INTRODUCTION: ATTITUDES ABOUT LIFE’S WORK
• “Here lies Tammas Jones. Born a man. Died a grocer.”-- An epitaph on an old tombstone in Scotland.
• “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” -- Henry David Thoreau
• “Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”-- Shakespeare’s Macbeth
• “Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.” -- Mark Twain
• “We ought not to grow tired of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”—Brother Lawrence
The Biblical authors depict God as "working" when He was creating.
• And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. -- Genesis 2:2
• "My Father is still working, and I also am working…The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.-- John 5:17, 36
• “This book, being about work, is, by its very nature, about violence--to the spirit as well as to the body. It is about ulcers as well as accidents, about shouting matches as well as fistfights, about nervous breakdowns as well as kicking the dog around. It is, above all (or beneath all), about daily humiliations… It is about a search, too, for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying.” -- Studs Terkel, Working
BY FAITH, I CAN DO THE WORK GIVEN TO ME HERE AND NOW
Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. – v. 12
• What are the “greater works?”
That statement is intriguing! How could we possibly do “greater works” than Jesus himself. To understand this point, we look to the book of Acts—the record of the days of the early church, after Jesus had gone to the Father.
What “greater works” do we see in Acts? There are miracles, to be sure, but they are not the focus. The one kind of “greater work” in Acts—the thing greater than what Jesus himself did—is the spread of the gospel. And the gospel spread because the gospel work of Jesus was finished. It was only after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit that the gospel took off. Remember Pentecost, only 50 days after the resurrection, when Peter preached the gospel and 3000 were converted? That was a greater work --that kind of gospel miracle continues to this day.
I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.—vv.13, 14
Sometimes our problem is that we just try too hard! There is nothing we can accomplish in the gospel arena on our own. Everything comes only by prayer. Ask for anything, but you must ask.
CONCLUSION: WE ARE CALLED TO BE RESPONSIBLE CO-CREATORS IN GOD’S WORLD
Our faith is not limited to just attending church services on Sunday; it is related to every sphere of our lives every day. Each one of us has important work to do in God’s sight. In that work, you are doing more than just making ends meet. In all that you and I do we are co-creators with God. And thereby we are responsible for our lives.
HYMNS FOR 04.13.06
110. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (Opening—Praise)
189. Fairest Lord Jesus (Before Scripture)
181. Ye Servants of God (Closing after Sermon)
CALL TO WORSHIP--Psalm 31:1-5,14-16 (The Message)
I run to you, GOD; I run for dear life. Don’t let me down! Take me seriously this time!
Get down on my level and listen, and please—no procrastination!
Your granite cave a hiding place, your high cliff aerie a place of safety.
You’re my cave to hide in, my cliff to climb.
Be my safe leader, be my true mountain guide.
Free me from hidden traps; I want to hide in you.
I’ve put my life in your hands. You won’t drop me, you’ll never let me down.
Desperate, I throw myself on you: you are my God!
Hour by hour I place my days in your hand, safe from the hands out to get me.
Warm me, your servant, with a smile; save me because you love me.