Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #9: Honesty

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Today the value we’re talking about is honesty. The irony of honesty is that all of us make a big deal about it and we want it but really, in practicality, we give it very little value. 

It is amazing how many opportunities there are in our day to be dishonest. Every conversation, every phone call, every interaction we have dozens and dozens of opportunities to be dishonest.

“Would you like to enjoy life? Do you want long life and happiness?  Then keep from speaking evil and from telling lies.” Psalm 34:12-13 GNT

When you tell a lie, you’ve got to commit to the lie. Then every time the phone rings, every time someone wants to talk you wonder, is this it? Is this when I get caught?

Dr. Leonard Keeler, inventor of the lie detector machine, determined after testing 25,000 individuals that human beings are basically deceptive. At the core of humanity there is dishonesty.

To those of us who have read the Bible, this is no surprise. We know that in the book of Genesis we’re told that dishonesty has plunged this world into the mess that it’s in. The Bible says that the heart is deceitful. We have wickedness that lives within us because of the fall of man, we have a resistance to truth. 

Lying is not only in our culture and nature, dishonesty is part of our spiritual structure. It’s much bigger than ourselves. There’s a struggle going on in the cosmos. Call it what you will, it’s light versus darkness, good versus evil, Satan versus God.

We are the object of this spiritual battle. It’s an eternal combat that is bigger than most of us are capable of understanding. Basically it comes down to this: truth versus falsehood. The Bible tells us that God is the father of truth. The Bible also tells us that Satan is the father of falsehood.

“He (Satan) has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 NLT

The Bible doesn’t sugar coat it, God is on one side and Satan is on the other and we have a choice, do we follow the culture or do we follow the creator? When it comes to the Creator, God says He hates dishonesty. That is not  a word used very often in the Bible.

The word “hate” means it’s disgusting, detestable, utterly and thoroughly repulsive. Dishonesty is repulsive to God because He is the Truth and dishonesty is a perversion of His character.


Steps Towards an Honest Life

1. TELL THE TRUTH CONSISTENTLY

Being honest 80% of the time is not integrity. The little boy who cried wolf is a classic story. Eventually you don’t know whether the guy’s telling the truth or not so you don’t believe him at all. 

So you must tell the truth consistently, honesty is a lifestyle. Nobody has a good enough memory to be a good liar. If you lie you have to remember what you said to each person. If you tell the truth at all times you don’t have to remember anything because you’ve always told the truth.

“People who can’t be trusted are destroyed by their own dishonesty.” Proverbs 11:3 GNT

Every relationship is built on one word — trust. Truth telling produces trust building. Deception destroys trust. If you are a dishonest person pretty soon you have no relationships because nobody can trust you.

“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” Proverbs 12:19 NIV

2. TELL THE TRUTH COMPLETELY

God says lying is an intention to mislead and when you’re just telling a half a truth you’re telling a whole lie. You can lie by falsifying or you can lie by concealing. When we deliberately hold back half the truth, we’re being deceptive.

You can lie without even saying a word. God says, in the end people appreciate honesty. God says tell the truth completely.

“In the end people appreciate frankness more than flattery.” Proverbs 28:23 TLB

It may be unpleasant at first. You have an employee that’s not fulfilling their job and you have to correct them. They may not appreciate it then, but if it helps them build their character it will help in the long run.

“Someone who holds back the truth causes trouble.” Proverbs 10:10 GNT

What kind of trouble can come from concealing the truth? You cause resentment, mistrust, and superficiality. You get into trouble by not saying what you mean and not meaning what you say. 

Marriages often get in trouble because during the engagement period, they lie to each other. Not overtly, but lie by not facing the issues. There may be major differences in the relationship that they just ignoring.

Once you understand the motivation behind your lying, then you can deal with the real issue.

Lying is not your real problem. It’s the symptom of a deeper problem.

“The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Jesus 

Jesus is saying the real problem is not our mouths but our hearts. What’s coming out of our mouths, these lies, are really an indication of what’s inside of us. If we are going to become people of integrity, we have to deal with what motivates us to lie. 

Why Do We Lie?

TYPE OF LIE MOTIVE
The Cruel Lie Resentment
The Cowardly Lie Fear
The Conceited Lie Insecurity
The Calculated Lie Greed
The Convenient Lie Laziness
  • The cruel lie – This is the kind of lie that is intentionally destructive and malicious. You tell it to get revenge. They’ve hurt you so you’re going to get even. You misrepresent them, this is called slander. Slander means when you make up something about somebody that’s not true with the intentional purpose of damaging their reputation. The Sadducees did this to Jesus. They brought false charges so they could hang Him on the cross. The cruel lie is an intentional mischievous lie.  The motive behind that kind of lie – resentment.
  •  The cowardly lie – This is the kind of lie you tell to escape consequences. You’re trying to protect yourself, prevent pain and avoid punishment. Adam told this kind of lie in the Garden of Eden, when he sinned and blamed his wife. The motive behind that kind of lie – fear.
  • The conceited lie – This is when you lie to impress. You’re trying to create an image or cover for a mistake. What may come off as pride and ego is actually a frightened, insecure person. The motive behind that kind of lie – insecurity.
  • The calculated lie – This is the kind of lie used to manipulate other people. It is a calculated lie to get what we want or think we need. The motive behind that kind of lie – greed.
  • The convenient lie – The convenient lie we tell because it takes effort to tell the truth. To not have to explain yourself or talk more, you shrug off the truth. Sometimes you don’t want to get involved with something or you’re too busy to check the facts so you tell something you haven’t really checked up on. This is often called diplomacy. This is the kind of lie you tell when you don’t want to offend anybody. The motive behind that kind of lie – laziness.

3. TELL THE TRUTH LOVINGLY

Don’t use the truth as a club. Don’t beat people over the head with the truth. People change easier and faster when you speak the truth in a spirit of love. People always perceive truth without love as an attack.

Truth without grace is mean.

It doesn’t matter if it is the truth. People don’t receive it if it is yelled and beaten over them. They resist it, become defensive against it, don’t want to hear it, because they perceive it as an attack.

“We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:15 NLT

How do we know if we’re speaking the truth in love? Ask yourself the question, Who am I trying to benefit from this? Think through the motivation. Is it to change them so things are easier on you? Or is it because you care about them and want them to be the best they can be.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 NLT

4. TELL THE TRUTH TACTFULLY

Being honest does not mean being brutal. Whenever you have a need to share a tough truth the solution is never deception. The truth sets you free. But, when you speak the truth you must speak it completely, consistently, lovingly, and tactfully. 

“Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal.” Proverbs 12:18 GNT

You have an option with your words: you can either hurt people or you can heal them. Develop people or you can destroy them. Build them up or you can tear them down. Delight or you can devastate. He’s saying your words have tremendous power.

If you think about it, emotional wounds last longer than physical wounds. When you speak the truth in love and with tact you can learn how to make a point without making an enemy.

  • Plan your presentation

“The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is.” Proverbs 16:21 GNT

Planning your presentation doesn’t mean you come up with come backs to all the potential ways they might respond. Instead, write down the issue and a few points to that issue. That way when things get off track, you can keep the problem on the issue rather than the person or some other thing.

  • Choose the right time

“Intelligent people think before they speak.” Proverbs 16:23 GNT

Put your mind in gear before you put your mouth in gear. Timing is everything. Don’t try to start a tough conversation with your spouse late at night when you’re both tired, overwhelmed and frustrated. Plan a time to allow for constructive conversation. 


If you’ll do these four things, the Bible says you will begin to be an honest person.Speak the truth completely, consistently, lovingly and tactfully. The beginning of honesty is the confession of dishonesty. If you want to be a person of integrity, first admit to God that you don’t always tell the truth and ask Christ to forgive you.

He will give you the power to change and put a new heart in you. He will begin to replace the deception with truth as you begin to let Christ more and more control your heart. You do that by making a choice and saying, God help me to be more interested in character than in reputation. 

If you’re more interested in reputation you’ll lie to build your reputation. Reputation is what other people think you are. Character is what you really are. Character is what lasts for eternity. 


God Blesses Honesty

  • By guarding me – “He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.” Proverbs 2:7 NLT

That word means to be a bodyguard whose soul purpose is to protect you. If we’re honest, He’ll shield us. It’s not going to be easy but He will be our shield. 

  • By directing me – “The godly are directed by honesty; the wicked fall beneath their load of sin.” Proverbs 11:5 NLT

When we’re honest we see God’s way.  The direction becomes very clear.  That’s a reward.

