January 24, 2021
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, Turning the Rat Race into a Pilgrimage.
When Monday morning rolls around, do you say, “Good morning, Lord” or “Good Lord, is it morning?” So many people regard work as the wrong kind of four-letter word. But for followers of Jesus Christ, there can be joy and dignity in the most mundane job. You can turn monotony into significance when you see your job through God’s eyes.
Adults spend about one-third to almost half of their lives on the job. Wouldn’t it be a shame to spend that much time with something we feel in our hearts doesn’t amount to much or something we actually despise? This is especially true if you have what you call “an ordinary job”—“I'm just a clerk…just a factory worker.” You may be saying, “I didn’t make Who’s Who; I didn’t even make Who’s Not. They don’t even let me lead in silent prayer.”
Friend, if you’re one of those folks, who say, “I don’t count for anything. I’m just going to work today because I have to,” this message is for you.
Paul, writing to the church at Corinth, said,
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty (1 Corinthians 1:26-27).
These are just ordinary people, and God literally chooses and uses them to bring Him greater glory. Now if you’re a Ph.D., a movie star, a star athlete, a class president, or a Phi Beta Kappa, God can use you too, but He’ll have to work harder to do it. I’m serious.
God’s plan is to take ordinary people and put them in ordinary places with ordinary jobs and give extraordinary glory to Himself. God can make you a thing of beauty and joy to Himself, right there in what you may consider your “mundane” workplace.
This applies whether you have a job outside the home or if you are a stay-at-home mom with a full-time job inside the home. You are a working mom with a job 24/7, whether inside or outside the home.
In Ephesians 6:5-8, God gives us career principles. Consider the guidelines to serve you well throughout your life and career:
Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
Serve your boss as if he or she were Jesus. You may say, “If you only knew my boss. It’s impossible. You wouldn’t say that if you had to work where I do.” You’re not going to work tomorrow for your boss but for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Whatever you do, do it “as to the Lord, not to men.” The hidden paycheck here is “…knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.” Whatever your circumstance, your Father God sees what goes on and He knows. I love the song that says, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know, I know, He watches me.”
“My job?” you say. “I'm bored to tears. It’s the same old grind and drudgery. I'm just drawing my breath and drawing my salary.” If you have a job, be grateful. It is a God-given opportunity, a loving gift from God.
"And 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" (Colossians 3:23-25).
Some people see their jobs as necessary evils—they must do them to pay the bills. For others, work is a cruel taskmaster. They’re caught in traps where they can’t get out long enough to look for other jobs. Others have made their jobs demanding gods. This attitude is most dangerous. They sacrifice everything for their jobs, attending high-priced seminars to hear people tell them how to be successful. They hear: “Creativity is 2% inspiration and 98% perspiration.” So they work all the harder, sacrificing their health, their family lives, and their love for the Lord Jesus Christ for their jobs. People say, “Look—they’re successful.” No, they’re abject failures.
You need to see your work as a God-given opportunity and a loving gift. If you have a job, be grateful. It’s a gift from God. “In all labor, there is profit” (Proverbs 14:23).
The Lord Jesus was a carpenter. He knew what it was to work.
Don’t do your job superficially—just enough to skate by—or to be a people-pleaser. Instead, understand you’re serving God Himself. Do it with wholeheartedness, as unto the Lord, “with goodwill, doing service as to the Lord, and not to men” (Ephesians 6:7).
Ultimately, you’re partnering with God, regardless of where you work. Get rid of the false belief, if you have it, that work is a punishment from God, and if man hadn’t sinned, we wouldn’t have to work. You may believe, “If we got back to the Garden of Eden, we wouldn’t be working.” You’d be wrong.
Do you know who the first farmer was? No, not Adam. “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden” (Genesis 2:8). The first farmer was God Himself. Then what did God assign to Adam? "Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend it and keep it" (Genesis 2:15). God gave Adam and Eve full-time responsibility: tend and keep the Garden. You must understand this principle: work didn’t come as a punishment for sin. Toil and sweat came as a punishment, not work in itself.
Don’t believe the lie that your job isn’t important. Whether you work in a factory or an office, you’re working for God. Any work done for God is the work of God, is it not? "Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need" (Ephesians 4:28).
Look again at the passage from Ephesians: “as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men” (Ephesians 6:6-7).
Could it be any plainer? You’re not going to work for FedEx, Kellogg’s, or Charlie’s Market, but for Jesus Christ. You’re serving God. Every day is a holy day. Every place is a sacred place. Every duty is a divine duty. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31), because you’re working for God. Don’t get so heavenly minded you’re no earthly good. And if you’re lazy, if you refuse to work, something is wrong with you.
At one point in the Old Testament, God’s people were carried off to Babylon. For years they lived in Babylonian captivity. They could have said, “We’re in a pagan land. This is a pagan world. We’re only here as captives. We’re not going to work with all our hearts.” What did God instruct them to do there?
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon:
Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. (Jeremiah 29:4-7)
You’re living in such-and-such city or town. God says to you, “Build houses. Be busy. Get into the work world and do a good job. Seek the welfare of your city. Yes, seek the welfare of Babylon, where I have carried you.”
Don’t think your job isn’t important. Your job is a part of all of this—all of God’s plan. You are to be helpful to others and to help yourself. You provide for your own needs and have enough to help others in need. And do so, as Ephesians 6:7 says, “with goodwill, doing service as to the Lord, and not to men.” Be helpful.
You are the light of the world, the salt of the earth. Where is your light to shine?
"… in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…" (Philippians 2:15).
Go there and serve God! That’s where the salt is needed. Tomorrow morning when you go to work, get up and say, “Lord Jesus, I’m willing to endure drudgery for You. Good morning, Lord. Here I am, in full-time ministry, and I’m going off to serve my Lord and Savior.”