabinets full of sermons, and I have found very, very few times I have ever addressed people's occupation.

And I say that a little to my own embarrassment and some shame. Dorothy Sayers has written, In nothing has the church so lost her hold on reality as in her failure to understand and respect the secular vocation. She has allowed work and religion to become separate departments.

She has forgotten that the secular vocation is sacred. How can anyone remain interested in a religion which seems to have no concern with nine-tenths of his life? If in fact you spend eight to nine-tenths of your life at the office, in the shop, or in the car doing your work, or at that place of business, surely God's word has something to say about it. If His book is, as we believe, timeless as well as timely, then surely there are some guidelines that we can follow as it relates to the company we own or the company for which we work. And I would venture to say you cannot remember the last sermon you heard about your job. We just seem to overlook it.

Well, no longer. In verses five through nine of Ephesians chapter six, you and your occupation are addressed. It fits into a context that's very, very important. We've looked at husbands and wives over in chapter five. We've looked at parents and children in the early part of chapter six, and in both cases we've talked about the importance of being filled with the Spirit and conducting ourselves in a submissive and Godly manner. Now we come to the job, and we're reminded in coming to it that there is no such thing as secular and sacred. If you will allow me, this passage would not be any more meaningful if you happen to be engaged in vocational Christian service, as most of you are not. And I say, more power to you. Don't feel the need to come to seminary and to study for ministry. God probably, more often than not I have found, wants you exactly where you are, doing precisely what you are doing, not engaged in vocational ministry, but engaged in your, what the world may call, or the church may call, your secular job. Good for you. Now the question is, how do I do it?

What's involved in it? The employee is addressed in verses five through eight. The employer is talked to in verse nine. Overlooked the fact that it's called slaves and masters, okay?

Best we can do here, huh? But let's not jump over that, because some of you will be so hung up on it you won't be able to hear what I have to say, because you think I'm dodging the slavery issue, so let me explain why I believe that that is really not what's on Paul's heart here. And I quote another who is a fine expositor. New Testament teaching does not focus on reforming and restructuring human systems, which are never the root cause of human problems. The issue is always the heart, which when wicked will corrupt the best of systems, and when righteous will improve the worst. If men's hearts are not changed, they will find ways to oppress others regardless of whether or not there is actual slavery.

The slavery issue is a major issue, but Paul does not attempt to correct it or even address it. He talks to the Christian slave, as I would talk today to the Christian employee. And then he talks to the Christian master, as I today am going to talk to you who are Christian bosses. And he doesn't mince words.

He talks straight, and he gives us guidelines to work by. If I may say one more introductory comment, the way you conduct yourself at work is probably more your testimony than all of the hours you spend at a church. Your testimony, as it is witnessed in the eyes of your fellow employees, your boss, or those who work for you, that's the one I'd like to know about, and would be most interesting to survey. How you do your job tells others more about your relationship to Christ than how you worship on the Lord's day. This is a sermon about your job. So, employees, verses five through eight, let's remember four words. Your response is in verse five. Your motive is addressed in verse six.

Your perspective is in verse seven, and your motivation is in verse eight. And then I'll talk to the bosses, okay? I'll talk to you who are owners of companies.

But first, let me talk to you who work for people who own the company. Or you're under the authority of someone who is over you in rank or responsibility. First, your response, verse five. Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh.

Stop there. First comment I want to make from this passage is that we are to do what we are expected and told to do. You are to do what is expected of you at your company. You are to do what your job description calls for.

And here is implied diligence, a willingness to do hard work with a great attitude. It isn't always so, but being a follower of Jesus ought to make us better employees. This passage says, even if you are a slave to a master, you are to be obedient to those who are in charge of your life at work according to the flesh. It doesn't even say they're Christian masters.

In fact, the implication is they are not. You work for a non-Christian authority. You do what you're told to do, and you do it with a great spirit. You do it with diligence if you cannot quit and go somewhere where you can.

If you don't, you're a detriment to the company. You're not a help to it. I said I'd say more about attitude. Look at the last part of verse 5. Do it with fear and trembling and sincerity of heart. Look at the three words. Fear, think of honor. Trembling, think of humility. Sincerity, think of honesty.

Three words that begin with H. That'll help you remember them. Each day, think, this is my day to honor those who are over me. This is my day to give honor to those and to respect those who are in authority in this company. Do it with fear and trembling.

This is my day to submit. One of the characteristics of a spirit-filled believer is a submissive heart. Do it with submission. Do it with humility and do it with sincerity. The word in the Greek sincerity means singleness. It has in mind a singleness of purpose, a singleness of heart. Our work is to be done with excellence and with integrity.

