Message Recap: God at Work, pt. 4

rawpixel-com-274858So far, in our series, led by the incredible Jim Larson, we’ve looked at why and how we work; today, we are looking at another important identifying piece of the puzzle: where we work. As people, indecisiveness is all too rampant in our culture. Let us be the people that decide where we are going to work, and then go do it.

We are in a really unique place in time; only 200 years ago did we first start having the ability to choose our work. What a privilege (and an obligation) to choose where we work! The hard part, of course, is the dizzying effect of the paradox of choice. We are faced with so much opportunity, so many good choices, that we are led often to anxiety, disappointment, and discontent. And, further, we get caught up in the idea that our choices today will dictate our forever. But that’s note the case! Though Martin Luther made a case against career changes, John Calvin and much of the Bible encourage career changes. And, many of it’s characters exemplify the ways in which they glorify God (look at Moses, for example – from sheep herder to political leader!).

Myth 1: Where we work is more important than why we work and how we work.

  1. The Truth is that why we work and how we work is at least as important as where we work.

Myth 2: We will all have a burning bush moment (though, God can, and does, do this for some of us – it’s not a guarantee).

  1. We cannot sit and wait for our calling, God wants us to trust Him and sometimes, make the first move in faith. Even if it’s wrong, it is still a step driving us forward.

Myth 3: We should determine where we work based primarily on our passions.

  1. We should be driven by the following, instead:
    1. The needs of the world
      1. Jeremiah 29:7: But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
    2. Our giftings
      1. Romans 12:6-8: Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
    3. Our truest desires (not our fleshly desires, but the ones that align with the Spirit)
      1. Jeremiah 17:9: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
      2. John 16:24: Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
    4. Compensation
      1. 1 Timothy 5:8: But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
      2. We have to make tradeoffs, and there is almost always a sacrifice.

Myth 4: The best way to hear God is to be standing still.

  1. We have the ability to move forward with God. How do we do it?
    1. Understand the world’s needs
    2. Understand your strengths
    3. Research potential roles
      1. Research what it’s like
      2. Engage with people you know who are in it
    4. Seek community

All of this is critical as we face the question of where we work, and it is critical that we do it all with God.

Biblical references: Jeremiah 29:7; Romans 12:6-8; Jeremiah 17:9; John 16:24; 1 Timothy 5:8

Questions:

  1. How is God transforming how you work?
  2. What is God showing you about why you work?
  3. What is God saying about where you work related to needs, giftings, desires and compensation?

God at Work, Pt. 3

christin-hume-311288

Talking about work is so important because we spend so much time working. Last week, we looked at the why of work, and today, thanks to our wonderful speaker Jim Larson, we are diving into the how of work.

A myth about work: your manager writes your ultimate performance review.

  1. The sacred/secular divide: the incorrect concept that parts of our world are sacred, and the rest of it is secular. This implies that God cares about some things more than He cares about others, which is absolutely untrue. God is in everything. He is Lord over all. 
  2. Martin Luther: “The idea that the service to God should have only to do with a church altar, singing, reading, sacrifice, and the like is without doubt but the worst trick of the devil. How could the devil have led us more effectively astray than by the narrow conception that service to God takes place only in a church and by the works done therein…The whole world could abound with the services to the Lord, Gottesdienste – not only in churches but also in the home, kitchen, workshop, field.”

The Truth about work: God ultimately writes your performance review.

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…

  1. Our value is not in our performance. It is in our adoption and sends and daughters of the Kingdom, and it is high and fixed.
  2. That’s not to say, though, that God doesn’t care about our performance. He does! He has invited us to co-labor with Him, and He expects us to do it well.
  3. Being a Christian at work is the same as being a Christian. 

