Living Simply with Work

Tidbits from Sunday’s Sermon: (Listen Here)

We tend to view work as an interruption to real life.  That is why Monday’s are so hard.  Work just seems to get in the way of what we really want to do.  But guess what?  Work is vital and if we can live wisely with work, we will discover a new, simple purpose in life.
1.  Work is what we were created to do.
From the first days in the garden, God gave Adam a job.  Genesis 2:15-17 describes his task, to “work it and take care of it.”  Work changed after the fall of sin.  Genesis 3:17-19 describes that work will be harder outside the garden.  God even gave us the perfect model of work.  He worked six days creating and rested from his work on the seventh.  Couldn’t he have created for one day and rested for six?  He didn’t.  He wanted to show us how to work and rest.
2.  Wise working has character.
     – It is done well.  Proverbs 22:19.
     – It is diligent.  Provers 24:30-34.  It takes time and effort.
3.  Working keeps us from chaotic entanglements.
     – In 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15, Paul described his own requirements for work.  He told people how he modeled work.  And laid out instructions for those who wouldn’t work.  “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.”  The temptation for those who are not working is that they become “busybodies.”  They fill their lives with things that are unproductive and even destructive.  Not working leads to idle living.
     – Being idle diminishes our sense of value.
     – Being idle leaves us room and energy to spend time in unhealthy pursuits.
     – Being idle turns us from producers into mere consumers.
4.  Working can be done for our entire lives for the glory of God.
     – Work is an opportunity to serve God.  1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us that whatever we do we can do for the glory of God.
          * Our work is an opportunity to show godly character.
          * Our work is an opportunity to build relationships with others who don’t know Jesus.
          * Our work is a chance to provide a ready witness when people come with spiritual needs.
     – Your work may provide resources to give.  You may not have need, but working might be able to provide more to give.  Ephesians 4:28 encourages us to structure our lives so we can give.
     – Your work may take a different turn after your job is over.  By work, we’re not just talking about paying jobs.  Your work may be volunteer work, or missions forays.  The whole goal is, to be productive for the Kingdom of God.  This is done by serving God and serving others.
     The question of every day should be, “What will I produce today?”
Work is beautiful because it is part of a simple, God-directed lifestyle.
Here are the text questions from yesterday.
Q1::  (answered live)  How does work happen in retirement or when we can’t anymore?
A1::  That’s a great question.  Work is not necessarily something we do to be paid.  It is something we do to be productive.  We can work through volunteering or serving in community organizations, in the church, or even in our neighborhoods.  And when we can’t work – we have to ask… what can I do to add to the lives of others?  Writing notes, getting serious about prayer for others, encouraging your grandkids.  Now, I do know there are those who just can’t any of those things, usually because of health issues.  If that is where you are, then maybe God just wants you to receive what he has to give you through others.
Q2::  (answered live)  Is it better to just plain stay busy and employed, or to quit and search for a job that we enjoy?
A2::  This is a great question because we get a lot of our self-worth from our jobs.  And if we are miserable, it is tough.  But there are other wisdom principles involved.  If others are needing us to support them, then stay where you are.  If you have obligations, work first, to meet those obligations.  And remember that no matter where you work, you can do God’s work.  You can be a witness.  You can offer his grace to others.  If you circumstances are that you can pursue other things while meeting your obligations, by all means, do so.  But no work is of no value to God, as long as it doesn’t go outside the bounds of his morality.
Q3::  (answered live)  Both work and rest are important.  How do you create a balance of working hard and resting well so you can continue to work?
A3::  You are so right.  I think a lot of us may have a harder time with the resting thing.  Not because we spend so much time in work, but because when we rest we really don’t rest.  In our society, we tend to over schedule our rest.  We cram so much into it that we are more tired than when we began.  We need to learn to slow down, unplug, and really rest.  We need less full weekends.  We need more quiet.  But for most of us that would be a painful change.  But try it for a day.  See if it doesn’t help you recharge.
Q4::  (answered live)  My full time job is _____ (persons name).  Does that count?
A4::  You bet it does.  Meeting the needs of friends or family members is critical.  And it is work.  Moms and Dads, or kids who take care of parents are vitally important to the values of the Kingdom.  It is through this kind of service and faithfulness that the world sees the love and faithfulness of God.  Remember, you don’t have to be paid to have it be real work.  But you do have to produce.  And if you are serving someone in need, you are producing an atmosphere of love and health.
Q5::  How does a person who is not capable of working or volunteering take these words?
A5::  See the answer to question 1.  But also, I would add that this “wisdom” from Proverbs isn’t given to make someone feel guilty about not measuring up.  But to give empowerment and meaning to life.  If someone can’t, because of impairment, act on the principle of work then they simply can’t.  And they are in the position of needing care from others.  And yet, we can explore the possibilities of doing something if we can.  Can we make crafts for others?  Can we write a note of encouragement?  Can we pray a prayer?
After all this talk about work, I’m ready to get back at it!
I would love to hear your perspective on work?  When has it brought you joy?  When has it been a burden?
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