Summary: There is one way to work for God, the right way.
Work. How does that word make you feel? What images does that word produce in your mind? Do you view work as good or bad? What do you think of work?
Many view work as a burden. For them, work is something to be avoided. Rather than something which gives them dignity, work is viewed as demeaning. Why is this? Why do many view work as a burden? Whatever happened to the idea of the dignity of work? Whatever happened to taking pride in work well done? Have we, as a society, become lazy?
There was a man applying for a job. The manager reviewing the application said, “I’m sorry I can’t hire you, but there isn’t enough work to keep you busy.” The applicant replied, “You’d be surprised how little it takes.”
Of course, it is not true that our society can be categorically labeled as lazy. On the other hand, we might ask ourselves whether we sufficiently promote the value of hard work. To the extent we do not, is the problem one which should be laid at the feet of business, or parents? I heard of a farmer who had several boys. He worked those boys extremely hard around the farm. One day one of the neighbors pointed out that it wasn’t necessary to work the boys that hard in order to raise a crop. The farmer, quietly but firmly responded, “I’m not just raising a crop. I’m also raising boys.” Perhaps the real education concerning the value of our work ought to be held in the classroom of the home.
A few years ago there was an issue up for vote called the “Right To Work”. This morning we will look at the “Right Way To Work”.
It has been estimated that more than 1/3 of the population of Rome was in slavery during the time of Paul. We have one letter that dealt with a run away slave and his master in Philemon.
Slaves were not treated well by there masters. The Roman statesman Cato said, “Old slaves should be thrown on a dump, and when a slave is ill, do not feed him anything. It is not worth your money. Take sick slaves and throw them away because they are nothing but ineffective tools.”
This is just one example of the attitudes that people had toward slaves. It is important that we remember this when we are looking at applying these passages to ourselves.
Sometimes we feel that we can justify our work habits because of lack of pay, poor conditions, etc. We need to remember that Paul was admonishing people who were slaves. If we dislike our work so much that we are not willing to give our best, at least we are free to move on to another job.
I worked in a factory of over 400 people, I’d say that 70% of them did not like what they were doing, many of them spent more time trying to get out of work that doing it. Instead of trying to do something with themselves to find a better job, people just complained.
I struggled with a poor attitude many times to the point that I let it affect the other areas of my life. As I preach this message, I want you to realize that I really struggled with this issue when I was in the factory. It is my hope that this message will encourage you if you are struggling with your job.