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Theology of Work

Salem Baptist Church / Pastor Kivett Hicks
The Truth Network Radio
September 5, 2021 6:00 am

Theology of Work

Salem Baptist Church / Pastor Kivett Hicks

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Talk about a theology of work.

What does God have to say in his word about work and how can we learn about God as we study his word. As we talk about work together in the Bible in the Bible there's the Sabbath that's talked about and an Sabbath is that day of rest and labor days that the day of rest from working on Hebrews back in biblical times, but also it even today, they refer to Sabbath as Shabbat Shabbat. It's it's a day of rest the day of setting aside yourself to be able to be replenished and I hope that's what you're doing this Labor Day weekend and tomorrow.

Specifically, as we celebrate Labor Day. Got a whole lot to say in his word about working to get that here just a moment, but some house looking this week and I want to know that this rare that I ever write my own jokes okay because I'm is not a good joke writer has its own owner here from the very beginning. I'm just not a real good joke writer, but I found some really good jokes about work. I thought they were really good. You may not like us are mostly from response here just a moment, but done.

Here's an example is the person who said I you I gave up my seat own the bus to a blind person and that's how I lost my job as a bus driver.

They said that was kind another person said our computers at work went down today so we had to do everything by hand, had to do it manually said it was really frustrating because it took me 20 minutes to shuffle the cards for solitaire.

Thank you Jeff failing for that of Knox's last Thursday that this when there's a new trend in our office. Everyone is putting their names on their food and I saw that today as I'm eating a sandwich named Kevin by the way, if you do that. Please note again please please don't be somebody else's food that's very frustrating. Not that happens in our church office. It doesn't very often. I'm sorry Buster Harper to make an error at work is human to blame it on somebody else's management potential. Here's a good one.

You probably heard. As you know, I told this old horse. I know you've heard before. When I got to work this morning.

My boss stormed up to me says you missed work yesterday, didn't you.

I said no not particularly.

The only letter that you heard it before but listen work is such a huge partner alive since we spent so much time in our lives working and whether that's in a vocational job or working from home or working at home as if you are a stay-at-home parent, you are very much a worker in the in the Bible it is affecting the Old Testament. There's a Hebrew word that is that is used for work is the word of Vada of Vada's use over 800 times all throughout the Old Testament. And this is the word is used most often for work, but it's also a word that's used for the word worship that we don't think about our work as worship very often. But God does in his word. Most the time these two words are connected but that we we worship God by our work. When Adam and Eve were placed in the garden of eating, they were placed there to worship God in one of the plate the ways that they worship God was by working, God gave them an assignment to do so, they carried out the assignment and as they were carrying out the assignment they were worshiping God's will think of this idea of working and worshiping together very often but it very much goes together as we work as Christians, we are worshiping God and we always worship something always, always, when sometimes money sometimes is the thrill of accomplishing something.

Sometimes it's, it honestly could be any number of things for the Christian are active work is an act of worshiping God, but he gave us the ability he gave us the means by which to work. So he sees worthy of that worship. Here for a little bit about what it means to what God has to say about about worship. I sat down on sat down not worship what God has to say about work and worship together okay.

Sat down this past work week and I was working on just kind of thinking about what is the Bible have to say about work now. Think they'll come up with typical sermon you three or four points 12 things okay Wayne, if you spend all the time you typically spend over one point working to be here until Labor Day tomorrow when I do that though, getting organ or spend a little bit of time on these 12 things. But here's 12 things that God has to say about work.

I'm sure there's many many more.

But these are ones that I wrote down again. First of all, you follow along in your hand out as we go through this kind of first acknowledge God as your employer acknowledge God as your employer does not say there acknowledge your employer as God right. Some employers may appreciate that that's not what it says it all is that I would talk about acknowledging God as our employer. Now we may get our paychecks from an employer or a supervisor or company. We take direct orders from a certain person most the time or the company at large, but we as Christians ultimately work for God. The Bible is clear about that. Colossians chapter 3 verses 22 through 25 Paul speak of the Colossian church and he writes this he says bond servants, obey in everything. Those who are your earthly masters's talk about employees employer relationship as a whole.

Okay, not by way of my service as people pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord whatever you do work heartily as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord, you will receive the inheritance as your reward you are serving the Lord Christ for the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he is done and there is no partiality talk about. There's no partiality with God. Ephesians we are working through the series in Ephesians. We talked several months ago about what it means to serve God to honor God. As we serve and honor our earthly supervisors. We would talk about how we work for a higher authority than just the person that signs are paychecks. Secondly, spend your earnings wisely spend your earnings wisely go to work and you bring home a paycheck. We can say go to work.

