Dig deeper into the message during the sermon, in your personal Bible study, or with your family or Community Group in application-driven discussion.
I. Some people worship their work. Whether these folks are working in the marketplace or as a full time student, some people love the work that they do. Maybe it pays well and they get lots of recognition. A lot of you also love the social network you have in the workplace. Work can be intoxicating, and so you put in lots of hours. But because you work so much, you have no emotional energy left when you get home, and so you end up neglecting your God-given responsibilities as a follower of Christ, as a husband, a wife, a mom, a dad, a son, a daughter, or a friend. God never intended that we find our ultimate fulfillment, or escape from other difficulties, through our work.
II. Some people hate their work. These folks live for the weekend—you want your paycheck (or, your diploma). You do just enough to get by. At its root, this attitude is a theological misunderstanding about the nature of work and how God views it. Filling out an expense report can be as spiritual as reading your Bible (1 Corinthians 10:31). God is just as interested in how you go about doing your work as he is in what you do at church. Both those who live for work, and those who live for the weekend, reflect an unbalanced, unbiblical perspective of work. We are not to worship our work, as if our ultimate significance were found there, nor to hate our work, as if it were insignificant in God’s eyes.
III. We should view our work as a gift from God (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13). (a) Work helps provide for our needs, and for those of our family. Money doesn’t just magically appear in our bank accounts; we have to work for it (Proverbs 13:4). (b) Work gives us financial margin so that we can help those who are less fortunate (Ephesians 4:28; 1 Timothy 6:18). (c) Work generates resources to invest in God’s eternally significant Kingdom (Matthew 6:19-20).
IV. We should view our work as a context for ministry. In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus used two metaphors to describe the influence that He wants his followers to have in this world: salt and light. In a world with no refrigeration, salt served as a preservative and a flavor-enhancer. Jesus wants us to have those impacts in our world. And, as light dispels darkness, God wants us to act as spiritual lights pointing people to his Son Jesus Christ. That’s our purpose, and if we’re tasteless salt or a covered light, Jesus said we’re of no use at all. We spend most of our time and have the greatest opportunity to rub shoulders with those who don’t yet have a relationship with Christ at work. God has sovereignly placed you where you work or where you attend school for a reason—and it is not just to get money or a diploma! Your goal is to be salt and light in those relationships. So, how can we do that?
- Work hard and master your craft. (Colossians 3:23-24)
- Always act with character and integrity. (Psalm 15)
- Be kind and gracious. (2 Timothy 2:24)
- Be open about your Christian commitment. (1 Peter 3:15)
- Be alert to those who respond positively to you. (That’s what Jesus did.)
- Ask God to give you opportunities to sow spiritual seeds, and then seize them when he does. (Ephesians 6:18-20)
Remember: work is a gift from God and it provides a natural context for ministry.
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Begin your workday by thanking God for the gift of work.
- Memorize Colossians 3:23-24 and determine to apply it.
- Be salt and light at work by applying the six bulleted suggestions (see Sermon Summary).
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large, that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)