Summary: For most Americans Labor Day is a holiday & in the opinion of some it’s the most hypocritical holiday of all. But today, instead of considering our jobs drudgery, I want us to look at them as challenging opportunities. (PowerPoint Available - #223)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoint for this message is available free of charge. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request - #223.)
A. For most Americans tomorrow is a holiday. It's Labor Day &, in the opinion of some, it is the most hypocritical holiday of all.
They say that if Labor Day is a celebration of the unique rights & freedoms that we, as workers, enjoy in our nation; & if we believe that work is a blessing; & if we're sincerely thankful we have jobs while others don't; then what we should do on Labor Day is to tell our bosses, "We want to work today, & we'll do it for free, just to celebrate the privilege of working."
But we won’t do that, will we? We’ll celebrate Labor Day by not working!
B. So let me ask a couple of questions, "Do you look forward to going to work on Monday mornings?” And, “Do you really like your job?"
Now if you answered "Yes" to either of those questions, then you're in the minority. Surveys reveal that many American workers are unhappy with their jobs. Most go to work simply because they have no choice about it. "I owe, I owe, so it's off to work I go."
And many of them would say that they’re unhappy because it is the same old routine day after day after day. And as a result, they often view their life as being an endless merry go round.
ILL. A generation ago Tennessee Ernie Ford sang, "You load 16 tons, & what do you get, another day older & deeper in debt." And Frankie Laine sang, “Up in the morning, out on the job, work like the devil for my pay. But that lazy old sun got nothin’ to do but roll around heaven all day.”
They don’t write songs like that anymore!
PROP. But this morning, instead of considering our jobs to be drudgery, I want us to look at them as challenging opportunities.
I. AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE OF SERVICE TO GOD
First of all, we need to see our work as an opportunity to be of service to God.
A. Do you realize that almost everything we do affects someone else? We have food because there are farmers who planted the crop or raised the cattle, & we’re the beneficiaries of their labor.
Jesus spent most of the first 30 years of his life in Nazareth helping His earthly father in the carpentry shop. Why? Because work was important. People needed houses. People needed yokes for their oxen. People needed chairs & tables. And many people must have benefited from the carpentry skills of Joseph & Jesus.
ILL. At times there are even those who say that they’ve benefited from one of my sermons. Someone will say, "You know, I never thought of it that way before. Your sermon really changed my perspective about that."
And of course, that makes me feel good. But at the same time it reminds me of the awesome responsibilities we have. What we say & do are important, & they make a difference because others are affected by them.
B. So we need to realize that we can serve God in the way we work.
But someone may say, "You don't know my boss. You don't know the kind of people I have to work with. You don't know the power struggles that go on, the flirtations, the cursing, the dirty stories that are passed around."
Let me share a scripture with you. Ephesians 6:5-6 is a passage that I think is very appropriate today. It is addressed to slaves, but the closest thing to slaves today are workers like you & me. So let's substitute the word, "worker," for "slave" & listen to what God has to say.
"Workers, obey your earthly masters with respect & fear, & with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart."
Paul is saying, "Even though your boss is a monster & as pagan as anyone you've ever seen, do your work for him as though you are doing it for Christ."
C. We also need to realize that we can serve God no matter where we work.
Go back to the O.T. for a moment & consider Daniel. As a young man Daniel was taken captive to Babylon, far from his home in Jerusalem where he had been surrounded by people who believed what he believed, who worshiped God. Then he finds himself in Babylon, living in a totally pagan environment.