  • By sustaining me – “Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.” Proverbs 12:19 NLT

Honesty will outlast dishonesty. There was a story some years ago about a newlywed couple from Chicago. They had opened their presents before they went on their honeymoon, gathered all their cash, put it in a suitcase, loaded up the car, then left the cash on the top of the car and drove away — $12,000. It fell to the street and was found by an honest man. This man was unemployed.  But he returned the money. 

The city of Chicago went hysterical about this guy. When the story broke, this guy got job offers from Sony, Hilton, Hyundai, Motorola and more. He was rewarded for his honesty. 

In a kind of physical way this is an example of what God does in a spiritual way. God is in the business of rewarding honesty. Some people will receive a reward for their honesty in this life, and sometimes we have to wait for the next life for our reward. But, that reward will be more than we can imagine. Honesty will last for eternity. 


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week about fairness and injustice. How has that message and discussion impacted the way you see the world and process injustice in the world?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

We would all probably agree that honesty is the best policy and a value worth building our lives on. But in practice, it’s often a different story. It’s easy to find an excuse not to tell the whole truth. Other times, it can be tempting to intentionally deceive people. But honesty is essential for the success of any relationship.

Dishonesty has many different faces in our life but it has one common result. Dishonesty strangles life out of us. One of the main reasons it runs so fast through our culture is because dishonesty is present in our nature. It’s deeper than just our culture; it’s in our nature. There’s something about you and I that is so warped and flawed that we are drawn to untruth. There is a wickedness about our nature because of the fall and because of sin, but there is also a wonder about our nature. We’re created in the image of God and something deep down within us really wants truth.

“Would you like to enjoy life? Do you want long life and happiness? Then keep from speaking evil and from telling lies.” Psalm 34:12-13 GNT

Application

  1. Why do you think people tell “white lies” and then expect there to be no consequences?
  2. When we understand the motivation behind any lie, then we can deal with the real issue. Lying is just a symptom of something else. Here are five types of lies and the motivation for each one:
  • The cruel lie is motivated by resentment.
  • The cowardly lie is motivated by fear.
  • The conceited lie is motivated by insecurity.
  • The calculated lie is motivated by greed.
  • The convenient lie is motivated by laziness.

What motivation might be most tempting for you? Why?

  1. What kind of reaction would someone have if you spoke the truth without love?    What might the response be from someone if you spoke the truth with love?
  2. Proverbs 12:18 says, Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal. Can you think of a time when someone spoke healing words to you? How did that person’s wisdom impact you?

Tell Someone Else

Who do you need to be honest with? Plan your presentation and choose the right time. How will you ask God to help you?

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Building Character at School & Work

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What if you could turn any job into a great job? Or any school year into a great school year? Today’s post is about how school and work can be tools to help us grow to become like Christ.

Often when we think about work and school we think about the earthly benefits. How school and work help us learn, help us make money, help us grow our career. But school and work are an integral part of your spiritual development. God wants you to grow up spiritually and our model for that is the character of Jesus Christ.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”  Romans 8:28-29

We’re growing to become like Christ. That’s why we’re called, “Christians.” That’s why Jesus invited us to follow him. We’re taking on His character. We can look at how God uses pressure, problems and people at school and work to help us become like Christ.

When we go to Jesus, he knows how to help us. Jesus can relate to what you’re going through and we often forget this. Jesus knows what it’s like to be tired. There were times when he’d been with too many people, talked to too many people, did so much, traveled so far and was tired. Jesus dealt with frustration and had his motives questioned.

Have you ever worked your tail off for something and given and sacrificed and at the end of it not only get zero gratitude but get your motive over the whole thing called into question? Jesus has been there.

We can look at these things and say, “Well, you’re Jesus.” Yes, but he was in time and space just like us and He took on flesh and bone just like us. He knows how we’re feeling. He was abandoned, betrayed, abused, and He was applauded.

He knew what it was like to have everyone turn their back on Him, but he also knew what it was like to be cheered for and be loved and be popular. He knows what it’s like to ride into town and have people chanting his name. He knows what it’s like to have the press pressing in on Him. 

God wants to show you how to redeem the pressures, the problems and the people problems in your life.


How God Uses Work & School to Build Our Character

1. God uses pressure to teach me responsibility.

Every job has its own pressures. Every grade and class has its own pressures. Another word for pressure is stress. We too often run from stress, but not all stress is bad. Stress can be beneficial if we use it to grow.

