Pastor Todd Nelson 5 March 2006, TBIC
1) Earning – The Necessity of Work
1 Cor 3:18-20, 2 Thes 3:10-12
One fact of life is, we all have to earn a living. We’re not royalty.
We haven’t inherited old money or land. We have to work. And I think
most of us would agree that it’s better, if we can, to use our brains
instead of our backs. There is nothing wrong with physical labor. But
we certainly prefer for our children to be educated so that they can
become a professional at something. To think for a living, rather than
labor for a living.
Andrew Fischer, a 20-yr-old web page designer from Omaha,
came up with a brilliant idea for making some quick money. He
recognized his forehead was a prime location for advertising and it was
going to waste. So he decided to auction off the empty space to the
highest bidder on e-Bay. He would wear a temporary tattoo logo on his
Amazingly, Fischer attracted a great deal of interest. He got on
a national morning news show. A company that produces a snoring
remedy, SnoreStop, rented the blank space above his eyes.
SnoreStop's CEO saw Fischer on TV and said, “I’ve got to get that
guy.” He commended Fischer as "a man who clearly has a head for
business, in every sense of the word."
Would you like to know how much he made for his advertising?
Renting out his forehead as a billboard for 30 days earned Fischer
John Beukema, Western Springs, Illinois; source: "Company to Advertise on Man's Forehead,"
Associated Press (1-25-05)
Common sense = the wisdom of this world
Uncommon sense = the revelation of God
There are times when common sense and God’s revelation contradict
each other. When people disagree with our beliefs about creation, sin,
salvation, heaven, marriage, or the truth of the Bible, we shouldn’t be
surprised. Jesus faced the same thing….
Over the next five weeks, we will consider God’s wisdom on …
1) Earning – The Necessity of Work
2) Spending – The Importance of Restraint
3) Borrowing – The Trap of Debt
4) Giving – The Joy of Generosity (Ps Lisa Roberts)
5) Saving – The Impact of Discipline (Michael & Diane Wong)
What does God’s word say about “work”?
1. Legitimate work is a blessing, not a curse.
The world says, “Work is a curse”. And some Xns would argue:
didn’t God tell Adam and Eve that the ground would not yield crops
easily. They would have to work by the sweat of their brow. But they
were already working, tending the garden. So it’s not that work itself
is a curse. But many people feel it is and look for ways to avoid it.
Their idea of the good life is not to have to work at all.
God says, “Work is a blessing.” And all able-bodied people should
find some meaningful, legitimate work to do.
2 Thes 3:7-12, Paul says, “No work, no eating.”
7For you know that you ought to follow our example. We were never
lazy when we were with you. 8We never accepted food from anyone
without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so that we would
not be a burden to any of you. 9It wasn't that we didn't have the right to
ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow.
10Even while we were with you, we gave you this rule: "Whoever does
not work should not eat."
11Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work
and wasting time meddling in other people's business. 12In the name of
the Lord Jesus Christ, we appeal to such people--no, we command
them: Settle down and get to work. Earn your own living. 13And I say to
the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.
Four Reasons Why Work Is Good for Us
1) Work can bring us pleasure (Eccl. 2:24)
So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink
and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that this pleasure
is from the hand of God.
2) A job well-done pleases God. (Col 1:10, MSG)
We pray that you'll live well for the Master, making him proud of
you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more
how God works, you will learn how to do your work.
3) Work can develop our character.
Patience, perseverance, honesty, contentment …
4) A job well-done provides a credible platform for ministry.
Christians should be the best workers and the best bosses.
Sadly, that’s not always true …
One interesting scene in The Passion of the Christ shows Jesus
finishing a table. In it, Jesus is depicted as having a commitment
to putting out an excellent product. As a carpenter, he spent
many long hours and years doing manual work in a wood shop.
His work had to be of the highest quality.
A Christian writer of the 2nd century, Justin Martyr, made a
revealing observation about Jesus' work. During Justin’s life in
second century Galilee, he saw farmers still using plows made by
Jesus. Theologian Os Guinness writes: "How intriguing to think of
Jesus' plow rather than his Cross—to wonder what it was that
made his plows and yokes last and stand out."
As Christians we sometimes exalt "spiritual" work and downplay
simple labor. However, any work, no matter how mundane, that
is done for God is spiritual work.
Legitimate work is a blessing, not a curse. And …
2. Reasonable profit is honourable, not sinful.
The world says, “Profit results from greed and corruption.
God says, “Profit can be honorable and desirable.
Certain political systems are designed around the idea that profit is
bad and must be controlled and redistributed by gov’t. Thus we
have communism and socialism. But God is not a Communist or
Socialist. Neither is he a Capitalist. But his Word does recognize
that profit does motivate us, and that reasonable profit is honorable,
Matt. 25:14-30, Story of the Three Servant Investors
Servant 1: “began immediately”;
Servant 2: “went right to work”
Servant 3: “dug a hole and buried the gold”
Boss says to each of the first two: “Well done, good and faithful
3. Biblical standards belong at work, not in isolation.
The world says, “Religion must be kept private, out of workplace.”
The church says, “Jesus is Lord of all of life.” Either He is Lord of all,
or He is not Lord at all.
So being a Christian businessman, or a Christian at work, means
the standards and commands of the Bible apply to you there, just
as much as at home or at church. He is your boss at work also. And
we’re to do our work as unto Him, not just unto men.
The word “Integrity” is related to “integer”, “integral” and “integrate”.
Integer is a whole number (not a fraction), and integral means
essential, necessary. To integrate is to unify by blending in. Integrity
is the opposite of hypocrisy (a double life, a forked tongue).
Luke 19:1-10, A Tax Collector Meets Jesus
Jesus changed Zaccheus’ life and values. The new believer applied
his new-found integrity to his work as a tax collector. [read passage]
Jesus is Lord of all of life – church, home, and work.
4. Sabbath rest is a commandment, not a suggestion.
You may work for six days each week, but on the seventh day all work
must come to a complete stop. It is the Lord's Sabbath day of complete
rest, a holy day to assemble for worship. It must be observed wherever
you live. (Lev 23:3)
Everyone needs a worship and rest day, at least one per week.
That’s God’s design. We flout it at the risk of our spiritual, emotional,
and physical health. After worship and fellowship, use the day to
renew, refresh, relax! …
Conclusion: If you don’t / can’t enjoy your job, ask God to lead
you to one that you can enjoy. Life’s too short to hate your work.
At the great market in Mexico City, an old native named Pota-lamo had
twenty strings of onions hanging for sale.
A tourist asked him, "How much for a string of onions?"
"Ten cents," said Pota-lamo.
"How much for two strings?"
"How much for all twenty strings?" asked the tourist.
"I would not sell you my twenty strings," replied Pota-lamo.
"Why not? Aren't you here to sell your onions?"
"No," replied the old merchant. "I am here to live my life. I love this
marketplace. I love the crowds and the red serapes. I love the sunlight
and the wavering palmettos. I love to have friends come by and say
buenos dias and talk about the babies and the crops. That is my life.
For that I sit here all day and sell my twenty strings of onions. But if I
sell all my onions to one customer, then my day is ended. I have lost
the life I love—and that I will not do."
Mark Moody, "In Search of Renewal," Strategic Adult Ministry Journal (Issue 139)