Summary: The biblical work ethic crosses cultural and biblical boundaries. Healthy attitudes toward our work are a vital part of personal fulfillment in life.
It’s Off to Work I Go (III)
We have been talking about our attitudes toward work. The Bible teaches a work ethic that transcends culture, crosses generations, and is applicable to every one of us—a Biblical View of Work. As we embrace the word of God in this significant area of our lives how should we view our work? In previous messages we have found that we should see it as:
1. A Present from God – a gift from the Lord (Eccl. 5:18-20)
2. A Protection from Temptation (2 Sam. 11:1-3)(1Tim. 5:13)
3. A Provision for our Needs (2 This. 3:6-15)
4. A Partnership with God (1 Cor. 3:9) (Jn. 5:17)
5. A Portion to Others-opportunity to invest ourselves in serving others (Matt.20:28)(Eph. 4:28)
This morning we will conclude our series by talking about our work as:
6. A Purpose fulfilled (Eph.2:10) (Prov. 13:4)
7. A Proclamation of Christ (1 Thes. 4:11-12)
6. A Purpose fulfilled:
God has a purpose for every person here today. And for every purpose there is work to be done. Eph. 2:10 says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” NIV God has designed good works for us to do and He has designed us to do those good works. Personal fulfillment is enjoyed in discovering what those good works are and doing them.
When the company founded by Andrew Carnegie was taken over in 1901 by the U.S. Steel Corporation it acquired as one of its obligations a contract to pay the top Carnegie executive, Charles Schwab, the minimum sum of $1,000,000. J.P. Morgan of U.S. Steel was in a quandary about it. The highest salary on record was then $100,000. He met with Schwab, showed him the contract and hesitatingly asked what could be done about it.
"This," said Schwab, as he took the contract and tore it up. That contract had paid Schwab $1,300,000 the year before. "I didn’t care what salary they paid me," Schwab later told a Forbes magazine interviewer. "I was not animated by money motives. I believed in what I was trying to do and I wanted to see it brought about. I cancelled that contract without a moment’s hesitation. Why do I work? I work for just the pleasure I find in work, the satisfaction there is in developing things, in creating. Also, the associations business begets. The person who does not work for the love of work, but only for money, is not likely to make money nor to find much fun in life(1)." God has created in every human being a desire for significance. Whether it’s a Christian or a Non-Christian, every human being needs a sense of significance and accomplishment. This is a great connecting point for evangelism. Charles Schwab saw something in his work greater than just making money. The person who works only to make money is operating at the lowest level of motivation. There is indeed motivation in making money. But there are reasons far more fulfilling and satisfying.
A man once came across three workers cutting stones from a quarry. He asked them what they were doing. One replied: "I am cutting stones." The second said: "I am earning money." The third answered: "I am building a cathedral(2)."
I would take that story one step further. When a person sees me working on that new facility—I know what I’m doing. I am reaching lost people for the kingdom of God. I am facilitating the salvation and training of children who will one day grow up and change the world!
Motivation for work comes through seeing beyond the immediate task to the higher purpose. Joseph was a man who saw beyond the immediate. He worked for something more than a paycheck. He had a sense of destiny in his soul and pursued it. Here are two keys to job satisfaction: 1st, a purpose beyond the immediate. (Joseph lived with divinely inspired vision. There were obstacles. There were disappointments. But the vision was greater than the obstacles. Joseph had a Dream. 2nd the Discipline to appropriate the dream. Joseph was a hard worker. He worked hard in the house of Potiphar. It wasn’t even his house. He served in another man’s house. But still he worked hard there. He worked hard in prison. He could have focused on the difficulties. He could have looked ate the injustices in his life and justified much less effort. But he did what he did “as unto the Lord.” He had a cause, a purpose, and he was diligent toward that purpose. Do you have a Dream? If not ask God to show you His Dream for you. Do you have the Discipline to live the Dream? If not ask God to establish that in you.