Summary: The value of discovering our partnership with God in our work is discussed. Work is a blessing not only in regard to our daily provision but personal fulfillment as well.
It’s Off to Work I Go (II)
This morning we want to pick up where we left off last week. Our subject is a biblical view of work. Am I seeing my work the way God wants me to see it? Last week we addressed four scriptural concepts concerning work. We are to see our work as:
1. A Present from God In Eccl. 5:19 we discovered that to work and enjoy our work is a gift from God. We talked about why this gift is so good. God’s present to you is work sanctified by the Holy Spirit perfectly suited for you.
2. A Protection from Temptation We talked about David’s failure with Bethsheba. The set up for that failure was idleness. Paul confronted people in the early church who were not working. In 1 Timothy 5:13 he talked about those who “learned” to be idle—a learned behavior, a habit formed that was not good. What did they do to fill the vacuum of their time? They filled it with gossip and meddling in other people’s business. Gossip is usually a good indicator that somebody doesn’t have enough work to do. Somebody needs to “get a life.”
3. A Provision for my Needs In the normal course of life we are to work and enjoy the fruit of our labor. God’s means of provision for you and me is usually through the avenue of work. “Six days shall you labor …”--the seventh day is then a day of rest. In the early church Paul by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit established the rule that if a person would not work then neither should he eat (2 Thes. 3:10)
4. A Partnership with God We used the farmer to illustrate partnership with God in our work. The farmer clears the land, plows and waters the fields with a faith and expectation that God will do His part in the process. Only God can ultimately bring the increase. But God requires the farmer’s work as an expression of faith and a partnership with Him. We heard Jesus say in John 5:17 "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." The fact that God is working does not mean that I stop working. Indeed, it should be a great inspiration for me to work.
This morning I want to talk some more about our work as a Partnership with God.
What happens if I don’t view my work as a partnership with God?
1st I could find myself actually working against God. At the Tower of Babel they worked hard. They were highly motivated. But they were working for the wrong reason. They were pursuing the wrong purpose. There are right reasons to work hard and there are wrong reasons for working hard. Working for one’s own self aggrandizement, one’s own glory, is a motivation that will ultimately end in frustration. God Himself frustrated their efforts at Babel.
Many Christians work for the same reasons the ungodly work and find themselves just as frustrated as unbelievers. They have been saved but their thinking concerning work has not been changed. Their minds as Romans 12 puts it need to be renewed in this dimension of their lives. Whether we’re a believer or unbeliever if we work to just acquire things for ourselves or make life easy for ourselves or gain the praises of men we will experience frustration after frustration in our work. Even if we do gain a superficial success our souls will still be crying out, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!”
Work as a partnership with God means I do what He tells me to do and I do it to please Him. I am not calling the shots, He is. I am not just pursuing my own selfish interest I’m
pursuing His good pleasure. And I’m doing it with the full expectation of His involvement.
If I don’t view work as a partnership with God
2nd I could end up eternally bankrupt. There was a hard working farmer who became very successful but he had the wrong perspective on work. He simply worked to accumulate things. One day he decided to make one more investment. He would tear down old barns and build new, bigger ones. His purpose for working revolved around himself. He was preparing for a great retirement. There is a prudent preparation for retirement but that’s not what work is all about. This man had a word for himself. Luke 12:18 in Today’s English Version, he said to himself, “Lucky man! You have all the goods you need for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink and enjoy yourself.”
Then God had a word for him, “You fool! This very night you will have to give up your life, then who will get all these things you have kept for yourself.”