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Work as Worship, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
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January 23, 2023 9:00 am

Work as Worship, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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January 23, 2023 9:00 am

Why do you get up and go to work every morning? Pastor J.D. explains how God wants us to think about our careers and challenges us to view them through the lens of the gospel.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. Worshipful work seeks to advance Jesus' mission where it can. Worshipful work seeks to advance Jesus' mission where it can because the Great Commission is the last marching order that Jesus gave to us. So work done by disciples of Jesus is always done with a view toward the Great Commission. Hey, welcome back for another week of teaching here on Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer of the Summit Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.

As always, I'm your host, Molly Vitovich. Okay, have you ever woken up, especially on Mondays like today, and wondered, why do you go to work every day? Is it just to earn a paycheck?

Do you bide your time until the weekend so that you can stay home again and rest? Or are you trying to get to the next promotion? Or is there a higher purpose for your work? Today, Pastor J.D. explains how God wants us to think about our careers and challenges us to view them through the lens of the gospel. We know you don't want to miss any of Pastor J.D. 's messages, so if you ever need to catch up, you can hear previous broadcasts from the God and the Rest of the Week teaching series by visiting online at But for now, let's return to our teaching, titled Work as Worship.

Here's Pastor J.D. Believe it or not, the Bible actually has a lot to say about our work. Surely it is not coincidental that of all the the parables that Jesus told, the majority of them take place in the workplace.

And of the miracles that the apostles do in the book of Acts, 39 out of 40 of them take place outside of the church. What these things are showing you is that the God of the Bible is as concerned with displaying his power outside of the church as he is displaying it inside the church. So I want to suggest to you five ways that you can worship God while you work.

Genesis 2 is where I'm going to be first, and then Colossians 3. Number one, worshipful work fulfills God's purposes in creation. Work that is worship fulfills God's purposes in creation. In Genesis 2 15, God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden with the assignment to work the ground and to keep it.

This was before the curse. So this work was not a punishment that God gave to man after he'd sinned. It wasn't like the original plan for man was that he would sit around in the garden, eat bon bons and have, you know, angels massage his feet. And then after he sinned, then God's like, now you got to get a job.

No, this is part of the original creation. The word that God used for work literally means in Hebrew to prepare or to develop. You see, there are some of you who in your work feel this almost divine satisfaction. Maybe you're not even a Christian and you're not even sure what to call it, but you just know that there is something when you are working where you feel like you're doing what you're born to do. The word vocation comes from the Latin word voca, which means to call. Calling is not something that just applies to those of us who were in ministry. Calling is something of vocation is what God put into you. And he didn't all make you like me.

Thank God. He made you good at what he did because you are the mass that he wears to serve the world and to create through you. Number two, worshipful work pursues the highest standards of excellence. Worshipful work pursues the highest standards of excellence. If we do our work unto God, then that means we do it excellently, listen to this, for God, regardless of the reward we get from it, regardless from the recognition. Paul says this, Colossians 3 23, whatever you do, 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 because you, he says, first and foremost, you're serving the Lord Christ. You have a higher boss, he says, than your employer.

You work for a greater reward than recognition or salary. Number three, worshipful work reflects the highest standards of ethics. The idea of a lack of integrity in the workplace, that's nothing new, but work that worships God will conform to the highest standards of ethics because that work seeks to demonstrate and to reflect the justice and the integrity of the God that we work for. Business ethics really matter to the believer because our work is done first and foremost unto God and our ethical practices reflect on God. So God says this in Proverbs 11 one, listen to this, a false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight. A false balance for us means fudging a mileage report.

It means padding a business expense. Those things God says are an abomination to him. Abomination, that's a varsity word.

It's only used a handful of times in the Old Testament and you would not like the other things that God calls an abomination. Number four, worshipful work makes blessing others its bottom line. To follow Jesus means that you think about your life the way that Jesus thought about his. And the thing that characterized Jesus' life was leveraging his position of strength and power not to build his own kingdom, but to serve others. So Paul would say, 2 Corinthians 8, 9, a verse I quote to you all the time. Paul says, remember the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, though he had a position of power, though he was influential, though he was massive promotions were in his future, though he was rich for your sake, he became poor, so that you through his poverty would become rich. And Paul, the implication is, that's how you ought to think about your life. God has made you rich in various places.

You may be rich in money, you might be rich in talent, you might be rich in position. He says, take those things and leverage them to bless others and serve others the way that Jesus leveraged his to serve you. When we talk about calling for a businessman, I think the clearest parable that I could give you that Jesus told, because a lot of the parables almost make, you know, there's a parable that they're good for people that are going to the mission field and to serve in ministry and that kind of thing. Here's one that I think is classic for a business person.

