Theology of Work | Be Strong
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Zach Mabry | Be Strong Men’s Conference Session
BE STRONG 2024
A Biblical Theology of Work: Zach’s Teaching Notes
A correct theology of work comes directly from Scripture. Let’s dig in and see what the Bible teaches us about our daily work.
The Goodness of Work
- Work is not a result of the Fall
- God works and ordains that humans work (it’s attached to our status as image-bearers)
- Instituted before the Fall
- Work is mandatory for survival
- Gen. 2:7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
- Gen. 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
- The Curse made it harder
- Psa. 8:3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
- Psa. 8:5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,
- But in Hebrews 2, he mentions that it’s not yet seen in subjection
- Which is why we work.
- Jesus worked, he was only in “full-time” ministry for 3 years
- Paul was a bi-vocational, circuit pastor
- Jesus validates both manual labor and intellectual labor
- Let’s not forget that the first people mentioned in the Bible as “filled with the spirit” are craftsmen – Ex 28:3; 31:1-5
The LORD said to Moses, 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, 4 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.
Work vs Laziness
- Proverbs 19:24 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish and will not even bring it back to his mouth.
- 2 Thess 3:6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. 9 It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
Work vs Overwork
- The Sabbath: God even worked 6 days and rested on the 7. Work is good but needs limits
- Work is sometimes easier that being a husband or father, so we work instead of engaging
- Overwork exposes idols and insecurities
- can be a distraction p.35-36 “It can be easier to solve technical financial or engineering problems that to face a difficult marriage or a wayward child.” Doriani “Work”
- Ecclesiastes 5:10 “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. 11 When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? 12 Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.”
Work vs Identity
- Work is not your identity: it’s not big enough
- What happens when you retire? How many times have you seen men lose it because they can’t retire?
- We’re created to work
“Why do I have 3 Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me?…. There’s gotta be more than this….”Tom Brady, 60 Minutes, 2005
Work as Vocation
- God calls every disciple to full time ministry
- There’s no varsity and JV Christian
- The value of your calling is based on the one who calls you not what He calls you to
- Live your life called to be a disciple-maker. You are the only person in your shoes, at your job. God has called you to be a Christian lawyer, educator, police officer, accountant, etc.
- View your job as a calling from God, specifically for you.
Work as Worship
…without worshipping work itself.
- Workism is Making Americans Miserable (The Atlantic, February 24,2019, Derek Thompson)
- The decline of traditional faith in America has coincided with an explosion of new atheisms. Some people worship beauty, some worship political identities, and others worship their children. But everybody worships something. And workism is among the most potent of the new religions competing for congregants.
- What is workism? It is the belief that work is not only necessary to economic production, but also the centerpiece of one’s identity and life’s purpose; and the belief that any policy to promote human welfare must always encourage more work.
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
- Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
- Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
- 1 Peter 4:7 “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
How do We Worship God in Our Work?
- Be the hardest worker at your job
- Be teachable
- Have a good attitude
- Love and serve your coworkers well
- Remember that you are representing Jesus at your job
Enjoy work for what it is:
Ecclesiastes 5:18 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 19 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
Main Points from Daniel Doriani:
- God works and ordains that humans work
- The Lord worked 6 days and rested on the 7th setting both a pattern and a limit
- By working with His hands, Jesus showed that all honest labor is honorable.
- Jesus worked with his hands and he taught
- Mankind’s rebellion led God to curse the ground
- Labor is mandatory for survival
- Work shapes human identity
- Work and vocation are not identical?
- The Lord assigns places of work, yet believers can move
- Human abilities vary, and God respects them all.
- Many human tasks are a direct result of the fall, yet no one should despise labor that mitigates the effects of sin.
- God calls every disciple to full time service
- In our work, we can become the hands of God.
Hi, everybody. So we’re gonna try to keep this as close to half an hour as possible, Rob tried to do that and it was 48 minutes, so… There we go. But yeah, so what we’re gonna do is we’ve been talking about this… We are gonna talk about theology of work. One of the things… I think there’s two ditches that we can fall into here, and I wanna try to make sure we’re right in the middle.
We don’t want to… I wanna make sure that we don’t come across with this idea that work is bad right because so many times it’s easy for us to… I mean, one of the easiest ways to occupy our time is to complain about our job, it’s just easy, we can complain about work, in fact, you can take it real spiritual, some people will be like, Well, having, some people think that work is bad, that work is evil that work as a result of the fall. But it’s not. So we’re gonna talk about the goodness of work, but then even if we’re talking about the goodness of work, work also needs to have its place.
