Saturday, October 18, 2014

You Work Your Whole Life, Have Something To Show For It!

I started working in full-time ministry when I was 16 years old. For twelve years, I didn't know anything else except for working to make our church better. Then things happened and I had to begin work out in the secular world. I eventually found employment in an aluminum press as a Quality Assistant. It was a drastic change from what I was used to!
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a shock for me to have to do “real” work. I have never had problems with manual labor, and the work load here was not what I had a problem with. My problem was simply an issue of significance. You see, I often found myself thinking things like, “My work used to change lives – now I just inspect parts for office furniture!” I had lost my sense of purpose...and I needed to understand why I was where I was.
For the next few months, God dealt with me about a believer's role in their secular workplace. He took me through Scripture and pointed out why He had me there and what my goals should really be. As I learned from Him, I began to realize that not many Christians in the workplace knew these things or had the right attitude about their employment.
Why should we as believers work for someone else – someone who is probably not a believer, and who may not even be a decent person? When we ask this, it's a question of motive. We're not really asking about how we should work; that's something that will be taken care of when we learn about why we're working. At the risk of giving away the is the least of your reasons!
So what are we in the workplace for?
#1 - Proverbs 25:13 Trustworthy messengers refresh like snow in summer. They revive the spirit of their employer.” Bosses throughout this country are having a drought of trustworthy employees. They can't seem to find anyone who understands that they're being paid to work. They're being burned out by workers that don't work, or who work half-heartedly, or who constantly complain about the work they have to do. Christian, don't be that person! Work to refresh your employer!
Your primary goal at your job is to benefit your boss and your company. Of all their employees, you should be the one who has their best interests in mind. You should want your boss to succeed! You should want your company to prosper! You should be praying for the peace of your employers. You need to have the same attitude towards your place of work that God told His people to have in Jeremiah 29:7 - “And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace.” When you work – your first priority is to help your company succeed!
#2 – Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses...” Another goal to have in your workplace is to “do the work of an evangelist.” (2 Timothy 4:5) If we're called to preach the Gospel to the world, why would you complain about being around worldly people all day? Use your place of work and your relationships with your coworkers as springboards to reach the lost!
Keep in mind, this should never be at the expense of your own workload. If you can talk about Jesus while you're working – go for it. But if it's going to affect your quality of work, then wait for lunch time! We already said this once, but your primary goal there is to refresh the spirit of your boss by being faithful to your responsibilities. If you should get a reputation of ignoring what you're supposed to be doing to talk about Jesus, then people will simply shut you off.
One thing I made sure of when I started my job was to get a reputation as a worker first – before I told anyone that I was a believer. Do you know what happened? As people saw me working – before I had told anyone about who I was – I had people coming to me to ask things like “where do you go to church?” If you live the life you're supposed to live at work, you won't surprise people when you tell them about your faith!
#3 – Proverbs 27:2 Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth...” I used to shy away from praise for a job well done. Not anymore! I have gotten to the place where I welcome it! Why? Is it to feed my ego or inflate my self-esteem? Not at all!
I know why I have always worked harder than I need to. I know why I've always been motivated to improve my workplace. And I know why I've caught the attention of my bosses...and it's not my fault! It's God's grace that gives the power and ability that produces things from my work! 1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.It's not me that's gaining this praise, it's the grace of God working in me!
I work to get praised. Does that sound conceited to you? Let me explain myself then. Anytime someone tells me how impressed they are by what I do, anytime someone says “good job!”, and anytime I catch my bosses eye – I have more praise to give My Heavenly Father! I take that praise, that acclamation, that promotion, and that recognition and lay it down at His feet. As I do this, I proclaim “Look at what Your grace has done!” This is what Ephesians 1:6 calls “the praise of the glory of His grace.”
#4 – Colossians 3:22-24 “Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” We may have an earthly boss – but that's not the one that we're working for! True, we're there to minister to them and refresh them – but we do this because our real Boss told us to! We work to serve Jesus, and our real reward will come from Him!
Ephesians 6:5-8 “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.”
We will stand before the throne of Jesus to receive rewards for what we do here on earth...including how we handled our employment. In light of this, does it really matter how much they're paying you to do your job? In light of eternal rewards, what does the difference between $10 and $20 per hour matter? Jesus will one day look at how I do my job and hand out His reward...that's the payday that I'm working for!
#5 – Ephesians 4:28Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
Speaking of payday – we do have a responsibility with our money! It's the least of our motives, but we do work for money. But it's not about earning money to store up for ourselves. We work for money in the same way we work for praise – so that we have it to give! Pay raises come naturally as a reward for diligent work. But that money comes in so you can give it out.
Our goal with our paycheck is to earn more so we can give more. Whether it's in the form of the tithe to your church, supporting a ministry that's doing a great work, or helping families in need – God blesses generous people!
Our goals in the workplace are simple:
#1 – We are there to refresh our employer
#2 – We are there to be a witness to a captive audience
#3 – We are there to earn praise that we turn back to God's grace
#4 – We work to obtain an eternal reward from our real boss – Jesus!
#5 – We earn a paycheck so we can have something to give
As believers, let's not get caught up in the attitude of the world concerning our job. You're there because God picked you to be there. Let's keep our eyes on what really matters!

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