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Your Work Matters: Connecting God and Work

Sixty percent of our waking hours are at work, while 30% of our time is spent with family and another 10% on church, religion, or outside pursuits. Why, then is our work the most difficult part of our lives? In this series, we will consider how we can integrate our faith and our daily work, through the lens of Scripture.

 Connecting God and Work
Genesis 1-3, Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 We're off to a good start as Christian Embassy hosts a thought-provoking series on why your work matters. A question in the minds of all of us is this: How can I integrate that which means so much to me, my faith, and my work – that aspect of my life where I expend the most time and energy? By viewing our work as a gift from God, we find we can enjoy our work and the fruit of our labors. It gives us opportunities to serve Him, our fellow human beings, and our world in helping to make it a better place to live. In Genesis 1 and 2, we see that God created the heavens and earth, and He made man in his image. He also gave man a job description, to partner with Him to tend the garden He planted, to rule over all the creatures, and to occupy and manage the whole earth. He entrusted the earth to us. In Genesis 3, evil entered into the world in the form of a serpent, causing man to sin. The consequences of this are that God cursed two things: the serpent (Satan) and the ground. Thus, work became a drudgery and difficult, filled with pain and strife, unreliability, deterioration, and futility. Rather than viewing our work as a curse, however, we see from Scriptures, such as Ecclesiastes 5:18-20, that our work is a gift from God. God is a worker, and God created us for work, so there is always a purpose in our work. Although our work is made more difficult because of sin, the curse, and our broken trust with God, we can find great satisfaction and joy in our work as we connect with God by His grace.
 Road to Glory
John 17 Continuing in a thought-provoking series on why our work matters, we question how that can be, when our work can often be difficult and feel unfruitful. As we noted last week, our work is a gift from God. What are His purposes for me to accomplish in the work He has given me? In His prayer for His followers just before His crucifixion, Jesus makes the statement that He brought God glory on earth by completing the work God gave Him to do. Can we, then, also approach our work in a way that will bring glory to God? We often pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Are we taking these words seriously? Are we living and working toward helping re-establish God's Kingdom on earth? Bringing glory to God means reflecting His majesty, holiness, beauty, power, goodness, and excellence – in our work. We at the Christian Embassy take seriously your very important work at the UN, and the opportunities you have to be a significant part of helping the nations see how glorious God is. Give thanks for your work! Have a great weekend and we hope to see you next Thursday.
 More Thank Just a Job
Your Work Matters: More Than Just a Job Colossians 3:22-24 This week, continuing our series on "Your Work Matters," we had a lively discussion about the difference our attitude and approach can make in our daily activities and responsibiities at work. Colossians 3:2 says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." As we recognize that we work ultimately for God, our jobs take on eternal value far beyond the earthly rewards we accomplish. In their thought-provoking book, Your Work Matters to God, Sherman and Hendricks wrote, "Everything about you is to be involved in loving God. It makes sense that your work must be involved as well. Just think about how much of your heart, soul, and might go into your work. Imagine, then, as you spend yourself at that task, being able to say, "I'm here to do something God wants done, and I intend to do it because I love Him." The person who can make this statement has turned his work into one of his primary means of obeying the greatest of God's commandments." Considering the worthy goals of the United Nations, we at the Christian Embassy want to support you in your efforts to accomplish the goals God has called you to do. We encourage you to take the time to evaluate your work in light of the command "to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind," knowing that your work is "for the Lord, not for men."