Right. We don’t want to… And this is where I think for men, men are more inclined to draw their identity from their job, from their work, it’s easier for men… ’cause it’s also easy for us to draw our sense of purpose from work, it’s easy to see… To be able to set goals and say, I’m gonna be at this point at this life, or this is the career that I wanna have, the advancement that I wanna make, and it’s easy to… To make those things idols in our lives as well, and I think that sometimes it’s easy to avoid other responsibilities by pouring ourselves into our work, and we need to have a good perspective on what that means, especially in light of the fact that we have been created in the image of God. We are image bearers of God and that we are representatives of God regardless of the vocation that we have, and another thing is I wanna try to recover a better understanding, a biblical… A more biblical understanding of what vocation is, because I think for a lot of us, we hear the word vocation or if someone talks about vocational training, they’re automatically you think it’s some sort of like their welding or construction of plumbing, that’s vocational training.
But in reality, vocation comes from this idea of calling, and then I think that for a lot of us, even in churches, good healthy churches, we have a hierarchy of calling in our brains, and we need to understand that the value of your calling is not… It’s not based on what you’re called to, but who you’re called by. And we need to understand that if we are… If we are sons of God, then we are His representatives in whatever field he has called us into. And that we need to recover a good understanding of what our vocation is and understand where work falls in light of that, not to give it… Understand the goodness of work, but not to give it a higher value than it deserves. Alright, so let me pray for us real quick, and then we’re gonna walk through this. Father in heaven, we praise you and we exalt you, we’re so thankful for this time that we have as men to come together to set aside to focus on what it means to be Godly men, and I pray that You’ll help us this afternoon to get a good, real biblical understanding of what work is and what place it’s supposed to have in our lives and that we won’t give it… How we wanna assign it too little value or too much value and then…
In everything you’ll be exalted in Christ’s name, Amen. Alright, so the first point is that work is good and you’ve been created for work, and we see that in Scripture, in Genesis, right in the beginning, when God created, he created Adam and then He gave him a job. Ain’t that interesting? It was we see in Genesis 2:7 says, Then the Lord God formed man out of the dust of ground and breath in his nostrils, the breath of life, and the man became a living creature, and the Lord God planted a garden and eaten in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed out of the ground. The Lord God had made up to Spring every tree that is pleasant in to the site, pleasant side and good for food, the Tree of Life was in the midst of the garden, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and evil. And then on down in verse 15, The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. So Adam was created in the image of God to work and keep the garden. That was his job.
This is before fall, this is when everything is good, and we’re understanding that when… When we get down to the end of Genesis, we are at the end of the creation account, is that God created, He formed everything in six days, he worked and then he rested. So what we see even in the first two chapters of the Bible, we see God working and creating mankind in His image to work.
To do work, in fact, then we see the next thing that Adam is told to do is he’s given a specific job, part of working and keeping was to then… I mean, even in Genesis 1:27, when God’s creating man his own image, he says, Let him have dominion over the birds of the air, over the beast of the field over every creeping thing that creeps on the Earth. So God is creating, he’s working, he’s creating man who works, who is supposed to exercise dominion over the place that he has, and part of exercising dominion is then to work and keep the garden, and part of working and keeping the garden, he’s supposed to name all the animals. So there’s a lot of work going on in the garden, on Earth before the curse takes place. And so, obviously, the curse makes everything worse.
I didn’t mean to run. And I apologize for doing that. Everything is corrupted by the curse. Well, it makes it worst anyway. So yeah, the curse does make it worse, and if we look specifically at the words that are mentioned, talking about the curse, it’s not that Adam is cursed, so he now has to work the ground.
No, that’s not the curse. The curse is, he’s already working the ground. That’s good. Now the ground is cursed. Now, he has to work, but it’s gonna be harder, there’s gonna be thorns and thistles, and it’s gonna be by the sweat of his brow that he’s gonna have to do this. So work is gonna become a lot harder, but just because work has been made harder because of the curse, we don’t need to lump in work together with the curse, because that’s what we have been created for, we’ve been created to work as an image bearer of a God who works.