5 ways we can live out this Truth:

  1. Love others, and love them well.
    1. Matthew 22:37-40: And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
    2. Treat people as ends and not as means.
    3. Be a giver and not a taker (givers, on average, perform worse on reviews than takers or “matchers”, but, having a culture of givers actually produces more fruit and increases performance).
  2. Have integrity.
    1. Proverbs 11:3: The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
    2. Proverbs 28:6: A poor man who oppresses the poor is a beating rain that leaves no food.
  3. Be diligent and seek excellence.
    1. 1 Corinthians 9:24: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
    2. Psalm 24:1-2: The earth is the Lord‘s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.
      1. Our blessings, our talents, and our time all belong to Him (we often forget that last one!).
  4. Be joyful.
    1. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
    2. We aren’t called to be joyful circumstantially, but always.
    3. There is a clear connection between gratitude and joy (biblically and scientifically).
  5. Rest well.
    1. Genesis 2:1-3: Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
    2. We must rest well so that we can work well.
    3. God didn’t need rest (He’s God), but He chose to model it for us.
    4. Take an inventory as to what truly refreshes you. (because, honestly, it probably isn’t social media).

What is the one way God is calling you to work like how He would work?

Biblical references: Colossians 3:17; Colossians 3:23; Matthew 22:37-40; Proverbs 11:3; Proverbs 28:6; 1 Corinthians 9:24; Psalm 24:1-2; Genesis 2:1-3

Questions:

  1. What is the one way God is calling you to work like how He would work?
  2. How are you going to have integrity with your work this week?
  3. How are you going to be diligent and seek excellence?
  4. How are you going to be joyful?

 

Message Recap: God at Work

GOD ATWORK

Though the first message recap, this is the second part of our new series, God at Work. Last week, we were blessed by four members of our church, who participated in a discussion panel surrounding their vocations and how it aligns with God’s vision for work. Today, we have the privilege of hearing from Jim Larson, a faithful member of Mosaic, father, husband, friend, and employee of the secular world.

Unfortunately, the numbers in which people are unhappy and find their job meaningless are ever increasing (more than 50% of people in our society claim both). Not only is this heartbreaking, but it absolutely is out of the will of God; therefore, it’s critical that we ask ourselves, “as the church, how should we think about work?” and “what does God say about it?”. In the next few weeks, we are going to answer a few important questions (i.e.: why do we work, how do we work, and where do we work?). In each instance, we want to identify and reflect upon the overarching question: what is God’s heart for this work?

Let’s address 2 myths about work:

  1. Work is meaningless
    • Why? A lot of people are working solely for the purpose of getting a paycheck. And, though some of us know that work is an opportunity for missions, to spread the Gospel, God still has more in mind.
  2. Work is our primary identity
    • Too often, our first question when meeting someone new is ” what do you do?”. It can incorrectly reduce someone down as seen only by their occupation; though important, it is only one very small aspect of their character and giftings. Too often, we think that knowing one’s vocation is the closest we can get to understanding someone’s identity.

Genesis 1:1-10: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:26-2:3: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Genesis 2:5-9: When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 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. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 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.

Genesis 2:15-20: The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

Genesis, and specifically these passages here, present two radical Truths about work:

  1. We have a God who works, and He delights in it (He’s a gardener. He gets down and dirty!).
    • God doesn’t just do “high” work; His work is expansive and varied. All of this work isn’t just good; it’s worthy of God. No work is medial to Him, because He chose to do it first.
    • He calls us to two types of work:
      • Co-creation: He invited Adam into the work of naming the animals, and He commands us to “be fruitful and multiply”.
      • Co-provision: We are called to co-labor with God.
        • Psalm 145:15: The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
  2. Our identity, first and foremost, is in our Maker – not in our role at work
    • Our value is high and fixed by God. It’s impossibly to be devalued when you are His “special possession”.

We have the honor and privilege and freedom to co-labor with God, who made all things in Heaven and Earth. What an honor and a joy! Lord, open our eyes that we may see work the way you do. It is good because you have said so. Thank you, God.

Biblical references: Genesis 1:1-10; Genesis 1:26-2:3; Genesis 2:5-9; Genesis 2:15-20; Psalm 145:15 

Questions:

  1. Are there any places are you letting your identity be in your work and not in who God says you are? If so, what are they?
  2. How is God calling you to co-labor with him?