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090524 More Than A Job 02 Work Is Worthwhile
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090524 More Than A Job 02 Work Is Worthwhile

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Sermon 2 of 3 on More Than a Job - The Christian's Career - dealing with the Christian at work. Presented at Palm Desert Church of Christ, May 24, 2009, by Dale Wells

Sermon 2 of 3 on More Than a Job - The Christian's Career - dealing with the Christian at work. Presented at Palm Desert Church of Christ, May 24, 2009, by Dale Wells

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  • 1.  
  • 2.  
  • 3. Dilbert tells how people really feel about work
  • 4. Too many people’s theology about work is akin to Wally’s
  • 5.  
  • 6. Suppose a reporter showed up at your work and asked:
    • “ How does your work affect the world?”
    • What would you say?
    • Would you stumble before answering?
    • Would you eventually come up with a cheery answer?
  • 7. How does your work affect the world?
    • The idea of this series is that work is good – in spite of how it is portrayed in shows like The Office or comic strips like Dilbert
    • Not that work isn’t hard, or that it doesn’t feel absurd or brutal or simply necessary
    • Saying that work, when it’s properly understood and performed, is good
  • 8. Last week: Work is part of worship – no matter what we do for a living
    • From schoolwork to retirement & everything in between, if we do it to the best of our ability, as if for God himself, our work is an act of worship
    • Today: work is good for God’s world
    • Your work, whatever it is, can have spiritual value & eternal significance
  • 9. One man’s answer after a career in politics, construction, engineering
    • “ Meaningless, meaningless. My heart despairs over all my toilsome labor under the sun. All of it is meaningless and a chasing after the wind.”
    • Solomon, one of the most industrious & productive workers in human history
    • We speak of his accomplishments 3,000 years later
    • Yet he felt as though his work had no lasting value
    • We all feel that way sometimes
  • 10. Does our work really matter?
    • Full-time worker logs 100,000 hours in a lifetime
    • At-home mom can double that
    • What will you have to show for all those hours?
    • What difference will you make in the world?
    • Especially pointed for Christians frustrated by the amount of time & energy they spend on the job when they’d rather be doing God’s work – serving the church or spreading the gospel
    • Listen to how one man resolved that tension:
  • 11. Haddon Robinson tells of a frustrated worker
    • “ For ten years I worked as an architect in a large firm in my city. I enjoyed my work, but as I thought about it, my work seemed insignificant. For example, I helped design some office buildings in the downtown part of that city and some homes on the outskirts of the city.
  • 12. Haddon Robinson tells of a frustrated worker
    • “ But I realized that those office buildings would last 50, at most 75 years they’d be pulled down. Those mansions would become tomorrow’s boarding houses or slums. I felt I wanted to do something really significant with eternal value.
  • 13. Haddon Robinson tells of a frustrated worker
    • “ So I gave up my job as an architect, went to seminary, and now I’m working on a mission field. I give people the gospel and build into their lives truth that has eternal significance.”
  • 14. Is that what it comes down to?
    • Do you have to quit your job to do God’s work in the world, or is it possible to find spiritual value and eternal significance in the job you have right now?
    • Let’s go to the Bible & see what God has to say about how our work affects the world
    • Back to the beginning – to Genesis 1–2
  • 15.  