I've given it to you before, but let me walk you through it real quick. Jesus is at a party and he looks around the party. The party is thrown by a rich man and there's a bunch of other rich people there. Jesus wasn't rich, but he could raise the dead and walk on water and so that got him into places like rich people parties. And so Jesus looks around at all these rich people and he turns to his disciples and he says, when you throw a party, don't do this. Don't invite a bunch of other rich people who can pay you back. Instead, you to your party ought to invite the poor, the lame, the blind, people without jobs, people that can never pay you back in this life and then you'll be rewarded in the resurrection of the just. Now to get the scandalous nature of what Jesus is saying, you got to realize, listen, that business parties in those days were how business was done. What Jesus is counseling here is economic suicide because what happened is as if I'm a rich man, I invite all my rich friends and they all get to get to know each other, right? And then they can do business together. But then kind of the payoff is my rich friend that I invited to my party to get to know my friends now invites me to his party to get to know his circle of friends. And then I do business with all of them. That's how business got done.

What Jesus is telling them to do is economic suicide. Listen, he is not giving you rules for how you put together your birthday list. He is commanding you to think about your life through a certain filter. And that is, listen, if your life were a party, if your life, think of it in the metaphor of a party. If your life were a party, who would you be throwing your party for? The party of your job.

Who's it thrown for? Are you throwing your party for those who can benefit you back so that your life is about building this kingdom? Or have you leveraged your party to give it away for people who may never be able to pay you back in this life because Jesus said, that's what it means to follow me. You say, well, what does that actually look like in business? Well, it'll start with just your attitude. In your attitude, you'll have this sense that I'm serving other people. And that's going to give you a certain joy. It's going to give you a certain spirit that you serve with.

It's going to look like it's a joy to do what you do for other people, because you're doing it as a way of washing their feet and you get to be like Jesus in that. It very likely might mean that you begin to look for places within your job that you can extend the grace and the mercy and the beauty of the gospel. For those of you who own businesses, it means that you think about more than merely personal profit in your bottom line. And you start to ask questions like this, I know we might make a profit from this, but is it genuinely helpful to people? I know that I can make money. For example, if you're a medical professional, you might say, I know we can make money off this. I know it's legal, but is it genuinely helpful to people? Because there's a lot of things in that field that you know can make money that aren't really in the patient's best interest. Or you start to ask questions like, how can I use this business not just to enrich myself?

How do I use it to bless other people? Now, I'm not trying to, listen, hear this, I'm not trying to draw dichotomy between making money and blessing others. There is a silly little notion out, it's kind of popular among especially people that are kind of young and into, you're like, oh, well, business is bad, profit's bad. That's just not right.

It's not even biblical. A good business actually blesses the community. I was reading this article that was showing how there are several good businesses that have been in the greatest anti-poverty campaigns in the world, a whole lot more effective than NGOs, non-government organizations that are just giving away charity. The good business kind of makes the water in the harbor rise so that all the boats rise. So I'm not drawing a dichotomy there. But I'm just saying that if you are in business and you are in control of the business, you think not just about personal profits, but you think about blessing everybody involved. For example, certain kinds of development might be good for a few people, might be profitable, but they're harmful for the majority of people. To think through the lens of the gospel would mean also that you give away a lot of the personal profits that you make from business.

Why? Second Corinthians 8 and 9, because you remember the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, though he was rich, for my sake became poor. So you start to say, yes, God has given me a lot of money through this. I'm not going to use that to increase my standard of living. I'm going to use it to increase my standard of giving because I want to do what Jesus did.

And he gave me this large amount of money so that I could leverage it, not to build my own kingdom, but to build this. Make it an integral part of our lives. We must know scripture first before we can teach it or apply it as God desires. So that's why we are offering our new Summit Life Memory Verse Cards this month and making it easier to memorize scripture. We offered a pack of scripture memory cards this time last year. And because we believe so strongly in this discipline, we are at it again with another brand new pack of 52, one for each week of the year. Support Summit Life right now by giving us a call at 866-335-5220.

Or you can always give online at Now, before I go on to our last one, and then I got a quick word of warning for you, let me point something out, all right? Many people wonder how to be an effective witness for Jesus in the workplace. I'm telling you, just doing these four things are going to set you apart and create all kinds of venues for you to share Christ. Peter said this, 1 Peter 3 15, in your hearts honor Christ, the Lord is holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anybody who asks you for a reason for the hope that's in you. Peter's context that he's writing into, 1 Peter, is a lot like ours, a hostile environment toward the gospel. So you can't go in with your Jesus bracelet and just tell everybody, hey, come at lunch, I'm going to preach to you.

