Living the Christian Life at Work
— Colossians 3:22–24 — Andrew Fountain: Oct 29, 2017
The Christian and Work
Practical challenges and how we can respond
Any kind of work
- As a home-maker (including those who have a disbility)
- Raising kids
- Regular employment (full or part-time)
- Work from home
The Christian and Work
- The challenges of work
- Balancing our time
- When to complain
- Pointing to Jesus
1. The challenges of work
- no opportunity for creativity
- Work is tough and demanding
- Pressure to perform
- Stressful and anxiety-provoking
- Long hours/shifts
- Pysically hard work
- Poor working conditions
- Little ultimate value
- How does this bring glory to God?
- Time management
There was work in a perfect world
“The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” [Gen 2:15]
- Work is inherently good, and we were created to work
- God works!
- And there will be work in the New Creation
- But this is a fallen world, and work is hard
- Don’t minimize the fact that it’s now fallen under the curse
Quote from John White about exams p.204f
And forever ahead of us go the frightening rituals we go through in examination halls. The silences. The rustling paper. The measured tread of the proctor. Frantic scribblings. The merciless moving of the fingers on the clock...
We put the horror away in the back of our minds, telling ourselves it isn’t so bad as all that. Yet our brain freezes over at the time approaches, and our notes stare back at us blankly and meaninglessly...
I remember the relief I felt when I quit worrying about exams. I was studying human pathology at the time. I recall the desk I was sitting at and the view of tree tops from my open, leaded windows. With half my mind I was reading and with the other half I was worrying about such questions as: Am I really absorbing this stuff? Is it likely to come up in the exam? Maybe this textbook is too detailed. Am I going too slowly? Should I get another textbook? Ought I to rely on lecture notes? Why is it so boring?
The Fight John White p.205
- This is the Scripture that changed his life:
- Bondservants, obey your earthly masters in every respect, not only when they are watching—like those who are strictly people-pleasers—but with a sincere heart, fearing the Lord.
- Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people, 24because you know that you will receive your inheritance from the Lord as the reward.
Serve the Lord Christ.
- I have a confession to make, that I slip in and out of doing this.
- But when I remember to have this mindset, it does transform my work
- I was once in a work situation where I was very angry with some of my co-workers
- All my hard work was being ignored and I was being ordered around like a nobody
- I was bringing creative skill from years of experience and it wasn’t even consisdered
- I couldn’t understand why I was so angry
- This passage totally transformed my thinking at that time and took all my anger away
- MSDS: To start with was given mind-numblingly boring work to do. I was the lowest on the ladder
- IBM Horrible boss. Ended up being physically sick because of the treatment.
- I wasn’t alone. Open plan office—wave of cheering.
- Toxic workplace—resigned, trusting God
- Graduate work—self-discipline
2. Balancing our time
- Undergraduate—never worked on Sundays (I’m not saying that you shouldn’t but that’s what I felt God was asking me to do.)
- I believed the principle: “Honour God and he will honour you”
1 Samuel 2:30
Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honour me I will honour, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
- How can you possibly suffer by putting God first?
- Even when my final exam, that counted for everything, was on the Monday
- How can you possibly suffer by putting God first? —it doesn’t make sense!
- Of course we must be reasonable. PA team meeting on the Tuesday evening, and I had another exam on the Wed
- There was pressure from other Christians to do more
- God is our master, not other Christians
3. When to complain
- Marconi Space & Defense: workstations were crowded so closely together Factories act of 1802 >200yrs ago
- God’s kingdom is about justice
- Rights, Contract
- Not called to be a worm
- We must protect others as well
- Nevertheless Jesus said: “And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two.” Mat 5:41
- Sometimes we need to be assertive
- IBM: A lot of pressure but I asserted what I needed
- “I can’t do this job because there is no documentation. The only person who understands it is in the USA and I’m never able to speak to him on the phone.”
- How long would you need to speak to him for? —A week. Is your passport up to date?
4. Pointing to Jesus
- One approach: Nail your colours to the mast
- take every single opportunity to witness (Anne & I knew someone like this, well meaning, but...)
- Problem: Don’t take advantage of a captive audience
- It is your employer’s time
- You can end up being obnoxious—everyone wants to avoid you
- You end up giving a very negative impression of Christianity
- But it’s very important that people know you are a Christian
- They may start watching your life, but this is not a bad thing
- Give people opportunities to pick up on things you throw out. Don’t hide your Christian or church life from them.
- Very interesting article www.telegraph.co.uk/…hard.html
- Story of store manager with a Christian woman who worked for him
- Her life led to his salvation—he saw something different. He saw a joy
- Maybe you are not a Christian and you see a joy. Do you want it?
- Jesus offers it to you for free
- Not allowing the pressure of work to smother the light of Jesus in you
- Good Samaritan experiment
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might”
- Success != the top of our career
- Work is part of being truly human
- Do it for Christ
- Honour God and he will honour you
“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”
- Jesus will say this to all of us, some more than others, but we’ll all have a reward and enter into the joy of our master.
Updated on 2017-11-02 by Andrew Fountain