  • 16. Genesis 1:1-2 NIV
    • In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (2) Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
  • 17. God is a worker & he’s been working since the beginning
    • We learn about the work God has been doing
    • “ Created”
      • More than just bringing something out of nothing
      • Includes organizing what exists
      • Assigning functionality to the parts
    • That’s we see God doing here – bringing …
      • Order out of chaos
      • Fullness out of emptiness
      • Light out of darkness
  • 18. That was just the beginning
    • More work to be done – so much that it would take six days to accomplish it all
      • Involved intelligence & intentionality
      • Unfolds in a logical progression, day after day, with increasing complexity and purpose
    • God used a variety of skills:
      • God spoke
      • God gathered
      • God set in place
      • God made
  • 19. C reation involved intelligence, skill & partnership
    • Verse 1: God the Father initiated creation
    • Verse 2: God the Spirit was involved in creation
    • God the Son was the agent of creation
      • John 1:1-3 NIV In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He was with God in the beginning. (3) Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
    • All three members of the Godhead participated in the work of creation
  • 20. But the job wasn’t finished
    • There was still more work to be done
    • So God created man
      • Genesis 1:26 NIV Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
    • Notice two things:
  • 21. First
    • Human beings were endowed with …
      • God’s image – nature, attributes & ability to work
      • Minds that can reason & compute & imagine
      • Skills & physical capacities that enable us to work – posture, opposable thumbs, five senses & strength
      • Other humans with whom to work – first a man & woman, then children, siblings, relatives & neighbors
    • We were designed by God to work in the same ways that he works – with intelligence & skill & in partnership with others
  • 22. Second
    • God intended them to carry on work he began
      • He expected them to increase, to expand, to subdue & to govern the world he had created
    • In other words, when God finished creating the universe, the work still wasn’t done
      • God rested on the seventh day, but he didn’t quit
      • Work of creation was going to continue for a long time
    • The word, create , shows up again & again to describe God’s continuing work in the world
    • God meant for humans to work with him in controlling his creation
  • 23. Consider the ecosystem God created for the humans
    • Genesis 2:15 NIV The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
    • The garden, beautiful as it was, still needed work
      • Tending & cultivating
      • Expansion & diversification & protection
    • God expected Adam & Eve to use their knowledge, skill & partnership with each other to make the garden all it was capable of becoming
  • 24. This is interesting
    • I thought when God created the universe & the Garden of Eden, it was perfect
      • In one sense, it was
      • It was everything God intended it to be at that time
      • But it wasn’t everything it could be
      • It wasn’t all it would be when his plans were finished
      • The world God created was good
      • In fact, it was very good
      • But it wasn’t done
      • It was perfect, but it wasn’t perfected
    • Let me illustrate
  • 25. Can anyone tell me what this is?
    • An original mobile phone
    • An amazing invention
    • Talk to people even when away from your home
    • Brick-shaped thing with a big antenna sticking out
    • People would see them in grocery store or sporting event & say, “Ridiculous! Why would anyone need a phone there?!”
    • Remember those days? 
  • 26. Now, do you know what this is?
    • An iPhone
    • More than a phone
      • Computer, camera, personal stereo, TV, & organizer
    • Brick phone was good
      • It was complete
      • Everything a mobile phone could be at the time
      • Not everything a mobile phone could or would be
    • More work to be done
  • 27. The iPhone is very good
    • Does far more than the original phone could do
    • But it’s still not done
    • We can’t imagine what phones will look like and what they’ll be capable of five, ten, or 100 years from now
  • 28. So it was in the Garden of Eden
    • Perfect, but not perfected
    • More work to be done
    • We imagine the Garden of Eden as a primitive Club Med where Adam and Eve would spend their days sipping piña coladas & watching the sunset, while the animals romped in the trees
  • 29. But that wasn’t it at all; they had work to do
    • Plants & shrubs needed tending & pruning
    • Animals needed named & tamed, to be useful
    • Adam & Eve needed to procreate to bring more humans into the world
    • Offspring needed to be cared for – nurtured & protected & educated
    • And somebody had to make the piña coladas!
  • 30. This took place before Adam & Eve sinned, before ground was cursed
    • We tend to think that work is a result of the curse, but that’s not the case at all
    • Human beings were working before they sinned & God was working before human beings needed to be saved
  • 31.  
  • 32. Creation was Phase One of God’s plan for the universe
    • God intended for humans to use their knowledge, skill & connections to make the world all that he intended it to be
    • When we do that, our work is good
    • What kind of work do you do?
  • 33. How do you make the world work the way God intends it to work?
    • Some work is knowledge-based: medicine, law, IT, education, finance
    • Some work is skill-based: carpentry, athletics, fine arts, manufacturing, or culinary arts
    • Some work involves managing & leveraging of relationships: HR, sales, parenting, management, or the helping professions
  • 34. Using knowledge, skills & connections for good is good work
    • What is a botnet?
    • Computer virus
    • From a news article: “They secretly install themselves on thousands or even millions of personal computers, band these computers together into an unwitting army of zombies, and use the collective powers of the dragooned network to commit Internet crimes.”
  • 35. Yikes! You know what I’m thinking?
    • I’m glad there are people who understand this & who are writing software to keep the world safe from botnets
    • Your work matters!
    • When you make life better for others, when you make one corner of the world a safer, place, you’re doing good work
    • In fact, you’re doing God’s work
  • 36.  
