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Answering the Call - How to Stop Wasting Your Life, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
January 27, 2023 5:00 am

Answering the Call - How to Stop Wasting Your Life, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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January 27, 2023 5:00 am

Do you feel like you’re wasting your life - drifting through each day, just getting by? What if every minute of every work day was an opportunity for you to worship and to acknowledge God’s goodness and provision in your life? Well it can be so. In today's message, Chip shows you how you can work for God no matter where you’re employed.

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Do you feel like you're working at a dead-end job? Does it often seem like you're aimlessly drifting through the day? Would you even go as far as to say you're wasting your life? Well, if I've described you, stay with me. Today I want to help you start, not just enjoying your work, but seeing each and every minute of your day as an adventure.

Don't go away. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher for this daily discipleship program, Motivating Christians to Live Like Christians. And did you know that over 70% of people don't like their jobs? 70%. So why are people so unhappy with their work?

And what will it take to change that? Well, today Chip continues our series Answering the Call with the answer. So if you have a Bible, turn now to Ephesians chapter 6 for Chip's message, How to Stop Wasting Your Life. Well, we're going to talk about how to stop wasting your life. You know, if you looked at work as just a necessary thing just to get over with and can't wait until it's done and not know that it's about this thing of getting a call from God, you can see how a lot of people could waste 60 to 80% of their waking hours just trying to get something over with. And so I did a little thinking, and I thought about what's in a job anyway?

How do people look at a job? And part of this, you kind of have to bear with me. These are one of those things, it might be really cute and helpful, or it might be like a bomb, okay? But I thought of five, oh, you've got to tell people so that if it's a bomb, at least you can groan with me. But I came up with five paradigms of how I observe people look at a job.

And I'm sure maybe there's ten, maybe there's seven, I don't know, but there's five that really seem to me that in all the places I've worked, or people that I've known, there's kind of these different views. And paradigm number one is work is evil and the goal is avoid it. Just put it real simple, work is evil.

I mean, it's curse, it's not the ground is curse, work is evil. And so I would introduce to you Freddie and Francis Freeloader. That's paradigm number one. They cut every corner, they want as much as possible, they do as little as possible, they try hard not to get caught, and when they do get caught, they blame someone else. That's one paradigm of work.

We've all worked with a Francis or Freddie Freeloader. It's just like every time you turn around, they're on break. And they come in late, they leave early. The second paradigm, the truth would be work is everything. Work is everything. And so they embrace it.

And my little title for this one would be William or Wilma Workaholic. Instead of going in late, they go in early, they stay late, they pay any price, they want to climb to the top. For some, it's not about that as they just want to be successful. They want to make a difference, they want to prove their value. They remind the family that they're doing it for you. They're doing it for a better life for you, for the good life.

They constantly tell people who love them it's only for a season. As soon as we get this big project done, as soon as this deal goes through, it's just going to be a part. Then, when everything slows down, Wilma the Workaholic or William the Workaholic is going to have this balanced life that they talk about. Work is everything. And so they embrace it. The third paradigm is work is an obligation. Work is an obligation. And so they endure it. And here I have Ted and Terry TGI-Efferson.

Like I said, it could be cute, it could be a bomb, you be the judge. But what they do is they work hard, they do a good job, they don't like it most of the time, but it's a living. It pays the bills. They can't wait for Friday because when Friday comes, they can get home and they can coach the kids' team sport. They can hang out with friends.

They even teach a Bible study at church and play golf now and then whenever possible. And so they're good people. They do a good job. They don't like their job. They want to get their job over with. I mean, they're engaged with their family. They're doing good things on the weekend.

But life really is how do I get through these yucky five days that are a pain in the rear in order to live for these two days when I can do the good stuff. That is Ted and Terry TGI-Efferson. The fourth paradigm is work is strategic. Work is strategic.

And so you exploit it. This is Evan and Elsie Evangelizer. And this is kind of interesting and please don't think too badly of them. Evan and Elsie, for them, work is a platform for evangelism and ministry. They don't really like their work very well, but they will themselves and simply choose to do a great job so they can have a good testimony. So they turn things in on time.

They're bored. They're dissatisfied in their work, but they are good workers and good employees. They do it for the sake of Christ.

But after that, they are very careful to give tracks to people at work. They keep their Bible on their desk. Because they don't like their work, they rarely pursue career advancement.

They let people know that they use their vacation time to go on short-term mission trips. And they stay in unfulfilling jobs because often they're very financially lucrative and it allows them to give more money to the church and the ministries they care about. And there's a lot of people that that's their life.

They don't like their job. But it's strategic. I mean, it's strategic. I make good money. I'm sharing my faith. And so I'm just going to exploit it. It's sort of, it's a little kind of a martyr complex. It's, you know, God has called me to go to this boring job that I don't like and I'm not good at and Jesus had to suffer and he had a cross to bear and this is mine. But I'm using it for the Lord.