He knew you couldn't do that. So what he said is, in your heart, honor Christ, the Lord is holy, which means do everything for him like I've been explaining to you. And what's going to happen are people are going to come up to you and they're going to say, I got to know why you do what you do. You ought to live, conduct your business in such a way that it makes people ask questions.

I don't get it. Why do you have such joy in the way that you serve? Why is it that you work so excellently even when the boss rewards somebody else for what you did? Why is it that you forgive? Why don't you hold grudges?

Why don't you talk about people? Why do you leverage what you have? Why do you give away so much money? What?

Tell me about this hope that is inside you. Here's a question for you that are in business. When is the last time somebody came up to you at your work and asked you that question? Because Peter thinks that it should be happening almost all the time.

You get that? You ought to be living in such a way that people see there has got to be a hope motivating them that I cannot understand and I cannot see, and I got to know what it is. Otherwise, you wouldn't have such joy, you wouldn't have such a forgiveness, and you wouldn't be so generous.

Are you living in such a way that people are asking that question? Well, that leads me to number five. I say lastly, but I got a word of warning after this because I know it ticks you off when I say in conclusion and then do that twice. Here's your word. I'm giving you two conclusions. Conclusion A. Worshipful work seeks to advance Jesus' mission where it can. Worshipful work seeks to advance Jesus' mission where it can because the Great Commission is the last marching order that Jesus gave to us. So work done by disciples of Jesus is always done with a view toward the Great Commission. I believe that the next wave of missions, international missions, is going to happen on the wings of business. You see most, listen to this, most of the countries in the world that are in greatest need of a gospel witness are also those in greatest need of business development. It's fascinating.

If you lay a map of world evangelization over top of a map of world poverty, you will find that the areas that are least evangelized and also least developed are nearly identical. You know what that means? It means that you business people have an extraordinary opportunity that guys like me do not have. We call it the 1040 window.

That name really comes from the fact that it's the tenth parallel and the 40th parallel and it's where most of the lost people who have never heard about Jesus in the world live. Window implies it's kind of hard to get into and that's a good description because it is hard to get into. But for you business people, it's not a window, it's a door because they are giving you an invitation saying please bring your profitable business into here, help empower our people, and you know what? You can carry the gospel with you as you go. And I want to help you understand, those of you that are in positions for you to actually do something like this, I want to help you understand how your life can count for the great commission.

Maybe, you ever think about this? Maybe God made you good at that skill so you could take Him to places where He is not known. And here's the question, what if God made you good at that skill to open up a whole nation to the gospel? And He gave you an inheritance that was greater than a bonus at the end of the year. He gave you an eternal kingdom.

Not every Christian, I realize, is going to be led to perform their business in an unreached people group. But I just want you to ask the question because see, I've told you this, when I was in college, I had the wrong view of how God called people. I was like, okay God, I'm going to go into law and God, if you want me to do something in my life for you, then just let me know. I mean, I was expecting it to be like, you know, the writing in the sky or the Virgin Mary appearing in the foam of my caramel macchiato with a little message, you know, do this. And it just never happened. And then I learned something about the will of God that absolutely changed how I looked at life.

And it should change how you look at life. And that is, you should not be waiting around on Jesus to tell you that He wants you to leverage your life for the great commission. He already did that. That call was in the original call to follow Jesus.

That's not a secondary call. That's the first call. He said, follow me and I will make you a fisher of men, which means that it is your responsibility to ask the question, how your life can best be leveraged for the purpose of the great commission.

The question is no longer, if you're called to be a part of the great commission, the question is simply where and how are the most effective places. So quit asking Jesus questions that He's already answered. And you start saying, Jesus guide me in showing me where I'm supposed to leverage my skill for the purposes of your kingdom.

Here's the way we say it to our college graduates. Whatever you do, do it well for the glory of God. Do it somewhere strategic for the mission of God. Whatever you do, not all of you are called to be pastors or be like me, thank God, right? You're called in a vocation. Whatever you do, dentist, lawyer, do it well for the glory of God.

Do it somewhere strategic. Why is it that the major factors behind where we get jobs or where we make the most money, where we want to live or where our family is? I'm just going to throw out to you that those probably aren't the kingdom's biggest priorities.

I'm not saying they can't be considered at all. I'm just saying, why don't you make the main priorities where you can be involved in the mission of God? Why not choose the city you pursue employment in based on where you can be effective for the mission? Do what you do well for the glory of God. Do it somewhere strategic for the mission of God. That is a missional vision I think all of us should adopt.

And even one more thing for you business people. Do you see a man? Proverbs 22, 29. Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings.

He will not stand before obscure men. In other words, do your work well. Do your work well. And then you will stand before the lost kings of the world. And when you do, you tell them about the Jesus that gave you the ability to do what you do.