Have you ever had to complete a task that you didn’t feel like doing or take a test you didn’t feel smart enough to take? You were being responsible even though you didn’t feel it. That pressure, that stress was building your character.

“Live life, then, with a due sense of responsibility, not as people who do not know the meaning of life, but as those who do.” Ephesians. 5:15 PH

The more you understand this meaning of life — to become like Christ — the more responsible it makes you. Every school and every job teach us responsibility. That’s a big deal because responsibility is in decline. We never hear people talking about their responsibility. We hear them talk about their rights.

The courts are clogged with people who say it’s not their fault. Personal responsibility is one of the biggest keys to a healthy life. Responsibility stretches us and is the key to career success and schooling success. Every time we’re given responsibility it’s an opportunity for spiritual, emotional and personal growth. Christ was responsible.

Here are some ways to develop responsibility:

  • By keeping your promises

We should be careful with our promises. If we make a promise at school or work, we need to keep that promise.

“(God blesses those who…) keep their promises even when it hurts.” Psalm 15:4

Are you a person who when you say something will get done, people will know it gets done?

  • By meeting deadlines

The Bible says when we waste our employers time, we’re actually destroying part of their work.

“One who is slack in his work is a brother to the one who destroys.” Proverbs 18:9

Another word for destroys there is sabotage. When we waste time, we’re sabotaging the business. When we waste time we’re sabotaging the company and even ourselves.

  • By working without supervision

Let’s not work hard only when the boss is in or the teacher is watching.

“Don’t work hard only when your master is watching and then shirk when he isn’t looking; work hard and with gladness all the time, as though working for Christ, doing the will of God with all your hearts.” Ephesians 6:6-7 TLB

He actually switches it here to say we’re really working hard for our real boss, Christ. Whether our supervisor is watching or not makes no difference. Christians should be known for not needing a supervisor, because they work on their own initiative. They realize they are representing Christ and God is the ultimate leader in their life.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”   Luke 16:10 NIV

He’s talking here specifically about being honest and having integrity. Who do we work for? It makes a big difference in how responsible we are. If we are just working for the government we might be irresponsible. If we are just working for a boss we don’t respect, we won’t be as responsible and honest as we would if we remembered we’re working for God.

  • By controlling costs

“If you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth who will trust you with the true riches of Heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s money, why should you be entrusted with money of your own?” Luke 16:11-12 LB

One of the greatest tests of our character is how we handle money. Even more specifically, how we handle other people’s money. Will we accept ownership and treat other people’s money like it’s ours?

Let’s keep our promises, meet deadlines, work even when no one is watching, and handle money well.

2. God uses problems to teach me character.

There are no problem-free jobs or problem-free people. There are no problem-free years, classes or teachers. We all have problems at our workplaces and schools and God can use those to build our character.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Romans 5:3-4

God is very interested in our character. When you sign-up to become like Christ, it’s a life of significance and fulfillment. It’s not a life of comfort and pampering. It will mean a cross to bear.

For every problem at work and school, the question isn’t, “God, why is this happening to me.” The better question to ask is, “God, what do you want me to learn from this?”

Ask what, not whyGod may have something for you to work through. He may be directing you to a value or action. He may be preparing you for something. God has allowed this problem into your life, so what does he want you to work on?

While we’re working on our job, God is working on us. While you’re working on school, God is working on you. God can even use the temptations we face at school and work for good.

It’s not a sin to be tempted. It’s a sin to give in to temptation but not a sin to be tempted. Jesus was tempted but he never gave in. God can even use those temptations to build character. Temptation offers a choice. We can choose to do good or bad. When we choose to do bad, temptations harms us. But when we choose to do good, temptations grow us.

We couldn’t say we’re an honest person unless we’ve been tempted to be dishonest. We can’t say we’re a responsible person unless we’ve had the temptation to be irresponsible. Every temptation that comes in our lives is an opportunity for growth. It’s an opportunity to grow and develop strength of character.

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

God says He will never allow more temptation on us than strength He’s put in us.

Sometimes problems at school and work are overwhelming, and we feel like we’re going under. We may feel like we’re going to get swallowed up. What do we do when we get overwhelmed? We do what The Apostle Paul did when he was overwhelmed.

We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-9

Notice how many times this passage use the word ‘we.’ They did not face these challenges alone.

There are two clear things we can do when we face problems:

  • Turn the problem over to God through prayer.

Being overwhelmed is a good thing that can grow our character if takes us to God in prayer.

  • Join a Small Group.

We need a small group of people who will pray for us and encourage us when we’re having a tough time at work and school. The Apostle Paul was strong in his faith, but even he couldn’t make it alone. So let’s trust God in our problems, turn the problem over to God through prayer and turn to one another for support.

3. God uses people to teach me how to really love.

One of the most important skills you get to learn at work and at school is how to get along with other people. This is so important to your faith and spiritual growth, because life is all about learning how to love.

Life is a laboratory in learning how to love.

God is love and He wants his children to be like Him. God says the most important thing to learn in life is not a skill for a job, but how to love other people like He loves them.

“Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14

No matter what kind of work. Whether you’re an accountant, an astronaut, a driver, a ditch digger, a student, a teacher, a coach or a secret agent. We are to do all our work in love.

Why do you do what you do? You might say, “Well I just put food on the table.” There’s a better reason than that. Why do you go to school? You might say, “Well no one ever gave me an option.” There is a reason. You could use the most mundane job to grow in character.

Why do you do what you do?

The highest motivation for any kind of work is love. When you do anything in love that pleases God. You can pick up garbage to the glory of God. You can clean a hotel room for the glory of God. You can be a project manager for the glory of God.

“Let love be your highest goal!” 1 Corinthians 14:1

Sometimes we do the right thing for the wrong motivation. God is more interested in why you do what you do than he is in actually what you do. Whatever we do, we do all our work in love. When you stay at the same work for year after year, you learn how to do it out of love. Love for God and love for people. Love is the ultimate motivation and is what keeps you going when you feel like giving up.

At work, we have to deal with all kinds people. Some people are hard to love. If we’re going to grow up spiritually it means we’re going to have to learn to love those people.

If we’re not becoming more and more loving, we’re not growing spiritually.

Love is the fruit of spiritual growth. It’s that simple. By nature we’re self-centered, unless someone teaches us to be loving, we grow up selfish. God teaches us lessons in loving, and one of the ways he does this is at work and school.

He teaches us by putting people around us who are the exact opposite of us. They irritate us. They are heavenly sandpaper.

It’s easy to love people who are lovely. God loves the unlovely, and he teaches us to do the same. We have to learn to love people who see life the exact opposite as us.

How are we to love the people at our jobs or at school who are difficult and hard to love? The people who are rude or make unrealistic demands. Those who are dishonest and can’t be trusted. The people who complain, are constantly negative or get offended easily. How do we love these people?

“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:16-18 NIV

God’s expectation to show love to others is realistic enough to know that there are people you can’t be at peace with. But if it is possible…as far as it depends on you live at peace with everyone.

Some people you can’t be at peace with, but we are to do our best. Love is difficult. It may mean a difficult conversation, the hard work of reconciliation, holding someone accountable or boundaries and consequences. It also may mean showing grace when it doesn’t make sense to anyone else or when it might offend someone else.

Why should we make such an effort to become like Jesus at our school and our jobs?

  • God is going to evaluate our work one day.

“On the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.” 1 Corinthians 3:13

God is reminding us that he is watching. Sometimes we think no one cares or is noticing, but God is watching, He cares and is grateful.

  • God is going to give eternal rewards for whatever is done in love.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. Any more thoughts or conclusions on the message, on the purpose of singing?

 

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

Read: Romans 12

Most people spend 40% of their lives at work and school. So God is very interested in ways he can use our work to build our character to make us more like Christ. Statistics show that 1/3 of people hate their jobs. What if you could turn any job into a great job? We can use any job or year in school to meet God’s goal for our spiritual maturity.

In this discussion, we’ll focus on the ways God uses pressure at school and work to teach us responsibility, problems to teach us character, and difficult people to teach us how to really love.

Application

  1. What would be your dream job?
  2. God uses pressure at work to teach us responsibility. Share an example of stress in a previous job or school situation that helped you learn responsibility.
  3. The ways to develop responsibility include keeping your word, meeting deadlines, working without supervision and controlling costs. Which one of these do you think is most beneficial to your work ethic today? Why?
  4. How could believing you are working for Christ improve your attitude or success at work? 
 1 Corinthians 10:13
  5. A person’s character can show who they really are. How can problems at work help us develop Christ-like character?
  6. From God’s perspective, learning to really love people in our workplace is more important than learning job skills. Give an example of an interaction with a difficult person from your past work experience that helped you learn to demonstrate God’s love.
  7. Why doesn’t the type of work you do matter to God as much as why you do it?

Tell Someone Else

Who can you share this message with? Who could you encourage as a result of this message?

 

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Week 4: How You See Your Job

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We love our community and want to show the love of Christ tangibly in our neighborhoods, workplaces and homes. This summer, through weekend sermons, small group curriculum and daily devotionals, we will discover how serving can make a difference in our community, makes an impact for God and grows our faith. Join us as we discover significance through serving.


Today’s post is all about how our work has a part in your serving mindset. The average person will spend around 100,000 hours of their life at work. Work defines, describes and dominates our lives. But surveys tell us that about two-thirds of people say they are not satisfied in their jobs. Some people think work is actually punishment from God, because the Bible says after sin entered the world, God cursed the ground, and said, “Now you’re going to have to work by the sweat of your brow.”

“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”  Genesis 2:15

The result of sin is not work. The result of sin is harder work. You are going to work in heaven too. In heaven it will be good and fulfilling work. There will be no bad bosses, no gossip, no inner-office politics. Your work in heaven will be fulfilling and fun.

Work is not the enemy of your life. Work is an amazing opportunity of life.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Colossians 3:17

How do you see the “whatever you do”? How are you going to spend those 100,000 hours of your life? Most people see their job negatively. What if you could see your job as an opportunity to do something in the name of Jesus in freedom and thanksgiving to God, not as a prison?

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Is this your work story?

You graduate from high school or college and then comes the prison sentence, 40 years to life. It all starts with, Sunday afternoon when you realize you have to return to prison and you begin the grieving process. You prepare the house and family for you to be away. You eat your last meal and put your last words on social media.

Monday morning you walk into work like it’s Shawshank Redemption. Then, Tuesday rolls around and you hate the idea that you’re starting to get used to your workplace prison. Now Wednesday is hump day and it feels like sort of a break in the middle of your sentence. Thursday, you find yourself the largest cup of coffee known to man just to make it through the day. Then on Friday – you’re released!

Don’t get too excited though, you are only out on parol for the weekend. The office keeps you on a leash and put a shock collar on you called a cell phone.

Does that sound about right for you? We shape our work by how we think about it. If you hate Mondays, you’ll end up hating one seventh of your life. There must be a greater reason for work. There are actually six biblical reasons why work is in our lives.

1. Necessity: We work to meet our needs.

God also says that providing for my family is my spiritual responsibility. We are to take care of our own families as best as possible.

“The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”   2 Thessalonians 3:10

Notice the word unwilling. He’s talking to the unwilling, not the unable. Sometimes you can’t work because of a disability or sickness. But if you can work, you need to do your part. God did not put you here on earth just to provide for yourself. God expects you to make a contribution with your life.

“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”  Proverbs 13:4 (NLT)

Notice the word prosper. God is not opposed to prosperity. God is opposed to selfishness and greed, but God is not opposed to prosperity. Jesus praised businessmen who used business skills to make a profit. Profit is not the problem.

If necessity is the only reason for work, you’ll see work as a prison.

Your job is a platform. We’re so focused on the prison, we miss the platform we’ve been given from God to give Him glory.

2. Identity: God wants you to work so you can express what He made you to be. He’s given you certain gifts and talents.

“A lazy life is an empty life.”  Proverbs 12:27 (MSG)

God doesn’t want you to ignore your gifts and abilities. Work is a place to show your creativity and ingenuity. Work is a place to make a difference and to give back and express your identity. God has wired everyone to do something different so that everything gets done. 

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”  1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)

Ask Yourself: How can I personally advance the mission?

Most companies and places of employment have mission statements. Maybe the 2 of 3 of us who are unfulfilled in our jobs can understand and be about the mission of our company. When you don’t know the mission you’re on, you feel imprisoned.


Rock Brook Church

Mission Statement: We exist to bring you to Jesus Christ so you can find and fulfill God’s five purposes for your life. [Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry & Evangelism]

Vision: Know God, Find Freedom, Discover Purpose and Make a Difference

Values: Follow Jesus, Love People, Remember Why and Choose Joy


3. Character: God uses your work to develop your character.

God plants little seeds of character in your heart. Seeds of love, joy, peace and patience. Then He fertilizes those seeds of character, often, in the workplace because you spend so much of your life at work.

