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Summary: Labor Day sermon on avoiding the extremes and applying the cure for work-aholism.

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FINDING THE BALANCE: FAITH, FAMILY AND WORK

SELECTED SCRIPTURES

INTRODUCTION: (Song: Running Just to Catch Myself by Mark Shultz)

Have you ever felt like that? In the spin cycle of life, going round and round... not having enough minutes to get everything done? Finding it hard to stay balanced? Well, you are not alone. So many of us find it difficult to keep a balance to all we have to do. And yet, in God’s Ten Commandments, the 4th Commandment reads: “Remember the day of worship by observing it as a holy day. .."(Ex. 20:4 GW) Obviously, to God there is to be a balance between work and our worship of Him. But as we read Scripture we also see that we are to spend time with our family, take care of our bodies, rest... but to keep a proper tension between work and the rest of life is a very complex problem. How can a modern worker, give the proper amount of attention to their career and at the same time not neglect family, the church and personal time? It’s a difficult assignment that a lot of folks are struggling with..

A 2002 Lewis-Harris poll showed that 71% of those families earning $50,000 or more annually would give up a days pay each week for an extra day of free time. "Leisure time, not money, is becoming the status symbol of the new century," says John Robinson, who directs the "American’s use of Time" project at the U. of Maryland. "A large segment of Americans," he says, "feel a critical time crunch."

Well, I believe if we are going to maintain a proper balance we need to examine what the Creator of time has to say about this. So, since this is Labor Day weekend I want us together to look at God’s plan through the Bible and see if we can avoid the extremes that often cause our “time crunch” and employ a balance to our lives.

I. IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM: AVOID THE EXTREMES

Since we are looking at a balance issues let’s see the extremes we need to avoid.

(1) The extreme of laziness. Three boys were boasting about their dads and one boy said, "My dad is so fast, he can shoot an arrow and get to the target before the arrow hits it." The second boy said, "My dad is so fast that he can shoot a rifle at a deer and get to the animal before it falls." The third boy said, "My Dad’s faster, he’s got both of yours beat. He gets off work everyday at 4:00 and he gets home by 3:30." Do you think that, in general, the American labor force is suffering from lazy employees? Consumer Report magazine does. For example: They suggest that if you are contemplating buying a new car that you ask the dealer to find out what day the car you were looking at was built on. If it was made on Monday the article suggested you not buy it because Monday is the day when the greatest number of assembly line workers call in sick and so the car is built by less employees doing several line jobs. Ecc. 10:18 - "If someone is lazy, the roof will begin to fall. If his idleness continues, the house will leak.."(NCV) In other words, laziness produces a poor product. And now we have folks that think it’s their God-given right to be lazy.

Listen to this letter to the Editor that appeared in the LA Times. “There has been a lot of criticism of people who do not choose to work, especially when they are collecting welfare. Most people prefer to work and that’s fine, but others may prefer to sit in the park, go to the beach or observe the wonders of nature. Now, those who dislike working should not be penalized by depriving them of the benefits of our society, there’s plenty for all. Everyone does not feel the same way about working//, some have built in feelings against it, especially when it’s required.

Now, my solution is that this natural attitude should be looked on as a handicap. We don’t punish other people with handicaps. Our society provides for them and should do the same for those who have a natural aversion to work. Why can’t we just live and let live, with each to his own style? We must not discriminate against one’s personal work ethic but provide humanitarianly for all people, no matter their labor preference." Isn’t that special?

You know the Bible has some harsh words for the lazy.. 1 Tim. 5:8- "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."(NIV) 2 Thess. 3:10-13- "Even while we were still there with you, we gave you this rule: “He who does not work shall not eat.” The book of Proverbs has all kinds of instructions against laziness. It says a lazy person sleeps in instead of doing what he should. Pro. 26:14- "As a door turns back and forth on its hinges, so the lazy person turns over in bed." They sleep through class, they miss appointments or are late for work because they slept in, they go to St. Mattress on Sunday morning. Proverbs also says the lazy person is full of excuses. Pro. 22:13 - "The lazy person is full of excuses, saying, “If I go outside, I might meet a lion in the street and be killed!." He rationalizes his inactivity. “I can’t work today, the pollen count is too high. It’s Monday, people don’t buy on Monday. It’s Friday, people are knocking off early on Friday.” There’s always an excuse. Everything in God’s creation, from the ant to the human being, has a function and is supposed to work. But the lazy person spends his energy finding way to avoid that responsibility.

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