I bring home the bacon right for that many many times from chapter 3 verses nine and 10. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all you produce all your produce then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine and a lot of people use that verse a lot of pastors would use that verse or ministry leaders use that to say hey listen you take the money that you earn. You send it into my ministry and I can promise you that God will bless you tenfold a hundredfold. What you said in we heard that before we heard people use second illustration but that's not what God is talking about it all their gods talk about through his word here in Proverbs is that that our time and are giving to the mission of God is is not gonna bring the biggest and the best that this world has to offer.

But I can tell you because of seen it firsthand that when we use our earnings wisely in a way that honors God. He provides above and beyond what we can ever expect.

Time and time again when when Hilary and I have sensed the Holy Spirit leading us to be generous in one way or another is not like we can give a whole lot of money would eat we we we follow him in that we see him bless and he doesn't turn around and bless us all the time of the same amount we gave her many many much more. But what we find is that God storehouses are full, and his provision. Never ever ever ever fails to wheel about what we meet. Give sacrificially God, in turn, takes care of us.

Also think about first print is chapter 16 verse to the says on the first day of every week. Each of you is to put something aside and store it up as he may prosper, so there will be no collecting when I come up about what Paul is talking about. There is that he's gonna come to this church in Corinth and when he comes, gather money that they have given to go and take and give to other churches in need other people. Christians in need, but in context of this verse we understand is that we are to be intentional to make sure that we are spending our earnings wisely. If the plan to meet future needs.

Use those earnings to make sure that they're ready for whatever may come in the future.

Number three.

Give your best effort.

Give your best effort. Ecclesiastes chapter 9 verse 10. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with what with your stride again. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your minds go after it. The very best job that you can do. There are very few things that are gonna ruin your testimony like taken the easy way out, or taking a shortcut with a job that you been given to do when you been given an assignment or a job or or or or or whatever it is that you will be given to do anything less than that is not acceptable by Dr. Jerry follow used to say that if it's Christian it all to be better.

In other words, we hold ourselves to the standard that God has set for us. He gave his best. He gave everything for our salvation. He gave Jesus before us.

So when we have been employed to do a job. We volunteer to do a job or or is committed to do something. Whatever the context is we are ultimately serving God because he has given his best for us. We in turn give our best for whatever it is we were doing my brother up until a couple years ago worked for a water company and him and I asked him one day I said how do you like working for the water company as I like to work for the most part, he said, but done now when you're driving down the road and there's a crew working beside the road and you see four guys standing outside the whole in the ground they see one guy in the hole in the ground with the shovel he said is it honestly, I feel like that one guy in the whole all the is that I about the only one who gets down and and really puts forth best effort and the end up leaving the job because that was the case eventually no my brother is a hard worker.

He's a go-getter he was going to give his best effort. No matter what other people did but that's the kind of attitude that we should all have the matter what it is that we were doing. Give your best effort. Whatever you can do to make sure that you do your best. That's what this what you do next. Number four.

Be honest. Be honest.

From chapter 11 verse one really speaks to this and it and it hits home because it's a whole lot easier for us to lie or to fudge the facts than it is to tell the truth. Sometimes there are times that nobody would have a clue if we were dishonest about something regarding our work. But here's what God says.

From chapter 11 verse one a false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight is really goes back to him to Bible times when when payment was made. Most based on maybe your purchasing something or there's a service that's been rendered to you and so you're making payment for that won't happen is that the money would be way.

They didn't have the system that we have today in the United States where there's a quantity with a value attached to every item of of of coin they had to weigh the money to see Ari how much do you owe so today when I go pay for something they say $17.10 do I give $17.10 when that day.

There will be a scaling and you would put your your payments on the scale and it would be way to make sure that you're paying the right amount. The problem is that a dishonest person would fabricate the scales to make you pay more than you're supposed to pay for whatever service was rendered. It was dishonest. The scales would be wrong and what Proverbs is saying here is that the false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a adjustable-rate right waits is his delight in today's culture that dishonesty oftentimes looks more like poor quality work or taking advantage of somebody who doesn't know any better. God hates a liar and a dishonest person. God deals fairly in everything that he does.