That’s a big deal. ‘Cause I don’t wanna just say, “Oh man, there’s so many dangers of making your work your idol, so try to find a way not to work.” In fact, I don’t know if any of you have been close friends with someone who works for a really long time, like my dad. My dad worked for 35 years for the government. I’m sorry. Yeah, sad, so sad. But yeah, and then he finally got away from that and he retired and you know the first thing he did after he retired, he got a job. It’s so… Because that’s what he’s created for. He… We’re created to work, in fact, especially for men, for men to…
And in fact, I’ve had… There’s a guy in our church that he was real close, we were real close. He’s in our small group, and for this past year, because of certain situations in his life, he has not had a job. Now, he had been flipping houses, so it was really great, some of the stuff that’s happened, it’s actually best for him not to have a job, because he’s kind of having to be a single dad for a little while, and he’s thankful that he’d been able to get cash to live off of, but he’s like, “Man, this is so hard.” It’s been really difficult because in his mind… And not just because he wants to live up to some sort of cultural norm, but because of what he’s created for, he’s created to work. And that’s why for a lot of us, we do get a fulfillment from our job, from our work, and no matter what it is, there’s a fulfillment that comes to with that because we’re fulfilling what God has intended in creating us, He’s created us to work and we’re supposed to work, but we can’t give it too much value. We can’t give it too much value, and that’s why I think the perfect job would be something where you could see every day progress, but then it was also some sort of long-term goal in mind as well ’cause that’s… The best thing about mowing the lawn, is you’re taking dominion over the earth, and it looks nasty when you start and then it looks wonderful.
The bad thing is, you have to do it next week. But it’s different. And so we’ve been created by God who works and that we’re supposed to work and work is good, in fact, we see Jesus, Jesus says the perfect example of this, and a lot of you, we forget that Jesus was only like in full-time ministry for three years, before that, he was a carpenter, and which is really encouraging because what we see in the personal life of Jesus is validation of manual labor and the kind of intellectual labor as well, right. So he worked hard as a carpenter, and you guys know that in that time period, they didn’t have two-by-fours, they didn’t have… They didn’t have nail guns, sadly, but when he was a carpenter, most likely, he was building with rocks, so he was a man, manual labor. So he’s validating and, but he’s also validating the more intellectual vocations, then he spent the next three years teaching. So it’s so cool. We see that and then we see the Apostle Paul, the Apostle Paul, he was by vocational church planner. That’s awesome. In fact, I’m gonna read it in just a minute. On the next point, where his goal was to go to a place, plan a church, disciple men, teach and work so that they didn’t have to pay for him.
I mean it’s awesome. Now, what’s crazy is we even see Jesus saying that it’s okay and honorable to pay pastors, if that’s what they’re doing full-time, and that’s okay. But Paul didn’t even wanna do that. He’s like, No, I’m gonna be by vocational. A lot of it was because he’s like, I’m not gonna let you take credit for me being here, I’m gonna do that myself. But we see this… So we see even in the life of Jesus, in the life of Paul, validating work, I think about not just at creation, but then we see in Psalm 8. Psalm 8 is talking about what God has done in creation, giving us, this is our job. And Psalm 8, it says this, When I look at your the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what is man that you’re mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him. Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings. You’ve crowned him with glory honor, you have given him dominion over the works of your hands, you have put all things under His feet. You see that like, this is what we’ve been called to.
We are God’s agents in the world because we’re supposed to take care of his creation, and then Hebrews 2 reminds us that we don’t see it in subjection like we’re supposed to because of the curse. Well Was this is what we’ve been called to do, but we’re not gonna be able to do it because of the curse, and so now we’re looking for a country and a land that’s not our own, that’s only in Christ. And then the other thing to remind us again, how important work is for God, and not just work, but really good work, then that is a good reminder, is that the first time we ever see anybody filled with the Spirit in the Bible, do you guys know this? The first time we see someone filled in the spirit, it’s craftsmen.
Ain’t that interesting, it’s not people who are gonna be preaching and teaching, it’s people who are working with their hands and… First in Exodus 28, then Exodus 31, this is Exodus 31 verses 1 through 5. Then the Lord said to Moses, see I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Yuri, the son of her, of the tribe of Judah. And look at this is so interesting, and I have filled him with the spirit of God, with the ability and intelligence, with the knowledge and all craftsmanship to devise artistic designs to work in gold, silver, bronze, and cutting stones for setting and carving wood to work in every craft. Ain’t that fascinating, the first person in the Bible who’s mentioned being filled with the Holy Spirit is a craftsman. He’s working, he’s gonna be… He’s gonna design and build the Tabernacle, that’s his job. Alright, so see, work is good. We’ve been created for it.