 The Work of Stewardship
Your Work Matters: The Work of Stewardship Matthew 25:14-30 This week, continuing our series on "Your Work Matters," our discussion centered on the teaching in James 1:17, that "every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father," and how, out of the sheer enormity of God's love for us, He delights in lavishing us with good things. These good gifts include our work, as we have seen throughout this series. And, like every good gift, we want to take care of those gifts we receive, using them as intended, and with a view to honoring the One Who gave them to us. Two main points emerge:  Our "work" that God has given us is more than our "job" as diplomats at the United Nations. We have been given the work of taking care of our bodies, our families, our talents and skills, and our possessions. We are to work these gifts as well as our work at the UN.  We are "stewards" of all the "gifts" that the Lord has given us. They are not ours, they belong to God. We are to use our time and money wisely in taking care of these gifts for God. As we do so, we glorify and bring honor to God. A work of stewardship is entrusted to us with respect to all the good gifts we receive from the Lord. God gives us good and perfect gifts so that we will work hard to use them bringing honor and glory to His Name. Join us next week as Mrs. Giselle Timbie leads our discussion on the Work of Spiritual Formation.
 The Work of Spiritual Formation
In continuing our series, "Your Work Matters," we discussed together the topic of the work of Spiritual Formation. Spiritual formation refers to the work that God does within us to change us from our natural, self-centered selves to people who reflect the character and nature of God. It is God who does the transforming, but we have a part to play in the process. Our work is to put into practice in our lives the things that provide for spiritual growth or formation. God has provided many resources for us to use in our spiritual formation. He has given us the Word of God, the power of His Spirit, prayer, other people, and even the trials of life. As we grow in the use of these resources, God causes His nature to be formed in us. We can then do our jobs and deal with all the arenas of life in a way that pleases God and allows Him to use us to bless other people. It is amazing to think that in doing your important job at the United Nations, your work matters both here on earth and in heaven!
 The Work of the Cross
Luke 9:23 The work we have been given to do is greater than the job at which we work. We must honor God with our labor the marketplace; but we must also seek to bring glory to Him in the stewardship we exercise over His good and perfect gifts and the work we do seeking to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. The biggest struggle that we are going to encounter in seeking to pursue our work across all its many and varied fronts is the temptation to want to live for ourselves rather than for others. Remember, Jesus glorified God with the work He accomplished, and that work was, above all else, a work of serving others. The work of the servant begins with being a good listener, paying attention to the words, feelings, body language, and obvious needs of others. It means learning how to use our tongues to build others up in affirming ways. The work of the cross means looking for little ways to aid, encourage, and edify others, and it means being consistent at all times by such means. The work of the cross requires ongoing preparation, conversation, and willingness to demonstrate the love of Jesus to the people we meet each day. It is amazing to think that in doing your important job at the United Nations, your work matters both here on earth and in heaven! Join us next week as Mr. John Austin leads our discussion on the Work of Witness.
 The Way of Witness
 Building on the Work of Jesus
Your Work Matters: Building on the Work of Jesus 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. In this final session of our series, "Your Work Matters: Connecting God and Work," we considered how specifically our work matters to God, and what difference it makes in light of eternity. How does our work build on the work of Jesus? A day is coming when all the work we have done will be put on display for all the world, the angels, the saints departed, and the Lord of glory to inspect. At that time it will be clear and visible to all just how grateful we have been to the Lord for all His good and perfect gifts, how much we cherished the salvation He freely gave us, and how earnest and devoted we have been to the work He had given us to do. And then we will hear person after person from every age and tribe and tongue rejoicing as King Jesus says to them, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of My Kingdom." God has entrusted us with the Good News of His Kingdom! He, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, has freely offered us salvation in Him! Have we fully grasped this? Are we living our lives with a view to this day, this expectation, this hope? Have we embraced Jesus as Lord of every area of our lives, including the work He has given us to do? Are we truly living for Him, or are we still living for ourselves? Followers of Jesus can look forward to "the day" with hope, and with anticipation of joy unending to hear the Lord's commendation of our work. Our work is not to earn our salvation; rather it is our grateful response to the Lord for what He has given us, focusing on and reflecting Him – His beauty, His majesty, His goodness, His glory. Why has God given you this work to do? Your work at the UN is important, even to the minutest detail, to make an eternal difference for His Kingdom! Your work has eternal significance, and your work matters to God! This lesson is adapted from a ViewPoint Study prepared by T.M. Moore, "Work Matters: Building on the Work of Jesus", The Wilberforce Press, 2009.