Summary: OUR WORK ETHICS REVEAL OUR GOD
WORKING FOR A LIVING
EPHESIANS 6: 5-9
NOVEMBER 17, 2002
INTRODUCTION: One man told his friend: I lost my job because of illness and fatigue. Second man: Really, how awful! First man: Yeah, my boss got sick and tired of me!
I am told that when President Bush was governor of Texas he had to deal with a lot of conflict. According to the sources I heard on the news one night, He came into office with a legislature that was in the opposite party. Early in his term he met with the opposition leader of the legislative branch with the hopes of building a cooperative coalition for the future.
The meeting was a failure. There was no trust and no agreement. There was plenty of conflict.
At the end of the session as Bush got up to leave he suddenly reached over and grabbed the opposition boss with both hands on his neck and gave him a big kiss on the cheek.
The man was completely stunned. He got red faced and stammered "What did you do THAT for!"
Bush said, "If I can’t get your cooperation and help, I’m at least going to get a kiss!"
The opposition leader broke up laughing and that was the beginning of friendship and the end of conflict.
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Learning to work together is one of the real struggles of life. Everyday I talk with someone about their job and they make comments like, “Well, just pray about it,” “It’s a job,” “It pays the bills,” or “it will do until something else comes along.” The other side of the coin is not just the job, but how we function on the job with those with whom we have to work. I hear all kinds of comments about employees and employers. Some are positive and some are negative, but the reality of life is that we all work for someone! So what does it look like to be a Christian and have a job? What does it look like to honor God at work? What does it look like to “Work for a living?”
THESIS SENTENCE: OUR WORK ETHICS REVEAL OUR GOD!
I. WORKING FOR A LIVING IS A MATTER OF INTEGRITY (VV. 5-6)
A. IT’S ABOUT DOING THE RIGHT THING (V.5)
1. First things first! Our text speaks of “slaves” and “master.” This however is in no comparison to the slavery issues America faced. This was more of an employee/ employer relationship.
2. The first words we here are of “Obedience”!
3. It is about doing what we are supposed to do.
4. It is about doing the right thing and living up to the job description.
5. It is a matter of respect and “Fear” which is really about reverence, which is really about honoring someone based on their position over us!
6. If this isn’t enough, we are to obey with sincerity of heart. We will discuss this later.
B. IT’S ABOUT DOING THE RIGHT THING FOR THE RIGHT REASON (V. 6)
1. Not only are we to do the right thing, but also in verse 6 we are told to do the right thing for the right reason!
2. We are not only to obey to win the favor of our employers.
3. Yes, we don’t want the boss to hate us, but we are not to base our work on a popularity contest.
4. We are also not just to base our work ethic on whether or not the boss is watching us.
5. We are to do the right thing for the right reason!!
6. Colossians 3: 23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart!”
ILLUSTRATION: I read an amusing story about the first Duke of Wellington. An inventor was trying to interest him in a bulletproof waistcoat he had made. It was absolutely marvelous and could save the great man’s life if somebody tried to assassinate him. The Iron Duke asked the man to put it on, and he examined it carefully, and then, to give it a test, he sent for a rifleman - but the inventor bolted out of the other door!
YOU SEE, IT IS A MATTER OF INTEGRITY, STANDING BEHIND WHAT YOU DO!!
II. WORKING FOR A LIVING IS A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE
A. IT’S ABOUT KNOWING YOUR PLACE: EMPLOYEE
1. We are not employees of a company or a boss; we are employees of the living God, regardless of our vocation!
2. We are to obey, just as we would Christ (V. 5)!
3. We must remember, as verse 6 states, we are “Slaves” of Christ!
4. The term is doulos and can be translated “Servant,” or “Slave”!
5. Verses 7 & 8 make it all too clear, we are to “Serve… as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does…”