The next thing is gonna talk about work versus laziness, this is because if work is good, laziness is sinful. And one thing I wanna remind you, we see this over and over, just take time, read through the Proverbs. The Proverbs will always talk about the people who are lazy, the sluggard. In Proverbs 19:24, this is my favorite passage about laziness, and it says, The sluggard buries his hand in the dish and will not even bring it back to his mouth, that’s so, so lazy. I’m hungry, oh, no, I’ll die here. How’s that food gonna get into my mouth because it’s just like a laziness.
It’s front and… And I’ll say this too, that especially in the workplace, laziness is a form of stealing. That’s pretty heavy. And if we have been created in the image of a God who works, then this is what’s crazy, I’m saying that even non-believers, when they are doing their work with excellence, that there’s a way that that gives glory to God because they’re fulfilling what they’ve been called to in working, and as a believer, we need to set the example of those who we work with, that we won’t be lazy, that will be working harder than anybody else, remembering that we’re representing not just what it means to be a human being, but God, but our Creator. Look at what… In 2nd Second Thessalonians, Paul writes, in 2nd Second Thessalonians, it’s really interesting, there are a group of people that are basically thinking Jesus is coming back. Let’s just sit back and wait. Just terrible. But that’s what was happening. And so Paul’s like, Oh, oh, y’all have been lazy, like you can’t just over spiritualize the laziness. Jesus is gonna come back, so I’m just gonna chill out and wait to live off credit cards because…
Who cares? I’ll never have to pay that off, I’m gonna go to heaven. This is what’s happening he says this, now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother, anyone who claims to be a Christian, you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accordance of the tradition you receive from us, so that’s what he’s saying is, if you’re walking in idleness, if you’re lazy, you’re not acting like a Christian, for you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idol when we were with you, nor did we anyone spread without paying for it, but with toil and labor, we worked night and day.
That we might not be a burden to any of you. Now, so that’s what I’m saying. He went over the top basically to say, I’m not gonna let anybody say anything bad about me because I’m a representative of Jesus. Now, he says in this verse 9, it was not because we do not have that right because even Jesus said that you can pay pastors. And in fact, we see Paul and other things saints saying that those who labor in preaching they deserve double honor, so he’s not saying that you shouldn’t pay pastors, he’s just saying for me, we didn’t do it. He says, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate for even when we were with you, we would give you this command. If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. This is the Bible. For we hear among you that some walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busy bodies, now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. This is what’s supposed to be normal for God’s people, and we need to have a proper understanding of our work, of our job, it’s not something that we slack off complain, not that we don’t look for ways to just finish the day, but you need to be a model employee, you need to be the hardest worker of anybody there, so that you… And this is what he’s saying. He’s saying we did this so that no one would speak against us and you would have an example to follow because we’re representing Jesus. That’s huge.
And the Christians, and I think Christians should be, Christian should be the hardest workers out there. Alright, next I wanna talk about work versus overwork and work versus identity. I think for most of us, this is where the danger lies, and I think, and I… For most of us here, we see, yeah, man is supposed to work, we’re supposed to work. That’s what we’re supposed to do. Laziness is wrong. But what we need to be on our guard against is overworking and for finding your identity in our work.
Because just like we were talking about in Genesis, when God created, we have a God who works, and what did he do at the end of his work, when he was finished, he rested. And it says, in so doing, he actually blessed the seventh day, like he set us an example that we should follow in Exodus 20 when it’s recording again, the Ten Commandments that we’re supposed to labor for six days and rest. God made us that way. If Spencer taught a break out this summer on burnout, that’s super helpful. We need to pay attention to what we’re doing to our bodies, you need your body to last a really long time. If you’re supposed to be an example for others to follow, if you’re supposed to be discipling young believers, you have to be alive for that to happen. And so you need to be paying attention to how much you’re working and how much you’re resting, and then also we need to make sure that we’re not working to the point where that becomes the idol in our life, and it’s easy, because we’re made to work so if work is good, more work is better.