There's no partiality with God in all that he does and he expects us to do same as Christians to deal fairly with people around us. To be honest in the workplace. Number five avoid self-sufficiency, avoid self-sufficiency and we know what self-sufficiency is. This is the youngest. The thought of the action this says I got it all together and I could do all of this myself without any kind of help is the thought that I'm safe I can handle life on my own. Psalms 127 verse one Pastor Duane read this wars earlier is what it says unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stays awake in vain with the psalmist is saying is that we can make some really great plans but if God is not in those plans. Every bit of it could be gone when I would Hilary and I were in college. She had a professor who invested every bit of his money and talking like all of the savings is retirement everything he had in one stock and he was convinced that this one stock was going to give him financial security for the rest of his life will take care of his family for the rest of their lives. One day he came in the class and class sitting there and he's visibly shaking his crying even. He dismissed the class without even loading, and teaching them is all that money that he had put in that one stock was gone.

Every bit of all of his life savings up to that point were gone he see he had he had put his stock literally, but his stock in life and this money self-sufficiency and was all gone every bit of had nothing left. What makes us think that we can control what happens in this world any of it. Honestly, we can control any of it causing covert is really shown us that self-sufficiency is that close fisted person who holds under the control as much as they can. The person you trust the Lord just approaches life with open hands, God, you take my occupation.

You take my family you take my life.

You do what you see fit with the cool thing is that some Jesus says, God cares about us even cares if you care so much for the birds of the year. What makes us think that he will care for us also. Women always heavily wants these will care for us. Self-sufficiency says on figure myself, only God number six strive to be a blessing to others. Strive to be a blessing to others knowing we know what it's like to come across a person who wants to make sure you are taking care of. They care about you there.

Others minded they got you in mind when and in everything they do. Whether that's friends, coworkers, customers, whatever it is they want to be a blessing to other people. This really goes further to apply to those who have the ability to do so to sharing with other people who may have a need of some kind. We are a blessing to others. Oftentimes this comes in the form of a very simple way that we help meet their need. If you chapter 4 verse 28 let the thief no longer steel but let rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. First Timothy chapter 5 verse eight but if anyone does not provide for his relatives and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever being a blessing is huge for a Christian being a blessing to another person is vital.

The early church modeled this for us as they were getting started. They were sharing with other people. Whoever had a need. Hey, I forgot I got what you need. I can share it with you being the pastor of the church. I often have a front row seat for this as you share with other people who have need some time to have somebody come up to me to say listen, would you give us to such such person. I know they have a need a but I don't want them to know that I'm the one who meeting that need. And I can pass it along, and the incredible blessing that that is the other Christians in the workplace. It works the same way and God allows us to be involved in people's lives and be a blessing to them. He allows us to use the earnings that we received to be a blessing to other people. Number seven develop your skill sets develop your skill sets. Proverbs chapter 22 verse 29. Do you see a man skillful in his work. He will stand before kings, he will not stand before obscure men and Jesus in Matthew chapter 5 says in the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and glorify and give glory to your father who is in heaven. Exodus chapter 31, we see the first time that any specific mention is made in the Bible to a person being filled with the Holy Spirit the whole Bible is the first time it's mentioned exes Dr. 31 is not a priest is not a Levite is not a religious person. It's a craftsman God is recognized how this man is a little name doesn't well developed.

His skill sets. He's a skilled craftsman and God fills him with the Holy Spirit to be able to carry out his work for his glory.

We glorify God when we develop our skill sets. We strive for excellence in those skills is 20 back to the creator. He's the one who created me to do this. Number eight, plan for the future plan for the future. James chapter 4 verse 13 through 15. Come now, you say today or tomorrow we will go into such a such a town us minutes a year there and trade and make a profit that you do not know what tomorrow will bring what your life for you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Instead you also say if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.

Proverbs 24, 27, prepare your work outside get everything ready for yourself in the field and after that the old your house.

Earlier I talked about self-sufficiency and avoiding self-sufficiency.

The idea that I can do it all on my own, avoiding self-sufficiency and planning for the future are two different things planning for the future is honoring God by saying you know what I'm in a take the resources you have blessed me with right now to think about a year down the road to think about 510. 30 years down the road I got. I know that you may change all of my plans but I'm thinking about how I can be a blessing and how I can serve you and glorify you with what you blessed me with Bible talks about planning for the future. This will Proverbs 24, 27 is all about their make sure we think about those years of drought. Also, think about how we can still survive and support a family. If were not able to work anymore in the future. Newest plans might might be futile but is still right for us to plan number nine focus on the task at hand. Focus on the task at hand. Proverbs 28 verse 19 whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty, plenty of bread or plenty of profit poverty and the difference is whether you're chasing worthless pursuits are not now be honest with you I get distracted really really easily sometimes okay. I sit down to try to focus on something and I have to work to focus on it. If it's a struggle for me sometime but I see I know when I can't focus on the task at hand.

