What a simple question! And yet there doesn't seem to be a simple answer to it. Everything from our family of origin, cultural and educational background, to TV, social media and religion influence how we answer that question.
This question is pertinent for everyone regardless of the stage of life we are in. That's why last Sunday I gave a message on God's Rhythm in Work. Demands on our time and finances are only seem to increase year after year. How we think about work and answering this question, "why do I go to work?" will influence whether or not we are able to get into a sustainable rhythm of rest and peace that will be a blessing to ourselves, our families, an the people we work with regardless of our vocation.
Ruthie & Preston
Remember Preston's analogy of Ruthie dancing on his shoes at Jason & Anne's wedding? Ruthie learned her steps and rhythm as she allowed her father to lead her. The same must be true for us at work. Christ has literally set us free from the powers of this world in order that would not be subject to their rules (i.e. keeping up with the Joneses, having a certain lifestyle, retirement being the ultimate goal).
Principal #1 - Work is for our good
The Bible is clear that God gave Adam and Eve work to do before the fall (Genesis 1:26-28 & Genesis 2:15) and it wasn't till after sin that work became opposed (Genesis 3:17-19). While the work is often times hard, work remains good and a means of eternal reward (Colossians 3:23). Jesus is our Redeemer. He has the power and authority to redeem every part of our lives. The past shame. The present struggles. Everything. Including our work lives. He alone can provide us with purpose and satisfaction in the midst of what can often be a difficult season at work.
Principal # 2 - Work is for His Glory
Not only is work for our good, but it is also for His glory! Remember (and it is hard to keep this at the forefront) that this life is about Jesus!
That in everything, in work, on Monday's, in the classroom, on payday, on Friday, that in everything Christ might be first. The highest. The most important. Nothing else to gain other than Him!
So your job and mine is the same. To spread the fame and fragrance of Christ where ever we are. All believers are in full time ministry! The only difference is how the ministry is funded. Your work and mine is primary about making Jesus preeminent everywhere.
Principal #3 - You do not work to earn a living
Remember that time when I said the primary role for male leadership in the home is to lead, protect and provide? Well this statement seems to contradict what I said last week.
I think any good, bible-believing Christian would agree with principal 1 & 2. But this one seems to go against everything we have been taught.
So remember, work is the primary place for Christians to actually represent Christ. And our primary job is to make Jesus famous. He made us His royal ambassadors, image bears and minsters of reconciliation in order to reconcile the world back to Him. That means you go to work for God's fame and for the people you work with. Yes, even for the ones you don't like!
The Lord our Provider
I believe for us as a church to realize the, we will come up against the spirit of the age here in Dallas. Materialism. Independence. Busyness without a lasting purpose. Instead of striving to accomplish and earn more, we must allow God to determine our standard of living as we work to seek first His kingdom and make disciples.
For us to walk in a lifestyle of Rhythm we have to understand what our part is and what God's part is. God's part is abundantly clear. Jehovah Jireh - The Lord our Provider. It is His name. He is our provider... not our boss, not the government, not the economy, not your MBA, but the Living God! (Psalm 23:1, Matthew 6:23-34, Philippians 4:19, Hebrews 13:5-6).
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” - Hebrews 13:5-6
Our part is to be faithful and work as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23, 2 Corinthians 4:2). Make no mistake about it, Jesus’ followers are to work hard, but for a different reason than the world. Christians primarily do not work to earn a living. They are primarily motivated in their work by the desire to extend God’s kingdom and to glorify Him.
May God help each of us to seek Him first and may God also supply the grace to trust Him to establish our rhythms of work.
Grace and peace to you all,