Right? Well, no. What’s really crazy is there’s a guy who wrote a book, his name is Dan Doriani. Wrote a book last year, and it’s called Work. And he’s a pastor, and he said this was super convicting for me. He talked about how work can become a distraction, and he says this, this is a quote, he says, “It can be easier to solve technical, financial, or engineering problems than to face a difficult marriage or a wayward child.” Wow! Right? I mean, if you’re finding your validation from your accomplishments in your career, it’s a whole lot easier to impress your co-workers, or your employees, or your employers than it is to go home and be a husband and a daddy. And sometimes we make that call. Yeah. Here, I’m getting wins here, I’m getting successes here, I’m going to ride that out. That’s gonna be better for my well-being, for my sanity, than to go home and then have a wife and kids. That can be harder, that can be more difficult. Of course it can be harder and more difficult. We’re talking about relationships with people.
I mean, if in Ephesians 5:1 it talks about being a husband, says that you need to have a self-sacrificial love, love your wife as Christ love the church and gave himself up for it, that’s difficult. And it’s difficult to have these little children that you have in your home that want to be doing things that you don’t exactly enjoy. Like, especially when kids are really… My kids are nine, seven, six, and three and my kid, my older kids are actually getting, we actually, I’m a terrible father.
We play this game, it’s a card game, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it, it’s called poker.
Because my kids think it’s fun. They love it, and it’s really enjoyable. I take all of their money. They’re not good at it. But it’s so much more fun for me to play poker with them than Candyland and Chutes and Ladders, which are the worst games ever.
There’s, I mean, there’s no, it’s terrible. But for my kid, he doesn’t know that Chutes and Ladders is a terrible game. He just knows that he’s playing a game with daddy. And that is invaluable. I’m getting, I’m at the point now, and you guys, we’re all from different phases of life. I’m at the point now where I have a nine-year-old. You might have seen him run around here. And I’m halfway through the time that I have with him. I’m halfway through the time that he’s in my home. Oh, well, I’m kicking him out at 18. He knows it.
In fact, you can ask him, he’ll say… If you ask him, say, Parker, what happens when you’re 18? Oh, I move out. What if you want to stay? I have to pay.
I’m hoping it becomes a reality. But I mean, yeah, from my direct influence in his life, the concentrated time I have to invest in his life, we’re halfway gone. And where is it gone? Where’s that time gone? And I mean, right at the end of at the end of your life, you’re not going to be thinking, man, I could have closed one more deal. Or I could have had one more contract on this. Or I wish I’d worked some more hours. I made some more money. Even what Brody was saying this morning. Talking about marrying, or when he took Kilby off to college for the first time, that his mind wasn’t filled with the successes he’d had, but his failures. And I want to minimize that. And for us, the easy thing, and this sounds as crazy as it sounds. It’s so much easier to put in five, 10, 15 more hours at work than it is to come home. But what we need to understand, this goes to the next point is that you are expendable. At your job, you’re expendable. This world will survive without you doing whatever it is that you do. Fact of the matter. We want to have a higher estimation of our own importance. And what’s really cool for us here, and I guess five years ago, five years ago, Brody and Little, that’s his wife.
She hasn’t been around. She’s not a man, obviously. But Brody and Little adopted two kids from Uganda and wound up spending three or four months in Uganda. And it was one of the best things for this ministry and for Brody. ‘Cause Brody and his father-in-law started this ministry. And up until that point, there was a heavy pressure that anything that ever happened here, he had to be doing. But then to be removed from that for four months in another country was awesome. Because this pressure was able to go off of him and be like, well, there’s nothing I can do about what’s happening right now. I’m not going to speak to these people that are at camp. And it was good for the ministry here to realize, we’re not based on Brody and his personality. We’re based on Jesus and the Bible. And so, that’s huge. And so you need to understand that whatever job it is that you have, you’re expendable there, but nobody else is equipped to be a husband and a father in your home like you are.
There, you’re irreplaceable. Obviously, I understand. You could, something could happen, you could die. God’s going to take care of your wife and kids. But that’s not the norm. The reality is, only you are the husband to your wife. Only you are the daddy to your kids. That is, and you should see that as your calling from the Lord. That’s huge. The next thing is our identity. Going into the same thing. We don’t want to… Oh, I forgot to say this. I forgot to quote. You guys have heard the street philosopher the Notorious BIG, who I think in one of his writings wrote, Mo Money, Mo Problems. And do you know who he got that from? Ecclesiastes. In Ecclesiastes chapter five, it says, he who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income. This also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them? And what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? Sweet is the sleep of their laborer, whether he eats little or much, but full is the stomach of the rich.