I know how it affects everything else so important it is for us whatever job it is. Whatever were doing focus on the task at hand. 10. Know your justification.

Know your justification. You can find justification a whole lot of things you find invited and in your job itself and find it in the completion of a job, the money you earn from a job you can find justification your family, your education anything you probably heard the saying, the end justifies the means. The end justifies the means of the word I can do whatever it takes to get the results that I want, I can do whatever I want to hear to make sure I get to this point. But here's the deal for the Christian we already have a justification that takes this whole thing to a completely new level. Glacier chapter 2 verse 16. Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus. In order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

Our justification as Christians comes through Jesus and his finished work for us on the cross, our justification for all of life is secured and that we don't have to seek justification anywhere else. We are already ultimately winners this justification by faith in Jesus comes with certain expectations. Listen you as a Christian may have found justification, but there's a whole lot of people around you who have not.

They have a coming contact with with that justification through faith in Jesus yet and you're the best chance of them finding Jesus. So while your justification is secured. Don't slack and in doing what is right and in doing it all to the best of your ability because there is still someone else out there who is seeking justification through their job or their education or the money that they make, or whatever it is, but may they find justification for life through you ball us down for second we want to feel fulfilled and something we do find fulfillment in work we do find fulfillment in completed jobs.

That's right wrist, right to be prideful in the Christian we've already been justified. We don't have to seek ultimate justification.

It's Artie there and what a blessing that is number 11 work for the glory of God work for the glory of God. So whether you eats for strength in chapter 10 verse 31 whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God's whatever you set your mind to doing whether it's teaching or a trade of some kind of working in a factory or banking or being a stay-at-home mom or something a metal for the medical field or for ministry. Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God, not for my glory not to build myself up to God.

How can you get glory from this and the number 12.

Cultivate your mission field. Cultivate your mission field. There was a pastor who once had a lady who visited his church and he asked Teresa how did you come to visit and she told the pastor that she worked for a media company that was there and in this town and down that she had made a huge mistake. The week before and she had cost the company an enormous amount of money. She said I should have been fired from a mistake about the time we realize what was going on.

Immediately, my manager stepped up and he took the blame for what happened. He said it was his fault that this had taken place in the fault line in the fact that if he had trained her properly that she never would've made that mistake and this is a popular supervisor and and and 80 was well liked by a lot of people from for this reason, he had high character, but his reputation still took a hit. She told us faster than she went into his office and she cried and cried and cried. She said why in the world did you do that. She said you shouldn't have taken the fall for this, but he told her he said don't worry about it. Listen, it's all the work out to be all right. She's not used to that she's used to a manager taking the credit for what she did right but never taking the blame for what she did wrong so she asked him, said, why in the world did you do that is response. I did it because it was the right thing and because that's what Jesus did for me.

He took the fall I deserved and she told this pastor she said I just simply had to find out more about this Jesus that he was talking about. So that's why came to church now. This manager did what was right but in doing what was right. He cultivated his mission field.

Your workplace is a mission field. No matter what that workplace is a call you to the great commission Jesus sends us out with these words.

Jesus came to them and said all authority in heaven on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the some of you here this morning and you work you have job that you work every single day on others or students.

Some of your retired but it doesn't matter what your vocation is what stage in life. You are in you are called to make disciples as you go throughout whatever life God has called you and what is placed you in right now. So cultivate turn up that mission field.

No matter what your field is 12 things I thought about as I was as I was looking God's word and what God's word had to say about work this week. Labor Day is a today of resting from our jobs, but I pray that for you. It's also a day for you to reflect so based on what we talked about here today based on what we talked about what God's word has to say about work and worship. Remember together. Am I honoring God through my vocation or whatever state God has me in right now. Am I honoring God through the sun encourage you hold that list that you got there in the handout and read it tomorrow today tomorrow.

Think about Gautama honoring you with this and adapt your life to make sure that you are honoring God with your and I would say listen, don't forget, as a Christian you don't operate under your own power. You are operate through Christ's power in you spray father, thank you for what you had to say about work or time here.

We could talk about it for just a little while father was you mold and shape our lives to where we honor you no matter what we do. I know that I'm speaking to people here who do work jobs, some who were students, some who are retired somewhere stay-at-home moms father what ever it is that you have called us to do it as a opportunity to worship you through our faithfulness to our work or would you honor us as we honor you. We love you, father in Jesus name, amen


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