Summary: God does not divide work between the sacred and secular. According to God’s Word all work is blessed if it does not conflict with scriptures.
Work – Frustration or Fulfillment
How much do you value your work? Are you bored by what you do? Do you believe that God cares about your work? According to God’s Word, Your work does matter to God.
Why do you work?
· To find self-fulfillment?
· To meet goals you have set in life?
· To become successful?
What is success?
Is success working hard and getting the right breaks to achieve financial success? Success to most means the accumulation of lots of money and materials things. The popular view is that success in your work has nothing to do with success in your personal life.
A man may be a closet alcoholic, have his second or third wife just walk out on him, his kids may be rebellious, his employees can’t stand him, yet because he has lots of money and a thriving business and people may pay big bucks for his endorsement – so in the business world he is successful. The “so called” successful man may not be happy but he can buy all the pleasure he wants. That’s success. For the Christian, success is, knowing the will of God and doing it.
Jesus told a parable in Matthew 20:1-16 that puts work in perspective. (Read from Message)
This parable describes the work ethic that often took place in Palestine. In Palestine the grape harvest ripens toward the end of September just before rains come in October. The harvest must be gathered before the rains come. Workers are desperately needed for gather in the harvest before the rains come and the window of opportunity is gone.
The pay of a days wage given by the house-manager was normal pay for that kind of work. The men standing in the marketplace were not like street-corner panhandlers. They were not lazy or looking for handouts. In Palestine the marketplace as the equivalent of the labor exchange. A man came there the first thing in the morning, carrying his tools and he waited there until someone came and hired him. The men waiting there were anxious for work. Some waited all day and were happy to go to work for even one hour.
The estate manager hired some of the laborers to work at 6 am, others at 9 am, then 12 noon, 3 o’clock and then five o’clock. The workday ended at 6 pm. When the men went to receive their pay they all received an equal amount – a days wage.
The men he hired at 6 am agreed to work for a denarius for the day. All the other workers the estate manages gave the promise: “You go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” When the end of the day came and time for the payout all received the same amount. The men who worked only one hour needed as much to feed their families as those who worked all day.
The men who worked all day complained that they deserved more than those that only worked one hour. They murmured and complained like the buzzing of bees. The estate manager made it clear that he had been fair and fulfilled his promise to the workers. It was his privilege to give more if he so desired.
This parable also teaches that although Jesus was born a Jew and the gospel came first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. Both Jews and Gentiles have the same privileges in the Kingdom of God. Everyone is equal in God’s kingdom.
God in His mercy is constantly giving people opportunity to enter into his Kingdom and participate in Kingdom work. As Christians our goal is to be involved in Kingdom of God work.
You can find your work frustrating or fulfilling.
I. When Work brings Frustration
The writer of Ecclesiastes in 2:10-11 found his work to bring nothing but frustration to his life. “Then I looked on all the works that my hand had done, and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and groping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.”
Work brings frustration when it is done as an end in itself.
When Solomon looked at the work he had done in his own strength and to his own honor and glory he found all he had done to be meaningless. Ecclesiastes 2:18, “I hated all the work I had done.” When work is done as an end in itself it has no meaning or purpose.
When you compromise your integrity at work to please others you work become meaningless.
In the book, The Mind of Watergate, psychiatrist Leo Rangell, relaters what he calls a “compromise of integrity.” He analyzes the relationship between former President Richard M Nixon and several of his closest confidants. He records a conversation between investigative committee member Senator Howard Baker and young Herbert L. Porter: