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What Makes Our Work

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
October 17, 2022 9:00 am

What Makes Our Work

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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October 17, 2022 9:00 am

No matter what your job is, we all have days when we feel like just another cog in the machine. But Pastor J.D. challenges us to take a higher view of our careers.

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Today on Summit Life, Pastor J.D. Greer talks about worshiping at your work. What I really want you to learn is how to serve and follow Jesus 8 to 5, Monday through Friday, where you spend the majority of your week. So here's going to be my question for us today. What does it look like for your work to be Christian?

What is it about a business that makes a business a Christian business? Welcome back to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer. As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovich, and I'm thankful that you joined us today. You know, whether you're working your dream job or just punching the clock to get a paycheck, we all have the days when we feel like just another cog in the machine. We might even start wondering if what we're doing even matters.

We might even start to slack off as long as our paycheck stays the same. Today, Pastor J.D. challenges us to take a higher view of our careers, a view that gives meaning and purpose no matter what job we're working. Grab your Bible for today's teaching titled What Makes Our Work.

For most of us, our adult lives, the majority of our adult lives is spent at work. And I have explained to you that, in my opinion, the church has done a patently bad job at preparing you to follow Jesus at work. We talk about following Jesus as if it is primarily something that you do after hours, something you do when you volunteer at the church after your job is done, where you get involved on the weekend, you get involved in a small group, and that's how we talk.

We're like, hey, you want to serve Jesus? Be involved in your church. You want to serve Jesus? Be involved in a small group. You want to serve Jesus? Go on a mission trip. You need to give generously. And of course, all those things are important.

They really are. But what I really want you to learn is how to serve and follow Jesus eight to five, Monday through Friday, where you spend the majority of your week. So here's going to be my question for us today.

Here's my question. What does it look like for your work to be Christian? What does it look like for your work to be Christian? What is it about a business that makes a business a Christian business?

Now, first, let me acknowledge that there are a lot of really bad answers to that question. A lot of people think making a business Christian means that you attach some cheesy Christian bad name to it. Like, you know, you open a restaurant called the Garden of Eden, you know, the Garden of Eden, and that makes that Christian. Or having a hair salon called His Clips or a Cut Above or how about this, a coffee shop called Holy Grounds or one of my favorites, Hebrews.

Hebrews, that's your coffee shop. Some people think that it means that a Christian business is one where you force awkward evangelism moments into work situations, kind of inappropriate, socially awkward things. Like I have an article up here from the Associated Press, February 7th, 2004, about an American Airlines pilot who in his pre-flight announcements had everybody, he asked everybody on board, he said, he said, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, would you raise your hand in the cabin?

How do I raise their hand? Then he said to everybody else on the flight, if you have questions about what will happen to you when you die or what will happen to you in eternity, you should ask the people who have their hands raised right now. I will be walking throughout the cabin in the flight and if you have questions, I will be happy to answer them and I'll be available after the flight. Well, I mean, it freaked a lot of people out, right? I mean, you imagine your pilot of your airplane asking you whether you're ready to meet Jesus or not. You can understand that an American Airlines fired this guy. I mean, you got to, I mean, you got to admire the guy's zeal, right? You're like, I admire the guy's zeal.

He'd just gotten back, by the way, the article said from a mission trip that he'd taken to South America and he's just fired up about mission and wanted to apply where he lived. And you're like, well, I admire that guy's zeal, but I couldn't do that either because I would get fired. So is that what it means for a business to be Christian, that you're creating inappropriate, awkward evangelism moments?

That's what a lot of people think. A lot of people just think that work will never really be in and of itself Christian. They think work is like a necessary evil that you and I go through to provide money for our family.

They think, well, what God really wants from my job is to make enough money to put food on the table, maybe get my kids into college. And then he wants me to give a bunch of weight to his work. Guys, and you know, listen, you know I don't want to discourage those things. So yes, we need volunteers. What we do here is vital in reaching our community.

And your generous giving toward what goes on here helps us reach the million or so lost people that live in our city. So I'm not trying to discourage that. I'm just trying to tell you there is more at work in what you're doing at work than simply making a bunch of money just to give it away. Work is not a necessary evil that you and I put up with to make money so that we can serve Jesus Christ the rest of our week except for those 40 hours right in the middle. So what I want to try and give to you this weekend are five different things from Scripture that make your work in and of itself Christian. Five things that make your work in and of itself Christian. Okay, now you guys know that my normal approach here is to take one passage of Scripture and kind of camp out in that particular passage, but I'm not going to do that this morning.

I'm actually going to be kind of jumping all over the Bible and so I hope you'll give me the grace to do that because there's some things I want to try to tie together for you because I'm hoping when you come out of this you're going to see your work and your calling, your vocation entirely different than you did when you came in. Five things that make work in and of itself Christian. Number one, creation fulfilling.

Creation fulfilling. Let's start with Genesis 2 15 way back at the original creation. Genesis 2 15 said the Lord God after he had made Adam and Eve and made the earth the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and to keep it. Now you should notice that this is before the curse which means that this is God's original plan for man. God had created this beautiful garden and he put a man and woman in it and before there was sin and before there was a curse they had a job. It's very important to understand work was not a curse like before then they would have been lounging around having angels you know feed them bonbons and rub their feet. Work was something God put into the original creation it was something he designed us to do something he gave us the capacity to enjoy doing. That word work there is a very interesting and important Hebrew word. It is the Hebrew word Abad. Abad is a word that means more than just that means more than just work it means to prepare it means to develop it means to develop something. Do you remember the word that God used over and over again about creation itself whenever God created throughout the seven days it says God made it and it was there's a God made it and it was good that's right now good is good but good is not perfect perfect means cannot be improved upon it means it's it's absolutely perfect there's nothing you can do with it good means that while the essence of it is good there's still some work to be done when you guys see my wife at church her hair and her makeup all exquisite all dressed up she's perfect she's perfect you cannot improve upon that when I wake up next to her in the morning she's good all right all the raw materials are there of beauty there's a little cultivating to be done God put us in a world that was good which means that we were which means that we were to take the raw materials of the earth and develop them for his glory the farmer takes the raw materials of soil and seed and cultivates them into crops the architect takes the raw materials of sand and cement and creates buildings for us to live in the artist takes the raw materials of color or music and arranges them into art pieces that we enjoy the lawyer takes principles of fairness and justice and codifies them into laws that benefit society the insurance agent helps create systems that that protect us when we go through unexpected events in our lives this is all part of God's plan that's how he cares for us through the skills that he's given to different ones of us to take his creation and to develop it God is sovereignly at work in our secular vocations loving one another here's how Martin Luther the great reformer said this and I quote when we pray the Lord's prayer know the Lord's prayer when we pray the Lord's prayer we ask God to give us this day our daily bread and he does give us our daily bread but how does he do it how does he do it well he does it by means of the farmer who planted and harvested the grain the baker who made the flour into bread the person who prepared our meal guy named Gene Edward Veith wrote a book recently called God at Work and he adds this he said we might today add the truck drivers who hauled the produce the factory workers and the food processing plant the warehouse men the wholesale distributors the stock boys and the lady of the checkout counter also playing their part where the bankers development investors advertisers lawyers agricultural scientists mechanical engineers and every other player in the nation's economic system all of these were instrumental in enabling you to eat that morning bagel though God could have given it to you directly he could right by miraculous provision he once did that for the children of Israel with the manna he just dropped the bagels on the ground in the morning let him pick them up he could do that if he wanted but that's not normally how he chooses to work he works through human beings who in their different capacities and according to their different talents serve each other what that means is that God is present in the world through your secular vocation whether you're a believer or not God is at work in that secular vocation that secular talent that he has given to you providentially caring for others through you so in other words your secular ordinary work of farming or building or teaching math God is at work in all those jobs taking care of his creation and loving people here's a quick example Exodus 31 verse 1 the Lord said this to Moses see I have called by name Bezalel and I filled him with the spirit of God stop filled him with the spirit of God what comes next oh you feel the spirit of God what you got boldness for witnessing right you the ability to preach the ability to pray write God's songs speak in tongues that's what happens you get filled with the spirit right look at the next phrase with ability and intelligence knowledge and all craftsmanship to devise artistic designs to work in gold silver and bronze for cutting stones for setting and carving wood to work in every craft and behold I have appointed unto him a holy ab and I've given to all able men ability that they may make all that I have commanded you God filled with these guys with the spirit and gave them abilities not as preachers not as songwriters not as singers not even as people who prayed in this situation but he filled them with the spirit and they expressed that through their skill and the secular vocation that they had and they were every bit as filled with the spirit of God and doing that as Moses was in his preaching and leading we'll return to our teaching on Summit Life with J.D. Greer in just a moment but I wanted to tell you about our featured resource meant to help you reach out to that person who has been on your mind as the holidays near we want to set you up for success both with the shareable teaching here on the program as well as a resource to help you reach out to others we've created a set of greeting cards with inspirational verses on the front and blank space on the inside for you to use maybe this year around the holidays or really