Summary: In an time when so many people are in need of work, Christ asks us to work for him. We do not work to earn salvation, we work because we already have salvation!
I want you to think for a moment about the talented people you know or that you know of.
They could be athletes; they might be musicians, or dancers, or writers, or painters. I think we all know talented people, skilled people. And maybe they aren’t skilled at athletic, or artistic things, but maybe they have a particular skill in wood-working, automotive repair, computer gaming, or chess.
I want you all, quickly, to take a moment to think of someone you know who has a skill that you respect, that really stands out as special. Think about it.
Do you have someone in mind?
Now…ask yourself one question for me. What is the single biggest factor that has led this person to being as skilled as they are? Why are they good at whatever they are good at? How did they get to be so good, so accomplished?
And the answers to those questions, I suspect, would be something like this:
1. They have done it a lot.
2. They practice often.
3. They really enjoy doing it.
We’ll tend to get answers along those lines so when you take those answers and start to examine what is at the heart of those answers you begin to see a pattern and that pattern is "repetition."
Whenever someone is accomplished at something, it never comes without repetition. You can have as many God-given skills to do an activity as there is, but without repetition, you won’t be successful.
I often wonder if I have some other-worldly skill that I have yet to discover that I would be one of the best at. If only I played Cricket, or if only I made sculptures, or even, heaven forbid, played soccer, maybe then I would be one of the world’s best. Its doubtful, but intriguing to think about nonetheless, isn’t it?
I mean you watch Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan play basketball and it is an amazing thing to watch because you feel like they are doing exactly what God designed them to do because they are so gifted at it.
When you watched Ken Griffey, Jr. play baseball in his younger days, you watched in amazement because his swing looked so graceful, so natural.
Some of you aren’t sports fans, so maybe you marvel at the artistry of Norman Rockwell or Thomas Kingcade. Perhaps you stand in awe of the creations of Frank Lloyd Wright, or Da Vinci, or Michelangelo.
Many of you become saturated in the imagination that is brought about through the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and others.
None of those people, none of these amazingly gifted and talented people have attained or created what they have without repetition. Maybe we could call it practice, but whatever you want to call it, there is something at the heart of it all.
Whether practice, repetition, or whatever; at the heart of it all is one thing…commitment.
All of these artists, athletes, writers have or had a commitment to their craft. Their talent could only take them so far, because in the end, they still had to want it. They had to have the drive, the passion, the will, to succeed, to win, to be one of the best.
That is what sets apart the skilled elite. They have an undying, relentless commitment to their skill, to their craft.
And it is this commitment that we call a "work ethic."
Think about that for a moment. We value a good work ethic so much in this country, in our culture…and with good reason. A good work ethic glorifies God. A good work ethic gets things done. A good work ethic impresses an employer that you are worth your wage…or perhaps even more.
We like to see a good work ethic rewarded. We enjoyed watching Michael Jordan win championships because he wanted it more than anybody. We looked up to Jerry Rice for his work ethic and then watched as he played at a high level well into his 40’s.
Maybe some of you have been employers. Let me ask you, wasn’t it easier to give an employee a raise that worked hard for you, that was trustworthy and efficient? Of course it was.
In the same way that we value a good work ethic in others, God values a good work ethic in us, not only when it comes to serving our bosses, but when it comes to serving Him.
I read a recent article by Thom Rainer and the purpose of the article was to outline what should be expected by ministry leaders of the members of the church, specifically the younger generations.
His point was that we live in a generation now where church attendance has become optional. Going every week is not a priority…going at all is not a priority. And I have witnessed this first hand. I cant tell you how many times I have asked a person if they worship anywhere because they implied that they were "religious" only to find out that while they believe in Jesus or God or whatever, they didn’t see church attendance as a necessary part of their life.