  • 37. We often make artificial distinction between sacred & secular work
    • Bible says work is God’s work if making people & world all God intends them to be
    • Return to architect who became a missionary
      • Not questioning his decision, but his reasoning
      • He reasoned that designing office buildings & houses had no spiritual significance & no eternal value
      • But if his office buildings added beauty to the city, then his work was good
      • If the homes he designed provided people with safety & comfort & a life together, then his work was good
  • 38. The same can be said for any profession or occupation
    • God wants His world to be beautiful, so he commissions people to be artists & designers & beauticians & paint store owners
    • God wants people to be healthy, so he commissions others to be physicians & nurses & nutritionists & therapists
    • God wants children to be loved & nurtured, so he raises up parents & grandparents & den mothers & child care workers
  • 39. The same can be said for any profession or occupation
    • God wants knowledge to increase, so He calls people to do research & design computers & write books & teach students
    • God cares about justice, so he calls people to be attorneys & judges & lawmakers
    • God values order, so He puts managers in charge of departments, secretaries in charge of offices, & homemakers in charge of households
    • God wants people to live in peace & safety, so he enlists soldiers & police officers and government officials
  • 40. The May, 2009 Christian Chronicle tells of the Pitman Church of Christ
    • MISSION STATEMENT: “We, the local body of the church of Christ, devote ourselves to following the will of God as it is revealed in His infallible Word, the Bible. We exist to glorify God in our collective worship, to reach out to the lost with the gospel, and to build one another up in love. Knowing that we are saved by grace, ALL members are encouraged to use their God-given talents to serve others and to grow in faith, toward God and His son, Jesus Christ.”
    20 mi. south of Philadelphia People drive 40 miles to attend Stress close connections Sunday night small groups Wednesday night meals
  • 41. The key to the church’s growth – friendship evangelism
    • Perception that the church can’t grow in the Northeast — that people won’t respond to the gospel
    • But the Pitman church defies that notion
    • By loving people & showing them Jesus
    • People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care
  • 42. Examples abound
    • Anita O’Hara – an old bar girl – baptized at 65
      • Elder Greg Krinks, pulled her aside & asked why she had no teeth – she had lost them in an accident
      • Krinks: “But I want to give you teeth, I’m a dentist.”
    • Francis Stetser – a drug & alcohol addict – turned his life around after deacon Rich Rinne hired him for construction job
      • When “Franny” died at 46, members overwhelmed wife Sandy with concern & she was baptized
    • Horatio Fenton – Jamaican immigrant – had lost job
      • Depressed because he wasn’t supporting family
      • Befriended by Dan Cooper & the church – no one judged him
      • Became deacon in 2001 & elder in 2007
  • 43. Meet Kelly & Troy Spencer
    • Troy was doing electrical work for elder Dwight Thompson & his wife Mary Lea
    • Mary Lea showed up at his house with a cake
    • Kelly & Troy were baptized
    • Troy remembers walking into the building for the first time
      • “ Dwight greeted me and introduced me to this one and this one,” he said. “I never felt like the new guy. I felt like I walked in somebody’s home and I was immediately a part of the family.”
  • 44. And I couldn’t help slipping this in My daughter, son-in-law & grandson: Carla, Sherwin & Tanner Darunday
  • 45.  
  • 46. There was a time in this country when people of color couldn’t …
    • Eat in certain restaurants
    • Attend certain schools
    • Live in certain neighborhoods
    • Pursue certain careers
    • Things had been that way for a long time
    • Many attempts to change the system had failed
  • 47. But along came a man
    • Martin Luther King didn’t like how world worked in 1950’s
    • Didn’t think that’s what God had in mind so he went to work
    • Used knowledge of history, government & human behavior to teach a new strategy for change: non-violent resistance
    • Used skill with words to inspire & challenge the American people to pursue the dream of an integrated and just society
    • Used connections with politicians & preachers to put pressure on our nation’s industries & institutions
  • 48. Soon other workers joined the cause
    • Cleaning woman refused to give up her seat on a bus
    • Social workers went south to register voters
    • Small business owners dared to serve people of color
    • Educators taught their students that all people were created equal
    • Lawmakers drafted & passed civil rights legislation
    • His work set in motion a movement that transformed us into a nation where people of all races & backgrounds can sit together at the table of brotherhood
  • 49.  
  • 50. Every Monday morning you and I have the same opportunity
    • To put our knowledge, skills & connections to work – if not for justice, then for beauty or truth or health or whatever endeavor God calls us to
    • When you and I work to make life better for one person, for one community, for one industry, we are joining God in the work He’s been doing from the very beginning – the creation and expansion of a universe that reflects his glory in ever increasing ways for all of eternity
    • When you understand this, work is good
    • In fact, it’s very good
  • 51. Before you can join God in His work, you must join God in His will
    • Ephesians 4:17-24 NIV So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. (18) They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. (19) Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. (20) You, however, did not come to know Christ that way.
  • 52. Before you can join God in His work, you must join God in His will
    • (21) Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. (22) You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; (23) to be made new in the attitude of your minds; (24) and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

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