But the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep. Man, when riches increase, more problems. If you’re trying… It’s so interesting. I’ll talk to people who are making substantially more money than I am, and they have financial problems. Because with this increased money that they have is an increased lifestyle that makes them what’s need to get more money. Isn’t that fascinating? But again, we can’t make it into an idol, and we can’t make it our identity. That’s super important. For us, work is not your identity. It’s not big enough. I don’t care what your job is. It’s not big enough for you to draw your identity out of. You know what it is? The Gospel. The fact that if you’re in Christ, that you have been purchased by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. That is big enough for you to find your identity and your worth. Whatever your job is, it will never be enough to satisfy. A lot of you guys know this. You guys ever heard of this quarterback? His name’s Tom. He’s got a coach named Bill. Do you guys know who I’m talking about? Anyway, Tom Brady, after he’d gotten his third Super Bowl ring, now they have seven? They have seven now? Six or seven?
Six. That’s it? [chuckle] That’s embarrassing. Only six Super Bowl championships. How could you think you’re the best at anything? In 2005, 60 Minutes interviewed Tom Brady, and after he’d gotten his third Super Bowl ring. And what’s really interesting, he says this. This is from the 60 Minutes. He says, “Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? There’s got to be more than this.” All right. That’s a good wake-up call. Because if you’re thinking, well, my advancement in my job, whatever that is, it’s never going to put you on the same level as the success that Tom Brady has. But even if it could, it’s not big enough to satisfy you. Isn’t that crazy? People would kill for that kind of success. And when they get there, they would realize, this won’t satisfy me. Because that’s not supposed to satisfy us. That’s not supposed to be where we find our identity.
Our identity, and for those of you, if you’re not believers, you’re not going to find your self-worth. You’re not going to find your identity. You’re not going to find enough to keep you going from whatever job it is that you have. It’s just not going to happen. The next is, is we need to look at our work as vocation. Again, I said this earlier, vocation, it means calling. And I want us to understand that you are called by God for whatever it is that he’s called you to. ’cause for some of you God is calling to be CPAs, or engineers or lawyers or firemen. That’s what God’s called you to. And that your job is to represent Jesus there. You’re supposed to be discipling other people, being a witness of the Gospel, no matter where it is that you’re working. And you need to see your job as your vocation, as God’s calling, because he’s put you there. Just like you’re… It’s the opposite of like I said, you’re expendable at your job. And that’s right. But nobody else is going to have the witness of the Gospel in your job like you have.
You see what I’m saying? Nobody else is being able to share the Gospel with the folks that you’re rubbing shoulders with. Nobody else is going to do that. That’s where you need to be the light of the Gospel in whatever this calling is that God has placed on you. And we need to understand, it’s so easy for us in the Christian world and working in student ministry, this is glaring. In student ministry all the time, they’ll have a big youth rally and you have a big invitation afterwards. And first we need to get everybody saved. And after you get people saved, then we need to have a call for… You need to give your life to vocational ministry. Who’s going to surrender to full-time ministry? And I think that’s great. God calls people to full-time ministry. Obviously, I believe that. But that doesn’t… That’s not something better. It’s not like that’s varsity Christians. Oh, if you’re, oh, what are you doing in your life? You’re, oh, you’re in full-time ministry. Well, you must be a better Christian than somebody who’s bi-vocational or is not even in ministry, just works as a school teacher. Man, it’s, no, we can’t make this type of delineation.
I mean, ’cause Jesus for the last three years was in full-time ministry. Paul was always bi-vocational. Are we going to say, oh man, Paul just wasn’t as good of a Christian. He was a bi-vocational pastor. But then we need to take it a step further and realize, man, our calling is to be like Jesus. And he calls us to different jobs to different vocations. That is our calling. And we need to use that for the Gospel, wherever it is that we’re going, wherever it is that you’re going, know that you are called into full-time ministry. You might be called into full-time ministry as an accountant. You might be called into full-time ministry as a real estate broker but that’s what you’re… You see what I’m saying? It’s, you are called into full-time ministry, but your vocation is going to look different. In fact, it’s good that not all of us are pastors of churches ’cause then who would be sharing the Gospel with people? Unless they came to this building, I’m not going to be able to see them. That’s why we’re supposed to go and preach the Gospel, no matter where we are. And then the last thing I want to do is I want to look at, is work as worship.