And by the way, that one's probably a lot better than a lot of the others. I mean, I'd much rather have, if I'm the boss, I want this person instead of Freddie or Francis Freeloader. Number five paradigm is work is a calling and so you steward it. Work is a calling and so you just steward the work that God's given you. And this is Kent and or Cary calling.

I couldn't come up with anything any better. For them, work is their primary ministry. They love what they do.

They can't believe they get paid to do what they do. They share their faith first and foremost by the quality of the work that they do and their zeal for the actual work itself, the way it benefits people, the values of the company and the great relationships that they have. They take opportunities to build in-depth, deep relationship with fellow employees, not simply for evangelism, but they just like them. When they undergo difficult times, they're the one that takes initiative to get employees together and get food to people, love people and have even opened up a kind of a low-key Bible study that whoever would want to explore what it means to be a Christian might check it out.

They share Christ out of relationship. They've been voted best employees multiple times over the last 20 years and the board and the CEO wish they could have a hundred of them in the company. Those are at least five I think general paradigms that we all tend in some way or another to fit into. Notice some of the research. 83% of Americans are dissatisfied with their job. I quoted earlier 75% are in a wrong job fit.

83% are dissatisfied. Hal Stewing wrote, your work should be a challenge not a chore, a blessing and not a bore. Patrick Morley writes, 95% of us will never be in occupational ministry, but that does not mean we are not ministers. And then Larry Burkett wrote, for Christians who view their work as a chore, they don't have much of a witness on or off the job.

That's pretty good. And then finally, Dennis Bakke wrote, worship can be something we do every minute of every workday as we acknowledge God's guidance and purpose in our lives. The question I want to raise and hope to ask and begin to answer is how do you do that? How can work be a moment of worship every minute of every day?

How can it really happen? And I would suggest, especially in a kind of a dead end job. We're talking in a little bit idealistic terms. There's some people sitting here and probably more than some who will probably maybe hear this and they'll say, I can't change jobs.

Okay, I'm locked in. I'm in a situation for whatever reason, it would take maybe years or I can't get out of what I'm doing for maybe some reasons we wouldn't understand. In fact, the passage we're going to look at is given to a group of people that didn't have the option to say, you know, I don't think this is according to my gifting and calling.

You know, I don't think this is exactly what God would choose for me to do. They were slaves. There were 60 million slaves in the Roman Empire. And like wildfire, they were coming to Christ. And the Apostle Paul is going to write to people who have terrible jobs, who their masters can kill them when they want to. And now because they were valuable, that rarely happened, so they just were beaten on a regular basis and mistreated on a regular basis. And so what I want you to get is sort of the a priori logic, if you will, is if God is going to provide a way for a slave who has no options about how to work for God wherever he's working 24-7, I wonder what that opportunity is for us.

You get the idea? And so what I want to look at with you is how you can work for God wherever you work. And I want to give you four principles from Ephesians 6, verses 5 through 9. I think that's how we can learn to do exactly what we said. We can stop wasting our life if we can follow the same principles that God gave these slaves and then later their masters. Principle number one, Christians are to obey and honor their supervisors as an act of worship to Christ.

Can you imagine reading this for the first time as a word from God? I mean, being a slave, getting beat up, no rights, you're just a piece of property and you go to church, maybe in the catacombs, maybe a secret meeting, and someone says, we've got one of those letters, God speaking, and someone pulls out a scroll and people are huddled together and it says, bond servants, be obedient to those who your masters according to the flesh with fear and trembling in sincerity of heart as to Christ. What? Read that again.

Okay. Bond servants, be obedient to those who your masters according to the flesh with fear and trembling in sincerity of heart as to Christ. Not with eye service as men pleasers, but as bond servants of Christ doing the will of God from the heart. Is he saying being a slave and doing it right is the will of God from the heart? With good will doing service as unto the Lord and not unto men. Is he actually saying that how I respond to my master, my boss that I can't get out of, this is like God's will and I'm supposed to treat this boss like Christ was my boss? Knowing that whatever good anyone does, verse eight, he will receive the same from the Lord whether he is a slave or free.

And by the way, masters do the same thing to them. Giving up threatening, knowing that your own master also is in heaven and there is no partiality with him. Christians are to obey and honor their supervisors and act of worship to Christ. We have over here a little box, if you will, first century addressed to slaves. The topic is work.

Okay. We're going to have specific admonitions to them. Over here, we come about 21 centuries later and we have a little box and we have work and we're not slaves. But what ties them together is an overarching principle about how do you respond to those in the workplace that have authority over you. And so I think the timeless principle is we obey and honor our supervisors. And then you say, well how? Well, notice the three phrases. First is with fear and trembling. Now, I don't know if you've ever been in the break room or near the water cooler or out to lunch with some fellow employees all who have a very, very bad boss, a very, very bad supervisor or a very dysfunctional company. Have you ever kind of been there?