any time throughout the year to encourage others with a handwritten note we all know the power of receiving a personal message in the mail so why not extend that gift to someone you love this set of 20 cards comes with your generous gift to the ministry so give us a call at 866-335-5220 or check it out at now let's get back to the conclusion of today's teaching here on Summit Life here's Pastor J.D. Greer have you not felt this you do something at work that you're good at and there is something I mean it's strange it's almost supernatural and you don't even really know how to to put it into words but what's happening is whether even sometimes even if you're not a believer you are sensing this you're sensing the glory of God that is being manifested through you in that secular vocation because he designs you that way and he is working in you that way and you never knew how to articulate it but this is exactly what's going on is that God is glorifying himself through that secular vocation when you do your job when you are leading when you are putting together that corporation when you are teaching when you are developing when you are building you have sensed the pleasure of God at work inside of you and you may not even have known what to call it God gave you that gift and here's something maybe even cooler you'll probably be doing some form of that job even in heaven I love Tim Keller's thoughts on this he says quote when we get to heaven ministers and doctors will have to have new job training whereas architects and art and artists will not why well you're not going to need somebody to heal your body in heaven you're not going to need somebody yelling at you every week telling you to live right right so it means we all I got a question how many of you all over campuses how many of you are either in the medical profession or headed there or in the ministry profession or headed there raise your hand put it up real high I got bad news for what looks like a majority of you all right you're going to have to get new job training in heaven I'm already by the way lobby lobby lobbying for management up there when I when I get a new job either that or want to be the stunt double for Vin Diesel that's the other thing I've asked God if I could do we are you we're going to get new jobs you don't need you're not going to be preaching the word of God to you you're going to be in the presence of the word of God himself but there are others of you that have been given gifts and skills that you will as far as we can see be using on through eternity because God gave work not after the curse but before it which means that after the curse was reversed we're going to go back to what God originally created which is to have jobs that bring glory to him and that benefit one another see so I'm telling you some of you need to rethink your job fundamentally you need to think about your job as a gift that is given to you by God to develop creation for the glory of God for the benefit of other human beings and you need to have the attitude of serving one another serving other people in that job not just making money one of my favorite authors is a guy named Patrick Lincoln your favorite business authors far as I know not a Christian but he wrote a book recently called three signs of a miserable job now some of you meet when I say that because I could write down three right now and just to describe my week three signs of a miserable job and what he does is is he gives you what these signs are and one of them that really got a hold of my attention was he said that one of the ways that work becomes miserable to you is when you disconnect it mentally from those to whom you're bringing help and happiness to through your job the whole book is built around this kind of fable this this parable of a guy who retires from you know corporate America and goes into a little pizza parlor that's struggling on the on the verge of bankruptcy and he takes over this pizza parlor and one of the things that he notices is how bad everybody's attitude is in the pizza parlor they all do their jobs poorly and so he teaches them in part how to start seeing how their jobs are making people's lives better for example he shows the delivery guy that when he gets people's orders right and he gets them to their homes on time that helps those people have a great evening and he can have a joy just to know him that he's helping somebody have a great evening he chose the cashier how smiling as she rings people up at the checkout counter helps people feel like they had a great experience in the money they spent eating out all this he says contributes not only to the success of the restaurant but to the enjoyment of the employees themselves lincony goes on to say that there is a natural joy that we find in serving others here is the secret that lincony may or may not understand because i don't know if he knows god at all but here's the secret that he's talking about in that book you have that kind of joy because god designed you that way and all this secular book did was fall across something that the bible's been teaching for years when you see your work connected to god's creation mandate to develop the earth to his glory and the good of others you'll start to get a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction out of it so the first way that christian that work is christian in and of itself is that it is creation fulfilling and done with an attitude of service toward others here's the second way that work is in and of itself christian number two excellence pursuing excellence pursuing this is going to be found in the book of colossians chapter 3 the work that we do is christian when we do it according to the highest standards of excellence because we are doing it first and foremost for god colossians 3 17 whatever you do whatever you do do it in in word or deed whether in word or deed do everything in the name of the lord jesus here's the bottom line can you attach the name of the lord jesus to the quality of your job can you attach the name of the lord jesus to the quality of your job that's what paul is getting that here in everything give thanks to god the father through him can you give thanks in your job yes your bad job can you give thanks to him for the work that you're doing in it verse 22 slaves obey in everything those who are your earthly masters not by way of eye service as people pleasers but with sincerity of heart fearing the lord now hold on for a minute some of you right there say wait