Now, here's my word of warning. Word of warning is this, worship God, not your work. Work that is worship worships God, not its work. You see, when Adam and Eve fell, listen to this, our relationship to work fundamentally changed.

What God had given us to be something that we enjoyed, to be something that brought him glory, and to be something that served other people became instead for us our primary source of identity and idolatry. You see that, now this is fascinating, in Adam and Eve's descendants. Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain killed Abel. Seth kind of replaced Abel.

Cain was the ungodly line. Abel, Seth was the godly line. In Genesis 4, you see their descendants and you see the most subtle, fascinating distinction. When it lists out the descendants of Cain, it lists out all their jobs. It says these guys were good with farms, and these guys were good at building cities, and these guys were good with music.

What was happening, listen, is they were becoming defined by their work. That culminates in Genesis 11 at the Tower of Babel, when the descendants of Cain have built this massive tower, the Tower of Babel, as a declaration about how awesome they are. What God gave them, their work, to be something that they were supposed to do for the benefit of humans, to say, look at how awesome God is, instead became something that they used to say, look how awesome we are. In contrast to that are the descendants of Seth, listen, who were not defined by their work in Genesis 4.

Look at it. They were defined instead as, Genesis 4.25, those who began to call upon the name of the Lord. The point is not, of course, that worshipers of God don't work or that they work less. The point is that worshipers of God are not primarily defined by their work.

Instead, they are defined by the name of the Lord, whom they worship. Because of the fall, many of us worship our work and that we make it our identity. Right? It's like the second question we ask people. What's your name? What do you do? Many of us are defined. I know many people who are defined by the fact that they don't have to work anymore. I'm independently wealthy. I don't have to work. I'm awesome.

Right? We define ourselves by our work or our relationship to work. Work is our primary source of security, which is why you are so paranoid about losing your job. It's why you're so discouraged about not having gotten ahead farther.

It's why the thought of, it's just why it's because it's displaced. God is your primary source of security in your identity. Let me tell you this. Do not worship your work. Work is a terrible master. God is a much better master. God is a much better God. God will do much more in giving you an identity because you are a son or a daughter of the king, regardless of your position.

He is also a much better security giver than work ever could be. Because what he says to you is this, listen, I'm the one who took care of your primary problem, which was not a lack of education. It was not a lack of talent, and it was not a lack of money. Your primary problem is that you were cursed and dead in your sin. And I loved you so much. I came and I took that penalty into myself and I gave you new life. And don't you think that if I took care of your primary problem, I'm going to take care of your day-to-day needs also? God is a much better God than work is. So give your soul to God and then work, right? And not give your soul to work and then occasionally serve God.

Here's how we say it. When Jesus is your life, you could actually enjoy the rest of your life. When Jesus is your security and your identity, and you don't look to work for that, then you start to enjoy work. But when work is your identity and your security, then it becomes toilsome.

Then it becomes something that causes you a great deal of fear. Summit, listen, I do not want us to ignore this part of your lives. Because just time-wise, it's the major part of your life. It's where you spend 85% of your week. Work matters to God and God matters to your work.

You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer and a message from our series titled God and the Rest of the Week. JD, as I shared earlier, we have a handy new resource this month to help us memorize 52 Bible verses this next year. But I know what some people are thinking. Scripture memory seems like a kid activity. So why is it so important for us as adults to keep up this practice too? Yeah, Molly, I could probably list a dozen reasons why this is such an important thing for the sake of time. Number one, I mean, Jesus memorized Scripture.

Right. When the enemy came at him, it was clear that what he knew he needed to use to fight the attacks of Satan is Scripture. The second reason is I would say we're just commanded to memorize Scripture. I mean, Colossians 3 tells us to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. Deuteronomy 6 tells us to write them on the tablet of our hearts, our foreheads, to put it around our house so that in our coming in and our going out, we're thinking about Scripture. Memorizing Scripture renews our minds and it transforms our lives. It's not just hearing, preaching or reading the Bible that changes you. It's when the word saturates you and begins to reshape your thoughts and you believe these promises of God. So I want you to get a pack of these and start doing what Psalm 119 11 says.

I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Just go to J.D. Greer dot com and you can see what we're talking about. Summit Life is kept on the radio and online by listeners like you.

So when you tune in, you've got another listener to thank for the message and you can extend that gift to someone else by doing your part and keep this program going. Give today and remember to also ask about becoming a regular monthly gospel partner when you request your set of cards. Call 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220. Or you can donate and request this resource online at J.D. Greer dot com. I'm Molly Vidovitch. Be sure to join us again next time when we're looking at a topic that is relevant to all of us.

Busyness. Learn how the gospel transforms our schedules when you listen Tuesday to Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-23 10:26:39 / 2023-01-23 10:37:24 / 11

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