Summary: A Labor Day Sermon. Working for God!
Working for God
September 6, 2015
When you hear the word, "job" what comes to mind? You might think, "I'm glad tomorrow's a holiday!" Others think — "I’m glad I have a job." Some will say, "I wish I had a job." Maybe you’re reminded of the Seven Dwarves as they sang as they headed off to work: "Hi Ho Hi Ho, it's off to work we go!" We have lots of songs we can sing about our jobs.
Do you remember your first job? I remember mine. I worked at a now extinct pharmacy called Dabs Pharmacy. I worked the register and in the good old days, we even delivered prescriptions. So, I was also a drug delivery boy, too. I think I got paid about $2 per hour.
I graduated from there and worked at a health club, a day camp and drove one of the buses, I even sold women’s shoes while in college. Those were some of my jobs and I have some good and not so good memories of them. Eventually, I went on to be an investment auditor for over 8 years before God called me into ministry.
I have to tell you, there were people who I look back on now, and they made an impression on me. Some because they worked hard, others, because they didn’t work hard. As a kid, you learn from watching others. And that’s how I learned from others.
Now, some of you are retired and you may think your day of working is long over, but hold on a little before you tune me out thinking about your lunch plans.
Let me ask you — What about work? Where does this thing called work fit into what it means to be a follower of Jesus? For many of us, work is something we do — we do it because we have to pay the bills, to feed our family, to live. What if we all decided we didn't want to work? Imagine what we would do all day! Yet, there are many people in this world who have simply stopped working.
Well, this is Labor Day weekend. Most people gain an extra day off of work. So, that’s a good reason to celebrate. Right? Labor Day has its roots all the way back to a national holiday proclaimed by Congress in 1894. So, we celebrate the worker. And that’s a good thing! The Bible also speaks about work. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible helps us to gain an understanding of God’s expectations for the follower of Christ.
This morning I want to look at words from Paul to the church in Thessalonica. I want us to be able to answer the question ~ "What does God want me to understand about work?” It’s really a pretty simple question — which has deep implications for us. So, let’s look at what Paul said ~
6 Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.
7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you,
8 nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you.
9 It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.
10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.
11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.
12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
13 As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.
14 If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.
15 Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
Paul is very clear – we are to work. We are not to be idle. Those who are idle, lazy, a slacker are in the wrong. As Paul starts telling them, notice he is giving a command. He said, "we command you” Those who are lazy are not living their lives by the way they have been taught. They are considered disorderly and unruly. Understand they are this way because they think Jesus is coming back very soon . . . and if Jesus is coming back next week, then they believed there was no reason to work. Have you ever heard the expression — "They are so heavenly minded they are of no earthly good." That's what some of these Thessalonian Christians were like — and we can be like them, too.