What's the dialogue go like? Right? I mean, I don't know about you but I've been in enough Starbucks where you're over here and these three people are over here and they're on a lunch break and it's like, can you believe him? I just can't believe what they're doing. You know what they do. They are just, this is the most ridiculous thing.

That is so unfair. And they just go on and on. I wonder all over the world how many people in break rooms and at lunches and at supper tables after they go home from work do nothing but rip their bosses and their supervisors for what they don't do and what they're not and how unfair they are and the apostle Paul says to a group of people who, I mean, I don't know how bad your boss has been and I don't know how dysfunctional your company is but I've just not been a lot of places where, okay, 1030 break, everybody out here, let's get in the main forum. Okay, Judy, you've been a little late lately. Can you give me that whip? Zoom, zoom, zoom. Okay, Bobby, I think you were late on that report. Come on in here.

Bang, bang. I've never seen anybody get beaten, have you? I mean, I haven't. And the apostle Paul is saying to those people who are beaten with fear and trembling, the idea is with a sense of respect, with a sense of treating them with a sense of reverential awe for not how they treat you or the kind of person they are but the role they're sovereignly given. 60 million slaves deciding to treat their masters in a way that they don't deserve and then not only just, you know, you can kind of do that, right? You could do that externally. Sure, boss, whatever you say, I'll go do that but notice it says with sincerity, with singleness of heart. He's not saying just your external behavior honors your boss or your supervisor.

He's saying your external behavior along with your internal attitude is going to be treating a person especially who doesn't deserve to be treated with respect and honor. You do it that way and then he gives you the why as done for Christ. You might jot in your notes, we looked at it earlier but you might not immediately apply it here in Colossians 3.23. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Do it heartily as unto the Lord, whatever you do. So even in a difficult job situation, let alone a good job situation, do it as unto the Lord with all your heart. This is, this actually landed me a job once. Remember I told you about the bricklayer and this and by the way, you learn more not from what people say, it's how they act.

I mean here I am and I can still in my mind see those work boots kicking down two days of work and me whining going, are you nuts? But the indelible example of modeling is the excellence. I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this well and I'm going to do this for the right reason. I work for an act as an act of worship and so somehow between a few Bible studies with him and his example, I caught that and I went in for a job. It was my actually first teaching job and it was a teaching and coaching job and I learned later that they had an inside guy, they already had done, they decided he was going to get the job but you had to go through sort of a perfunctory interview five people and I can't believe that ever happens anywhere but apparently that was the way it was supposed to happen.

So I had my resume and I had the interview and the superintendent of schools and the principal and I think some other person was in there and we're going through this interview and they kind of looked at my resume and where I've been and what I've done and oh I see that you've played basketball throughout South America and the Orient. I said yes sir and what is that, what was the Christian team? Oh you're a Christian. So yeah and I get to share my faith and then it was kind of like good, we're going to get this guy out of here because you know he's going to have this sort of Christian tent. So would you see your Christian faith interfering with your job here at the high school? I said oh no sir, not at all. Well how would you govern that? I said well according to Romans chapter 13 I need to obey you the way I would obey Christ. What? Yeah I just, you would be the divine authority that God would place over me and I may not always agree with you but it would be an act of worship, I'm absolutely committed that I need to do, I mean if it doesn't cross a moral bound, I need to do, I need to be the best employee you would ever have but I really wouldn't be working for you.

I would do it out of my commitment to what God has said and I'll never forget this. He said could you stay right here? I said it's your interview, I mean like where am I going to go? And he walks in, he goes Bobby, Bobby you got to hear this. So he brings in this other teacher and these two guys come on, tell him again. I said tell him, okay ask, go ahead, the principal, ask him that question again. So they asked me the same question and I just gave him my Romans 13 answer you know and he said are you kidding me man? I said look I don't have any choice on this, this is just what the Bible says. I said you know this is, why would I like to see people, my students and especially my players have a relationship with Christ but you know I just need to demonstrate that by my lifestyle but I can't do anything here that would violate the authority over me and that would be you, wouldn't it the principal?

He's a big smile, yeah you know. And so these two guys go in the back room and they call me back about 24 hours later and say you're our new basketball coach. You know why? Because Christians are to obey and honor their supervisors as an act of worship to Christ and we will have probably far more impact by how we live and respond to our bosses than we will with all the tracks that we pass out and all the times we invite people to church or hear this person or come to this event and actually you build a platform when you're that kind of an employee then when you begin to share about what's going on in your life and your relationship now you've got leverage and credibility. The key word here right in worship, sounds kind of crazy but I want you to begin to see your work and especially if you're an authority relationship. It's an act of worship. It's how you honor God.