God is developing your character here on earth to prepare you for heaven. God is watching you so He can determine what kind of job to give you in eternity.

“So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”  Luke 16:10-12

While you’re working on the job, God is working on you.

Ask Yourself: Who am I becoming?

4. Credibility: Your work is a witness to others. The quality of the work that you do can open up doors for you to share your faith. Good work is a good witness.

Your work demonstrates what you believe, especially when you’re under pressure. When people are making unreasonable demands on you and you respond to those demands in a Christ-like way, it grows your credibility as a follower of Jesus.

“Mind your own business, and to earn your own living, just as we told you before. In this way you will win the respect of those who are not believers…”  1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (GNT)

Respect is earned and before an unbeliever wants to know if Jesus is credible, they want to know if you’re credible.

“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16

Ask Yourself: How Can I Shine?

God scatters us throughout the darkness to shine a light so that when people see that light, the good work we do, they’ll want to know about our faith. They will ask why you are so forgiving? How are you so kind? It’s the fruit of the Spirit of Christ in you shining.

5. Generosity: If you want God’s blessing on your work you’ve got to be generous. 

“Use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.”  Ephesians 4:28 (NLT)

The more generous you are, the more God blesses your work. God wants us to become like Him and He is a generous God. Everything you have in life is due to the generosity of God.

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”  Proverbs 11:25

Giving unlocks God’s blessing on your life.

“But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”  Deuteronomy 8:18

“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”  Acts 20:35

Ask Yourself: What more can I give?

If you’re never asking this question, you don’t understand how much God gave for you. God gave Jesus.

6. Eternity: I can use my job to build God’s kingdom.

One way is to tell your co-workers the good news of Jesus. Work becomes your mission field. Another way you can do this is by making money in your business and giving it to Kingdom causes.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”  Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

“Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”  Matthew 6:20

You can store up for yourselves treasure in heaven. Not treasures for God, He doesn’t need it. God says you can create a bank account in heaven that is eternal, pays the highest dividends and nobody will steal it from you.

God says don’t just be a wealth builder, be a kingdom builder.

Maybe you think that you don’t do anything important at work. Your work has far more significance than you realize, because it wasn’t meant for just necessityGod wants to use your work for identityGod wants you to express your talents through work. God wants to use your work for character building. He wants your work to make you stronger, more mature, more patient. God wants to use your work for credibilityHe wants you to use your work as a platform to influence the people for the sake of the Gospel. God wants you to use your work for generosity He wants you to be selfless and generous enough to live on a little bit less so you can give a little bit more. You can waste your life, spend your life or invest your life. The best use of your life is to invest it in the Kingdom of God because it’s the only thing that’s going to last forever.

Ask Yourself: Where is my reward?

One day God is going to do an audit on your work. Everyone’s work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. What’s the value? Identity, Character, Credibility, Generosity and Eternity. If the work survives the fire, that person will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss.

This has nothing to do with salvation or getting into heaven. You get into heaven by asking Christ to forgive your sins. Your reward is about your position, your job in heaven. God wants to give you a great reward in heaven. The greater your reward, the greater His glory. That’s why your work is so important.

Will you say, God, I’m going to give you my work not just for one reason, but for all six reasons that you planned for my work to be?


Check Back

Leaders leverage their authority for the benefit of those under their authority. Did you ask anyone last week, “What can I do to help?” Did the principle, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” help in any way?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Many people see work as a necessary evil. Work is not evil. Before sin entered the world, there was work. We will work in heaven. Work is not a result of sin, hard work is a result of sin.

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Genesis 2:15

There are six reasons for work in our lives:

  1. It’s necessary.
  2. It lets us express our identity.
  3. It grows our character.
  4. It increases our credibility.
  5. It gives us the means to be generous.
  6. It empowers us to build God’s kingdom which lasts for eternity.

Application

Let’s just work through the five questions in your outline…

  1. How can you personally advance the mission of your workplace?
  2. How can your job grow your character?
  3. How can you let your light shine?
  4. What more can you give as a result of your job?
  5. Where is your reward?

Which question and reason for work do you need to focus on most right now?

Tell Someone Else

How could this message impact someone else in your life? Is there someone at your job you need to apologize to for something? Is there someone at your job you need to forgive?

 

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