We need to work in such a way that’s worshipful, that’s worshiping God. We don’t need to worship our work, but to do our work as worship. We see this over and over in Scripture. In 1 Corinthians 10:31. So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God. Colossians 3:17. It says, whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. Giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:23. Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for man, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Could you imagine if every day you went to your job and you submitted to the Lord and said, “I am working for the Lord today. That’s what I’m doing.” Working for the Lord isn’t just preaching and teaching. It’s, whatever it is that you’re doing. You are working for the Lord, whatever. Even if you’re eating or drinking. Whatever you’re doing, whatever your job is you need to do that for the Lord. There’s a, I used to work at a coffee shop.
Because I’m a hippie. And I worked at a coffee shop in Louisville, Kentucky started by these two guys who met because they were in seminary, both thinking, and this is, they’re such a cool example ’cause they both were like, we love Jesus, so we should pastor churches. So, they went to seminary and then realized what they really wanted to do was make coffee. And so they started, they’re like in a seminary class, like studying New Testament Greek and they’re like, “Man, I’ve been roasting coffee.” “I’ve been roasting coffee. Let’s do this together.” And then, so they started this company where they roast coffee. And then they started making shops. And I just happened to be working at one of the shops that they started. And it was I was blown away. It’s the first time I’d ever seen anybody do their work wholeheartedly as unto the Lord. And the way they did it was they made the best coffee around.
They didn’t put little crosses or Bible verses on their cups, which nothing wrong with that. That’s fine. But they just made really good coffee and sold it at a fair price for the glory of God. I mean, it was awesome because they would be like, I mean, and it was crazy because you think like making a cup of coffee, how big of a deal is that? Oh well, I mean, it goes everything back to when they’re roasting it. And they’re like making sure that the roaster is at a certain temperature. They had these huge spreadsheets and charts because they wanted to make sure that it was exactly exactly the same and exactly how they wanted it every time. We make just coffee in a drip machine right an automatic coffee maker but we would measure it out to the gram so that every time somebody came and got that coffee it tasted exactly the same and I was blown away by it because these guys were not like preaching and teaching. That’s not what they’re doing.
But they were doing work for the glory of god and that’s what we need to do. We need to realize that we are representing the God who works in whatever job it is that we’re going to you want to. You wanna know how to do this will work harder than anybody else being teachable with a good attitude and loving and serving your co-workers and employers. That’s how you give glory to God in your work. It’s I mean it’s awesome. It’s not something… And what’s really interesting is I read an article earlier this year in The Atlantic and The Atlantic it’s not a Christian journal. If you’re familiar with it it’s not a Christian journal and this guy was talking about workism. Isn’t that interesting? And I’m just going to read the first couple paragraphs ’cause this is fascinating. He said the… It’s from The Atlantic it’s from February of 2019 it says workism is making Americans miserable. This is the first two paragraphs. This is a non-believer.
The decline of traditional faith in America has concluded with an explosion of new atheisms some people worship beauty, some people worship political identities, others worship their children but everybody worships something. And workism is among the most potent of the new religions competing for congregants. What is workism it’s the belief that work is not only necessary to economic production but also the centerpiece of one’s identity and life purpose and the belief that any policy to promote human welfare must always encourage more work. Ain’t that fascinating. This is a secular man looking at the culture that we’ve created and saying that people are worshiping their work. And it’s always been like this. This has always been, ever since the fall, ever since the fall corrupted our work it’s always been a temptation to turn into worship but what we need to do is we need to worship God through our work and not worship our work. And then we need to enjoy it for what it is. Here’s what we need to do we need to enjoy it for what it is one of my favorite passages of Scripture and then we’ll be done.
This is in Ecclesiastes chapter 5. In Ecclesiastes 5 starting verse 18 it says this, behold what I’ve seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and to find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil this is a gift of God for he will not be able to enjoy his lot and rejoice in his life because god keeps him occupied with a joy in his heart. Isn’t that awesome? And then we take that and we realize that not only has God created work for us to find this enjoyment and to use as God has created it for nothing more nothing less but then also that we have the ability to fulfill what it means to be created in the image of a god who works knowing that if we are in Christ that we are representing this God we’re representing this savior to those who we come in contact with in whatever it is whatever vocation god has called us to. All right. So, let me pray for us and then we’ll be done. We’ll have 20 minutes before the next session.
Father in heaven we love you we’re so thankful for the grace that you’ve given to us to be able to work and I pray that we will keep it in the proper perspective and that you will on a daily basis teach us what it means to work for you and not for man and wholeheartedly as unto you so that you’re honored and exalted in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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