It is to be done with a great attitude. Look at verse 6. Not by way of eye service. You're not doing this focused on those around you. You're not doing this because necessarily they deserve it. You are not even doing this necessarily because they observe it and thank you for it. You are not doing it by way of eye service as men pleasers, but your motive is as slaves of Christ.

You want a whole new thought on work? You work for Christ. Now He doesn't sign your paycheck, but He is the one for whom you work. He is the one to whom you are responsible.

He is watching you when no one else watches. He sets a standard no one else sets. The verse says, as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. From the heart.

You say, well I'm not sure that covers where I work. Look at Colossians chapter 3 and verse 17. It's worth turning. Colossians 3 verse 17. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Let me ask you if your job falls in the category of whatever. Would it fall into that rather generic category?

Of course it would. Wherever you work, whatever you do, whatever your hours, to whomever you answer, wherever you must go to do it, however it must be carried out, whatever you do, you work for Christ. And you fulfill His will in doing it, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Back to Ephesians 6 and verse 6. You are not slaves of a person by some name. You are not employees of this company.

Not in the grand sense of the word. That's not your motive. You're doing it because you serve the Lord Christ as Master of your life. That's why you do what you do. That's why you work as hard as you do. That's why you don't overlook the little things. That's why when you go in to fix something and you see something else that's in need, you address that.

You don't ignore it because it's not part of the bid. You're serving the Lord Christ and to Him there is nothing that is unimportant as it relates to honesty and matter of integrity. That's our motive. And let's take mental note of this point in Chuck Swindoll's message because we'll resume our study right here on Tuesday's edition of Insight for Living.

We're talking about a relevant issue honoring God in our occupations. To learn more about this ministry, visit us online at And just before we hear a closing comment from Chuck, I'll take this occasion to draw your attention to a stunning illustrated resource offered by Insight for Living intended to brighten your holiday. It's a beautiful coffee table book that recounts some of your favorite stories in the Bible with masterful illustrations that will capture the imagination of the entire family. It's called Kregel's Treasury of Illustrated Bible Stories. Winter is a wonderful time to curl up on the couch and read stories and this book will likely become a favorite among your children and grandchildren. To purchase the hardbound volume called Kregel's Treasury of Illustrated Bible Stories, go to slash store. And by the way, this colorful book would make a thoughtful gift for family and friends.

If you're listening in the U.S. and you prefer to call us, use this number 1-800-772-8888. And then as we look back over the last 12 months, we're grateful for the countless notes, calls, and letters we received describing the challenges you've endured and telling us how much you value the ministry of Insight for Living. 2020 has been a tough year.

Chuck? Thanks, Dave. No one has come through the challenges of 2020 completely unscathed. All of us have suffered loss at some level. Whether we've lost someone we love to the coronavirus or suffering a financial setback or maybe you've been removed from seeing your family as you would love to do, all of us have stories to tell.

I know this is true because during the pandemic of 2020, I've heard from many of you. I've read your stories, some of them heart-rending. These shared stories of struggle have woven us together. In fact, in this history of Insight for Living Ministries, I've never felt a greater connection to our family of supporters all around the world, even though many of us have been self-isolated or even quarantined.

Thankfully, because of the internet and the reliability of our radio stations, our daily visits on Insight for Living have continued during this year without interruption. And, as God provides through men and women like you, we promise to be with you every single day in 2021 as well. Along those lines, can I count on your support as we come to December 31? Many have already given generously to help us enter the new year with strength.

Some, due to the challenges imposed by this pandemic, have not been able to do so. We fully understand. Yet, many of us can give and even should give. God will lead us in how much we should give and when we should do that. So, as we conclude the unforgettable year of 2020, I'm personally inviting you to participate in the mission of Insight for Living Ministries. Please give a generous end-of-the-year donation as you are able. Let's pull together as a family, one member at a time. Thanks so much for doing your part.

And here's how to respond to Chuck Swindoll right now. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888.

Once again, that's 1-800-772-8888. And then many have chosen to give by using Insight for Living's convenient mobile app. Just click on the donate button and follow the simple instructions. Or if you prefer, you can go directly to our website and give online at Or speak with one of our friendly ministry reps by calling us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888.

I'm Dave Spiker. Chuck Swindoll continues his message about honoring God and our occupations Tuesday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, honoring God in our occupations, was copyrighted in 2000, 2001, and 2009. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-18 12:45:16 / 2024-01-18 12:54:08 / 9

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime