January 19. 2014  Colossians 3:18 – 25   Work as to the Lord 


    There certainly is some good solid teaching in this passage.   Husbands love your wife.   Wives submit to you husbands.   Children obey your parents.   Work whole heartedly as to the lord.   If we work to the Lord we will be rewarded and those that do evil will also be repaid.   Romans 12:19 God says it is mine to avenge says the Lord I will repay.   As I look at this passage I think I could say husbands love your wife because you serve Jesus.  Wives submit to your husbands because it is your service to Jesus.  Children obey your parents because you serve the Lord.   Fathers don’t embitter or over control your children because fathers you serve the Lord.    In your work you serve the Lord and in your life you serve the Lord.   Slaves or servants you really serve Jesus so go the extra mile.   How are we doing in our service to the Lord at home?    How are we doing in our service to the lord at work?    That gets right down where we live.   I remember many years ago a speaker who said it was easy for him to preach or speak to people and he looks really good doing that but how he lived at home was the real challenge.   When life is tough we tend to dump on our spouse.   That is not a good thing to do.   This passage teaches us that God is impartial in his judgment.   For those that serve Jesus the end result is that we will be rewarded in heaven.  If you do well you will be blessed and if you do wrong you will not get away with it.   To me that is what the bible is teaching in this passage so we can all go home now and be done right?   Well not exactly. 

    We spend a good part of our life working.   God has a lot to say about work and God is involved in our work.   Work has meaning and is good for us.  It has been estimated that we will work about 90,000 hours before retirement.   I am sure that some work more and some less.   If a person works 40 hours a week and 50weeks  a year that is 2,000 hours a year of labor or work.   That is a lot of time.  It is important and a blessing to us if we put Jesus in the center of our work.     Let’s look at some verses on work and see what God has to say about it.   John 5:17 in his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”  God always works.   He holds all things together by his power.  He hears prayers around the clock and around the world.   In Exodus 23 Moses told God’s people that they should work for 6 days.   Psalm 127 unless the Lord builds the house, the builder’s labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.     In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.  God grants sleep.  He does not want his children to work constantly.   Jeremiah 48:10 tells us “a curse on anyone who is lax in doing the Lord’s work!  

     John 6:27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.   For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”  In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said God will care for us.  Seek first God’s kingdom and all these things will be added unto us.  Philippians 2:12 tells us to work out your salvation because God is working in us.  I Corinthians 4 we work hard with our hands and in I Thessalonians 4 work with your hands.   Matthew 9 the harvest is plenteous but the laborers are few.  II Thessalonians 3 if a man does not work he should not eat.  Titus 2 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.   The King James says jealous to do good works or eager to do good.  II Timothy 2 do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

     Work is a challenge for us in some ways.   We are reminded by this passage to work as unto Jesus and not unto men.  There are things that happen at most work places that make bring us down and the productivity of many usually drops.   Work can also become a place for not facing things at home.   We have heard of students who go to college and it becomes part of their life and they become professional students.   Work for some can become an escape from the rest of a person’s life.  I think this passage tells us that our whole life belongs to the Lord.  At work we work for Jesus at home we live and serve Jesus.   All of life is sacred.   Sometimes we work with the goal in mind of paying the bills and buying the stuff we want.   We should work with the thought of not only those worthy goals but also making money to be used by God to minister to others.  Everything we have is from God and belongs to God.   Work for some has little meaning other than just earning that check.   Many are bored with their work.  For many it is a place of conflict, anger and frustration.  I am blessed and fortunate to have experienced many different jobs and supervisors over the years.   I have worked in factories, in construction and in business.  I have worked and served in the military in Viet Nam.   It is neat to have the Lord’s help and blessing in those places.  I have learned that work can be more than just pleasing the boss and paying the bills.   Some of those jobs and supervisors were a real pain.     

    Verse 23 tells us whatever you do work at it with all your heart.  Do you believe that your work will be more enjoyable and better if you work as unto the Lord?   Someone said, “You use the same muscles to play golf as you do to mow the lawn. You use the same brain power to play a game as you do to conduct business. The only difference is our attitude.   While we all know that is not totally true if your work is very physical but attitude does make a huge difference.   Some people love their work.   I hope you get great satisfaction and enjoyment in your work.   Every job however has it responsibilities that are not enjoyable or difficult.  Sometimes people get burned out and that impacts how they work.  It takes time for us to heal from that.   But we see in this passage that God wants us to be passionate about life and to put our life into life.  Whatever you do work at it with all your heart. 

