Our Bible lesson theme this past Friday was work. Not just work in the sense of a job or career. Not just work in the sense of something you get paid to do. Rather, we focused on the issue of work as it pertains to every area of life God has called us to. In order to have a Biblical understanding of work, we must define the word and then ask what God’s purpose for it is. Finally, we must identify truths from the Bible will equip us to work in a way that matches God’s purposes.
Pastor Asa shared the Webster’s dictionary definition of work: activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.
Simple enough, right? Well the next question, as mentioned above, becomes, “What is God’s purpose for our work?” There are a many passages in Scripture that help us understand the answer to this questions, two of which we looked at.
1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Colossians 3:23-24 – “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.
So here we have our big overarching view of work according to the Bible:
God wants us to work for his glory.
Every effort we put forth on this earth should be toward God getting glory. How exactly can we do this? Let’s take a look at 3 important Bible truths.
1) God wants you to do good to others.
Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”
We can gather from this passage, as well as passages like 1 Peter 4:10-11 and Matthew 5:14-16 that if you are a Christian, there is no room for selfishness in your life. It may not sound fun or exciting, but God has called us to work for the good of others and for his glory. The two are very connected! But even if it is not our natural desire to serve others, the good news is that God wants to give a new heart to those who turn from sin and seek forgiveness through Jesus Christ. When God give you and I a new heart, we find ourselves having different desires, such as serving others. We begin to find joy in working for the good of others and God’s glory. We find joy in obeying Jesus’ commands to us in Scripture. When we make it our goal to love and serve others through our work, God will be glorified.
The next time you are doing any kind of work, even if it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with someone else, ask yourself this question: “Am I working selfishly or with lvoe for others and for God?”
2. God wants you to live as you’re called.
1 Corinthians 7:17, 20 – “Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you…For it makes no difference whether or not a man is circumcised (outward appearance). The important thing is to keep God’s commandments. Yes, each of you should remain as you were when God called you.”
Another way we are equipped to work for the glory of God is by realizing that each of us is called to more than just one thing in life. We often spend a lot of time and energy in our culture today searching for the ultimate career or profession, the way we will spend our lives making a living and defining who we are. But many of us are missing out on the importance of our other callings in life. You will always have many vocations.
Our work in this life is done in many contexts outside of a paying job. Think about your own life. Whether or not you are an employee, you are many or all of these other things: citizen, child, student, friend, neighbor, sibling, Christian, church member, artist, athlete, musician, writer…the list could be different for each individual. The point is, we all have many callings in life.
I would encourage you to take time talking with your parents and other trusted, godly adults in your life, to determine your gifts, passions, and roles. These will all help you identify the particular ways in which God wants you to work for his glory.
3. Your identity is in Christ.
Ephesians 2:4-7 reads, “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.”
It’s a mouthful, I know! But this may be the most important truth you and I need to know and believe if we are to have any hope of working for God’s glory. If you look to a job or career as the source of your worth and value as a person, you will not find it. The reason is because everything in life can change instantly. Not only that, but you and I fail because we are sinful and imperfect beings. Only God does not change. And the Bible tells us that he sent his Son to save sinners. He did this before we ever loved him or could do anything to deserve it. We will never deserve it. It is a free gift to all who believe.
When you understand and believe that your identity is in Christ and not in a job, you find the freedom and courage to work for others and for God’s glory. It won’t matter whether you are a doctor or a garbage collector, you will understand that the importance of your work is based on how you extend to others through your work the very love that God has shown you which has changed your life forever. What great news this is, and what hope and joy we can have in this life as we work in many different ways! No matter what the road ahead has in store, we can trust in the promises God has made, and we can spread the good news to others in both our words and our actions…our work!
What about you? Have you taken time to be close with God, listening to him speak through his word and responding to him in heartfelt prayer, regarding every situation in life? Be reminded of his love for you. Don’t let a job or your gifts define you. Let Jesus define you.
Don’t wait till you’re older to personally evaluate this whole issue of work. God wants to use you now to accomplish his purposes in the world. Imagine what he could do in your life and the lives of people around you if you began applying the few simple things we’ve discussed tonight. How would it change your perspective on classes, projects, exams, scholarships, practices, games, tournaments, auditions, performances, chores, interviews, paychecks, volunteering, serving, encouraging, and so much more?
Let’s remember the big truth: God wants us to work for his glory.
You work for his glory when you do good to others, live as you’re called, and find your identity in Christ.
Don’t forget that we’re meeting at the McDonalds’ house in Abasand (207 Atkinson Lane) this Friday evening for a bonfire. Join us from 7:00-9:00pm and come ready for some fun snacks and refreshments as well as a special testimony time. Dress warm and don’t worry, we can go inside to hangout if it’s too cold!
We’ll be back at the church on Friday, November 16.