It's worshiping God by trembling, respect, sincerity and doing your work as though Jesus were your boss. Chip will be back in just a minute with his application. You've been listening to the first part of his message how to stop wasting your life from our series answering the call. Are you looking for a job, starting a new career or just desperate for a fresh perspective on your current employment? Through this eight part series Chip unpacks what the Bible has to say about this idea of work and reveals why God intended it to be more than just what we do for a living. Stay with us as we discover how to find genuine enjoyment and fulfillment in our work and bring praise to God through it. To get more plugged in with this series or our many resources visit livingontheedge.org.

That's livingontheedge.org. Well before we go any further, Chip's joined me here in studio to share a quick word. Thanks so much Dave. I want to take just a few minutes to talk about something really important and I hope especially for those of you that are regular listeners you'll agree. God has been using the ministry of Living on the Edge in incredible ways. We've been growing and reaching folks like never before and you're an important part of that. Your gifts to Living on the Edge make it possible for us to be present in places that without you we simply couldn't be. Many of these places are extremely dangerous to proclaim the name of Christ and your gifts make it possible for us to reach people in desperate situations you know right here in the United States. I can't tell you how many emails and letters I received that somewhere in that letter or email it's like I was on my way to the abortion clinic or I was planning to end my life or I was about to give up on my marriage or I was giving up on God because of something terrible that happened to me but then I started listening to you on my drive to work or my neighbor gave me this book or I found your app and you know this series on overcoming emotions or whatever.

It was God's catalyst to begin a total transformation in my life. These things aren't happening because of Chip Ingram or even Living on the Edge. They're happening because God is working in and through those who by faith respond and obey him. You know we can't do anything alone.

That's because it's not God's plan for any of us. We are in this together and Living on the Edge as God's ministry is about you and me doing exactly what God calls us to do and so I would ask you first would you really pray for the ministry and second would you pray specifically about partnering at a deeper level and partnering with us financially. Do whatever God leads you to do and let me say in advance let's keep pressing ahead and thank you very much. Thanks Chip. If joining the Living on the Edge team is an idea that makes sense to you we'd love to have you partner with us. Your support multiplies our efforts and resources in ways only God can do so if you'd like to be a part of that let me encourage you to become a monthly partner. You can easily set up a recurring donation at livingontheedge.org or through the Chip Ingram app or if it's easier text donate to 74141. That's the word donate to 74141.

Well with that let's get to Chip's application for today. As we close today's program let me just review those five paradigms of work and just ask you kind of honestly not how you ought to think but just in general how you think about work. Paradigm number one work is evil I should avoid it. Number two work is everything you know it's all about who I am and what I do it's my identity. Third work is an obligation it's to be endured and I'm glad when it's over. Fourth work is strategic I go to work because I'm going to lead people to Christ and finally work is a calling it's a stewardship it is something entrusted to me with my gifts in this season of my life to be done as an offering and even as a ministry and so that means that I have a different attitude when I go to work it means that I cultivate different relationships and it means my work really is an offering to God. You know my daughter is a stay-at-home mom like many of you she went to school and got some good degrees and did quite well in a profession and then in that window of time especially as all of her kids are at home she felt a clear call from God that my calling my work is is to be a mom and she's got three little ones right now all four years and under and she's a very gifted communicator she's actually an excellent writer and so people have you know hey could you do this and could you do that and she's done a few things here and there and she her confession was you know dad there's times when one of the kids are crying the other one screaming the other one's getting out of the bathtub and you know got water all over the house and and I'm just thinking this is just this is so mundane and then God will remind me that this is a calling that this is my worship that diaper that time to discipline my little boy the the frustrations the fact that my house is not neat the way I like it these are all part of the price tags and the cost and she she then said to me she said you know dad you know a lot of people would think that you had the big ministry and I'm I'm really glad how God used your life but you know when I think of how all of us kids have turned out and my life and and Jason and Eric and Ryan and the impact that's multiplied when I think about mom she saw being a stay at home mom as her calling and I thought you know something I think there's probably a lot of women who feel like you know I'm just staying at home I just want to say that you're not wasting your life if you're shaping the next generation could I encourage you do it as an offering endure the diapers will go away someday but God is using you hang on and do it unto the Lord thanks chip and if you are in that season of life chip just described or you know a mom who's really discouraged right now let me encourage you to get a set of our affirmation cards this tool helps combat the lies we believe about ourselves and reminds us that we are deeply loved and cherished by God order these affirmation cards for you or a friend by going to special offers at Living on the Edge org or the chip Ingram app we'll listen next time as chip continues his series answering the call until then this is Dave Drewy thanking you for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-27 05:43:24 / 2023-01-27 05:55:18 / 12

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