       Brothers and Sisters no matter what you are doing in this life God has rewarding work for you to do.  There is service that is meaningful that God has prepared for you to do.  That is great news.   Ephesians 2 we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do.   God has important work for you to do.   You can minister and you can pray and you can do things that God has given to you and not to anyone else.   That is good news.  Your life has meaning as you serve the Lord.  Sometimes all we think about is the supervisor or the boss but it is the Lord.   If you are a Christian your work belongs to the Lord.    It is not just a job but an assignment from the Lord.   I am reminded that even before Adam and Eve sinned that Adam was involved in the Garden of Eden.   He had assignments to do and was a care taker of the garden.   It was not difficult or hard or laborious work. 

     This passage says whatever you do work at it with all your heart as to the Lord.   Verses like these bring unity into our life.   It is not I serve my boss and myself at work and then serve my family when I am home and I serve the Lord on Sunday morning.   That is not how God sees our life but all of it is sacred.   I should see my family time as service to the Lord.  I should be serving the Lord when I am around my spouse and my children.    I should see my work as service to the Lord.   That puts a different spin on life.   It puts Jesus in all of my life.  It brings unity to me. 

    .   Kyle Idleman in "Not a Fan" (p. 31) writes most of us don’t mind Jesus making some minor change in our lives but Jesus wants to turn our lives upside down.   Fans don’t mind him doing a little touch up work, but Jesus wants complete renovation.     Fans come to Jesus thinking tune up, but Jesus is thinking overhaul.    Fans think a little makeup is fine, but Jesus is thinking makeover.    Fans think a little decorating is required, but Jesus wants a complete remodel.   Fans want Jesus to inspire them, but Jesus wants to interfere with their lives.   Jesus wants to be in everything in our life.    

    Charles Swindoll said why is that we feel that we can offer excuses when it comes to things of the church that would be ridiculous if used anywhere else.    Have you ever wondered what would happen if people were as intense and committed and determined about church as they are about sports – or any number of other past times?   Some years ago Moody Monthly ran a piece which included excuses which a fellow might use for quitting sports. “Every time I went they asked for money.   The people with whom I had to sit didn’t seem very friendly.  The seats were too hard and uncomfortable.   The coach never came to see me.   The referee made a decision with which I could not agree.   I was sitting with some hypocrites – they only came to see what others were wearing.  Some games went into overtime, and I was late getting home.   The band played numbers that I had never heard before.   The games were scheduled when I want to do other things.   My parents took me to too many games when I was growing up.    Since I read a book on sports, I feel that I know more than the coaches anyhow.   I don’t want to take my children, because I want them to choose for themselves what sport they like best.”   That sounds pretty silly to us.   We can dump the negativity and serve with thanksgiving. 

      What a blessing that we serve Him.   The fact that God chooses to love the unworthy should move us to loud praise frequently.  Margaret Sangster Phippen wrote that in the mid-1950’s her father, British minister W.E. Sangster, began to notice some uneasiness in his throat and a dragging in his leg. When he went to the doctor, he found that he had an incurable disease that cased progressive muscular atrophy.   His muscles would gradually waste away, his voice would fail, and his throat would soon become unable to swallow.    Sangster threw himself into his work in the British home missions, figuring he could still write and he would have even more time for prayer. "Let me stay in the struggle Lord," he pleaded.   "I don’t mind if I can no longer be a general, but give me just a regiment to lead."   He wrote articles and books, and helped organize prayer cells throughout England.   "I’m only in the kindergarten of suffering," he told people who pitied him.   Gradually Sangsters’s legs became useless.    His voice went completely.   But he could still hold a pen, shakily.   On Easter morning, just a few weeks before he died, he wrote a letter to his daughter. In it, he said, "It is terrible to wake up on Easter morning and have no voice to shout, "He is risen!" -- but it would be still more terrible to have a voice and not want to shout."   This was submitted by David Scudder.  

    There is a man with a passion.   The Christians passion is toward the Lord.   There is God given Holy Spirit fire that can burn in us today for the Lord.   Most people are building their own kingdom.   They are laboring for the things they want with no or little thought of others.  Their works on judgment day will be burned up.  Their life spent for himself or herself but it will have no lasting value in eternity.   I Corinthians 3 the bible says the only foundation is already laid and that is Jesus. There is only 1 foundation.    Brothers and sisters we are blessed and it is our privilege to build on that foundation.