a minute is paul is paul condoning slavery right there no two reasons one first of all that word slave there really would be translated something more like what we would think of as an an indentured servant right that said the whole indentured servitude thing that was a very unjust socioeconomic system also and he's saying to them you guys that are in a very unfortunate place because you are in an unjust economic system you still ought to realize that that work you're doing you're not doing for that master you're not doing for that boss you're doing it for god first and foremost here's what's significant about that for you and me many of you find yourselves in bad jobs where you don't like your boss is that right some of you like wow i feel like my job owns me well for these people their boss literally did own them and he's saying even to them the work that you do is not done for them it's done for god so if that's true for them of course it's true for us that those of us whatever situation we're in however poorly we are being treated our jobs are done first and foremost he says for god for god verse 23 whatever you do work heartily as for the lord and not for men verse 24 knowing that from the lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward for you are serving in all things the lord christ for the wrongdoer or read that slacker for the slacker will be paid back for the wrong that he has done and there is no partiality with that boss in every job i do in every assignment i complete every chore i do at home every paper i turn in in school i am doing it first and foremost for christ and when they say why are you working why is your work so diligent why it is so good regardless of whether or not you get recognized regardless whether or not you get a raise and you're able to say here's why here's why my motivation is different than yours is i'm not just working for the paycheck i'm working for the master let me get really nasty here for a minute can i can i do that some of you your job performance is a terrible testimony to christ some of you students your academic performance is a terrible testimony to christ your mouth or your t-shirts or your bracelet might say that jesus is lord but the way you conduct yourself at work says i do whatever i feel like doing whatever i feel like doing which basically means i am lord so your mouth says jesus is lord but the quality of your job says that you are lord the best thing that some of you could do at work is to keep your mouth shut about jesus because your job performance is so poor and your attitude is so bad well that's actually the second best thing you could do the first best thing you could do would be to repent and start obeying this verse and then start working so diligently that it would bring glory to the god that you're serving in all situations regardless of whether people notice regardless of whether you get reward or regardless of the quality of your your boss you catch that whole thing with the slaves masters thing to get his point there paul was sowing into that culture the seeds that would ultimately undo the entire system of slavery when people argued why slavery and indentured servanthood was unjust they used these texts right here saying see paul saying that no person has really the right to to lord over another person but he's just speaking to people in their situation and saying everything you do everything you do is for god first not for people so the second thing that makes work in and of itself christian is that it is excellence pursuing number three third thing that makes work christian holiness reflecting when it's holiness reflecting this is also from colossians three listen our work should make it obvious that we serve a god of justice a god of fairness and a god of kindness our work should reflect his character which means that our work conforms to the highest standards of ethics i i do not know honestly all the answers here because each field has its own ethical issues some of which i don't even know how to pronounce but what i do know is that our work is to reflect the equity justice and kindness of god's character so paul says this in colossians four masters treat your servants justly and fairly knowing that you also have a master in heaven in other words in every work interaction you have you got a master in heaven to whom you will report so you treat somebody unfairly because they either a won't find out about it or b can't do anything about it paul says well you got a master in heaven who will find out about it and will always do something about it you might be able to get away with cheating others but you will never get away he says with cheating god some of you have this disconnect you cheat and you cut corners at work you short customers all the while maintaining faithful church attendance as if god is happier with your participation than he is with your emulation of his character in your jobs you want to know what he wants from you is not more church attendance what he wants for you is to walk in integrity and kindness and generosity and to reflect his character in the way that you in the way that you work do those words describe your character in your workplace maybe it's time to adjust your perspective you're listening to summit life with pastor and author jd greer if you joined us a little late today you can hear this message again free of charge at and while you're on there be sure to check out all the other resources we have like the summit life blog one of our big goals here at summit life is to set you up for success with teaching and resources that you can share with others so i'm excited to tell you about the fun new resource we have for you this month we've packaged together a set of 20 greeting cards each card has an inspirational bible verse on the front and is blank inside for you to use this year around the holidays or really any time throughout the year we all know the power of receiving a handwritten note so give that gift of encouragement to someone you care about right now for a gift of 35 this month we'll send you this box set of greeting cards call 866-335-5220 or give online at i'm molly vidovich inviting you to join us again tomorrow we will continue this message called what makes our work that's tuesday on summit life with jd greer today's program was produced and sponsored by jd greer ministries
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-03 11:37:13 / 2022-12-03 11:47:19 / 10

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