Online Worship for Trinity Four, Sunday July 5, 2020
Bible Text: Proverbs 14:23 | Preacher: Andrew Schaller | Sermon for Trinity Four – 10/8/00 – Sunday July 5, 2020
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
Grace and peace to you from the True God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the One who makes Himself and His will known to us in the Scriptures. Amen.
“In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty.”
In the Name of Jesus Christ,
Who would have us live and work to His glory,
Dear Fellow Redeemed by His Precious Blood,
It won’t be too long before the Presidential Candidates and their running mates begin to square off in a number of public debates. I am not bringing the matter up to get you thinking about the issues or to figure out for whom you will vote. I want you to consider that the reason that these debates take place is because people complain that politicians don’t address their specific concerns and perceived problems.
The Debates are held in an effort to gain votes. They are an opportunity for each ‘blowhard’ to argue that they know what’s best for our country, to solve the perceived needs of Americans. It’s debatable whether or not any politician truly understands our day to day needs.
There are those who say the same thing about God and His Word. Oh, it’s nice and all, but it just doesn’t speak to my personal problems. Sure, it speaks of events that took place 2000 years ago, but what about today? What about the 20th Century? What about the things I face day after day?
Where does the Bible give practical advice that can be of use day after day in the workplace? Now we know that God does speak to every part of life in the Bible.
This morning, our Heavenly Father speaks to us about Living with Work. It is indeed a great blessing to hear the words of the Living God. So, we pray, “Sanctify us by the Truth, O Lord, Your Word is Truth.” Amen.
In all labor there is profit (abundance)…
I apologize for reminding you about it, but each year when I see the first snow flurries, I think of my childhood here in Marquette.
In those days, when the summer first began it was long and empty and my brother Seth and I wondered just what we would do with ourselves all day long. Well, it wasn’t long before we found that we could be very busy, so busy in fact, that when our parents asked us to stop and clean our room, we were simply too busy to really clean it.
On one occasion we paused just long enough to push the pile of clothes and toys under our bed and head outside. “Is your room clean?” our mother asked. “Yep!” we said without making eye contact on the way out the door.
We made the foolish assumption that they’d just peek in the room and investigate no further. We figured that they’d just assume we were incredibly efficient cleaners. We didn’t make it across the yard before being called back to ‘clean’ our room.
While pointing to the mess under the bed, one of my parents would say, “Do the job right the first time.”
Those words are, in a sense, echoed by the words of our text this morning. The Hebrew here might well be translated, ‘In all difficult labor there is abundance.’ This is not merely a quaint saying to be borne out by our personal experiences. God Himself speaks to us here through Solomon. If a person works earnestly and honestly, there will be abundant results – God will bless him/her.
Hard work is not a curse, but a blessing – both physically and materially! Through hard work we exercise our bodies and minds and stay healthy.
Through hard work we get a better sense of the value, and can better appreciate the things that God gives us. Through hard work we earn wages, which in turn we use to support the Lord’s Work, Ourselves and our families, those in need, and we pay our taxes.
We don’t complain when speeding across the lake in the new boat, shooting the new gun or driving the new car – but it’s easy to complain when working to earn the money to purchase those things.
In all labor there is profit.
In fact, in the Old Testament we are told that it is a gift of God to work, to be able to labor. This truth seems to be lost in our society today. It’s evident that more and more the attitude is, “Whatever I can get without working for it, I should!”
In many cases, those who are able to work refuse to do so and are satisfied simply to live off others. I’m not talking about those who cannot work, but those who are unwilling to work when they are able.
Rather than use the gifts and health that God gives them and look to work, they ask, ‘Why should I work, when I can get what I need for nothing?’ Instead of asking, ‘What do I need?’ they ask, ‘What do I qualify for to get for nothing?’
So, why should we work? Why can’t I just stay home and live off my parents, like the middle-aged man in the Holiday Inn Express commercials? We should certainly work because there is profit in honest, hard work.
But we should also remember what is written in 2 Thessalonians (3:10):
“If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”
“Fine, I’ll go to work, but I don’t have to like it.” After all, the Bible doesn’t tell me that I should have a good attitude about my work! It’s just a necessary evil.
I’m just going to try and get by, do just enough to get paid. I don’t have to do the best I can all the time!” Well, we should at least work hard so that we can have the personal satisfaction of a job well done, right?”
Does it really matter anyway? So what if people see that I don’t do my best. So what if people hear me complain about the boss! I suppose it really wouldn’t matter much if you were only destroying your own reputation.
But as a follower of Jesus, as a Christian, your actions and your words also speak about your relationship with Him.
The LORD does, in fact, tell us what our attitude should be toward work (Colossians 3:22-25):
“Obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God…whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.”
When we work, we should do our best, not merely so that other people see us, but because we know that our Savior Jesus is watching. How would you work if Jesus were standing visibly before you when you sit at your desk, or work in the barn, or weld in the shop? We know that the LORD sees all things, so shouldn’t we work hard out of thanks for what He has already given to us?
The Bible says that even when you work at your jobs, ‘you serve the Lord Christ.’ You aren’t merely working for your family, or yourselves. You aren’t merely working for other men.
For this reason, we should work hard, and do our best…no matter what we set our hand to. We should do our best not just to gain personal satisfaction for a job well done, but because we know that God has forgiven us our sins and given everlasting life to us in His Son, Jesus.
We don’t work hard at our jobs in an effort to pay the Lord back for all He’s given us, but to show our thanks for what He has given and promised us. If you were making or building or writing something for the Lord Himself, would you cut corners and do a half-way job? Why would we not do our best, having been given so much in Christ?
It has been said, ‘Do it right, or don’t do it at all.’ We pray that the Lord Jesus would lead us to do our best, because we stand before Him and work for Him.
However, if we don’t work, if we don’t do our best, we should remember the second half of this proverb:
But idle chatter (The way of the lips) leads only to need.
It really amazes me, but there are some people who actually think that their words and actions only affect them. “Well, I work hard most of the time. When I don’t do my best, I don’t really hurt anyone else.”
Is that true? NO. When you don’t work hard, then you don’t merely hurt yourself, but you also hurt the person who hired you.
When you were hired, you struck an agreement. In return for your work, the company agreed to pay you a certain wage. Now if you don’t work, or at least don’t work as hard as you can and you still take home the same paycheck, aren’t you taking what you didn’t earn?
What do we call it when we take something that we did not earn that is not rightfully ours?
We call it stealing. We might imagine that ‘Thou shalt not steal’ applies only to car thieves and bank robbers. But when we are lazy or don’t do our best at work, then we do, in fact steal.
It is certain that we have all fallen short in this way. We truly don’t deserve the things that have been given into our care by our gracious God. What is more, for all the times we have sinned in this way, Jesus did not.
Though we have not always worked hard, Jesus gave His all, He didn’t cut corners, so that your sins and mine might be forgiven. Jesus so loved you, that he paid in full the price necessary to redeem you and me from our sins, even when that price was His own blood.
The Lord also gives you the strength to arise and labor, for Him, to provide for yourselves and your family. The LORD also gives us the strength to labor for Him in His Kingdom, by speaking of our Savior Jesus with everyone whose path we cross.
Now God could simply give us all things freely without work. The LORD tried that once with the Children of Israel. Do you remember how God provided bread called Manna from heaven freely without cost? They didn’t have to work for it at all, only go out and pick it up and eat it. What happened? They complained about it, they were dissatisfied.
Now, the same LORD provides for our needs, but not by miraculously providing our earthly needs. Instead, He gives us the strength to work for them, so that we may see their value and appreciate all that we have been given.
While our earthly bread is not free, God did provide the Bread of Life to us free of charge. God doesn’t ask us to earn Salvation from His hand, but freely provides it by grace through faith.
It wasn’t cheap grace; however, it was very costly. It cost the Father His only Son, it cost Jesus His own blood. Jesus did all the work. He lived the innocent life. He died in our place to atone for our sins. This, his work was a labor of love.
So, let us labor in all things for Him, to show our thanks for His great love.