Summary: This is a sermon encouraging everybody in a ’secular’ job to realise that they are full time ministers, and to unlock their potential.
Faith at Work
The subject that I am going to speak on this morning is one that I have wanted to speak on for some time. Somehow I feel that it is appropriate that I should be speaking on it now, just as I come to the end of my career in the police force and before we begin our work as missionaries. The subject is faith at work.
I have been in some form of employment since I was sixteen years of age. I worked part time while I completed my studies at university. Just over eight years ago I applied to join the police force. There were several stages to the application process and I prayed earnestly at each stage that if it wasn’t God’s will then He would shut the door at each stage. As a result I knew when I entered the police force that I was in the will of God.
The seven and a half years that I have served as a police officer have been very challenging. There have been some real highs as well as some real lows. Elizabeth will tell you how many times I have come home and declared that I wanted to hand in my resignation. It was only the fact that I knew that this is where God had put me that prevented me from doing just that. It is quite ironic that it is just as I am in the most enjoyable period of policing that I am about to leave. The last 12 months, both as a patrol officer and as a police trainer, have been the most pleasurable of my career. It has often been a pleasure to go to work.
The truth is that my work hasn’t got any easier, but God changed my attitude to it. About three years ago God started to reveal to me that my work was not just a career, but a calling. This was confirmed when I went to the national Christian Police Officers conference and listened to a man by the name of David Oliver. I also read one of his books, ‘Work, prison or place of destiny?’ These were things that I had always known, but had failed to let that knowledge change my attitude.
Without realising it, I had seen work as a prison. It had prevented me from getting to as many meetings as I wanted. It had prevented me from fellowshipping with other Christians as much as I wanted. I was coming home stressed and tired. I felt that it got in the way of the spiritual destiny that God had for me. Gradually that changed as I started to realise that my workplace was my place of destiny.
This is the background and the angle at which I want to approach this subject. It is a subject that I would have liked to spend a lot more time on, and maybe even had group studies on. I feel that there will be a lot of people in this meeting who can relate to what I have said about my experiences of work. I just want to lay the foundations this morning of how to view your workplace.
For each person in here their workplace may be very different. It might be staying in and looking after your children. It may be looking after somebody else’s children. It may be voluntary work. You may be retired, and if you are I am talking about the weekly things you do with your time. It may be college; it may be working on your own or in groups, with your hands or with your mind. Each of us will have a different experience of work, but there are general principals that will apply to us all.
I want to answer three questions this morning from a biblical point of view. Why do you work, who do you work for, and how do I balance the needs of my secular work against my spiritual work?
**Why do you work?**
There are many different reasons that motivate people to go to work and then to work when we are there. I want to explore some of those reasons and discover what our main motivators should be.
The first is that it is our way of earning money to support ourselves and our families. Working to earn money is a biblical principal. In Acts 20:34 the Apostle Paul describes how he works hard in order to supply the needs of himself and all of his companions. The tents that he made would have been made of leather which isn’t a particularly easy material to work with. He would have worked hard.
2 Thessalonians tells us that if we don’t work then we don’t eat. We have to work to provide for both ourselves and our families.