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Summary: First in a series on keeping our balance in life. Work, Rest and Play are three of the areas we need to keep in balance. This message focuses on why we work and some of the hindrances to keeping work in balance with the rest of life, and the "shift" tha

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Keeping Your Balance - Work

Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15

Two weeks ago, our guest speaker, Mr. Jon, spoke about balance. Having a balance in our lives of the things that are good and necessary parts of our lives. I want to bounce off of that message. Jon gave the introduction. For the next three weeks, we’re going to look at three of the most important things in our lives that we need to balance: work, rest, and play.

Those three things, particularly, need to be in balance in all of our lives, if we’re going to have all the other things fall into place. And I do believe if we have these in balance - a good and godly balance, then most other things that pressure us for our time, will also take their rightful place in our lives, or those things that press for our time, but we have no business even considering them, will eventually work their way out of our lives all together.

Today, let’s talk about work.

What is work, really. Is it only what we get paid to do - our job? Is work work when we are doing something we don’t like, because if we like to do it, it’s play? Does work have to be productive to be work? What is work?

Webster’s dictionary uses almost half a page to define work, but at the outset it says work is, “a physical or mental effort exerted to do or make something.” Webster’s says work is, “purposeful activity.”

WORK = Purposeful Activity

Think about what you had for breakfast this morning. I had a ½ bagel. I was the only one in the kitchen at the time. I got the bagel myself, toasted it myself, put peanut butter on it all by myself, and ate it myself.

Despite all that independent, self-sufficient activity, a staggering amount of work went into my breakfast this morning.

First there was the farmer who planted and harvested the wheat that went into the bagel. Then there was the miller who turned the wheat into flour. There was the baker who turned the flour into a bagel by adding other ingredients and cooking it. There was the packager who packaged the bagels. There was the overnight worker who stocked the shelves at the grocery store placing them in such a way that it would be appealing for me to buy the bagels. There was the cashier at the store where I, finally, purchased the bagel.

That all seems pretty obvious doesn’t it. But that only scratches the surface of the work that went into my having a toasted bagel this morning. There was the manufacturer of the toaster and the manufacture of the parts that made the toaster. I plugged the toaster into the electrical outlet, so there was the wiring into our home so that the toaster could toast. And I put (listen for it) PEANUT BUTTER on my toast with a KNIFE that I took out of the KITCHEN DRAWER. I think you get my drift.

Now, when we ask God to provide us with our daily bagel, he could drop it, like manna, from Heaven. But, instead, he chooses to use many, many people, all over the world, engaged in purposeful activity, so that my needs - and wants - can be satisfied.

So, then, is work - for instance ALL the work that went into my bagel - is there anything spiritual about it?

How is work related to our faith? Is there a connection between God’s work and our work? Galen was just promoted at work. How does that promotion affect his relationship with God? More importantly, how does Galen’s relationship with God, affect his work - influence the fact that he got a promotion? Does God even figure into it?

Is work just what we HAVE to do in order to have the things that we need - or WANT.

David Jensen says, “If Christian theology avoids the topic of work, then it suggests that the bulk of the Christian life - time spent working - is peripheral to the heart of the faith.” (Responsive Labor, p. 2)

Is our work life connected in any way to our spiritual life? I mean sure it is if you’re a pastor or a chaplain. What about if you’re a bank president? Or an assembly line worker? Or a teacher? Or a grocery store clerk?

Are you a teacher who just happens to be a Christian? Or are you a Christian teacher. Does being a Christian define who you are as a teacher?

That’s the key question:

Does being a Christian define what I do as a __________________? (You fill in the blank there, of what it is you do.)

You’ve heard me say many times, “What you do is not who you are.” And yet, what we do, and why we do it, does shape our identity, not just give us a sense of identity.

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