Work as for the Lord

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: II Thessalonians 3:6-16


I.         Why should you work?

            A.        I had a friend that inherited a large sum of money before he was 18. There was enough cash available that he could live comfortably off the interest the money would generate for the rest of his life. Why should he work?

            B.        Our government offers financial support for people. While the pay is low, there are people who feel that it is adequate, so why should they work?

            C.        The idea of being able not to work is a strong motivator in the gambling industry. By contributing a small sum of money and no effort on your part, you have a chance to win enough money to quit working.

                        1.         Of course, they don’t mention that you have a five-time greater chance of being struck by lightening than winning the lotto – but people want to focus on the positive, “least there is a chance!”

            D.        It has become the focus of life. “I want to work to get enough money so I can retire.”

II.        Man was never without work to do

            A.        Adam was given the job to tend the Garden - Genesis 2:15

            B.        After the fall, man not only had to work, but it came only with effort - Genesis 3:17-19

            C.        Usually we focus on the Sabbath day, the day of rest, but notice that the day of rest came after six days of labor - Exodus 20:8-11

            D.        Unlike our country, even the unfortunate were expected to labor - Leviticus 19:9-10

            E.        Christians are commanded to work - I Thessalonians 4:11-12

                        1.         We do not subsidize the lazy, but we assist the needy - Ephesians 4:28

III.       Why work?

            A.        To provide for those who are our responsibility - I Timothy 5:8

                        1.         I Thessalonians 4:12 - So that you will have no needs

                        2.         Young people, when you get out on your own, it becomes your responsibility to support yourself - Proverbs 19:15

                        3.         When you get married, young men, you have agreed to the obligation to support your wife.

                        4.         When you have children, they become your responsibility - II Corinthians 12:14

                        5.         When your parents become old, they are your responsibility - I Timothy 5:4

            B.        To stay out of sin

                        1.         Ephesians 4:28 - Removes the temptation to steal. Why steal when you can buy?

                        2.         II Thessalonians 3:11-12 - To remove idle time.

                        3.         I Timothy 5:13-15 - The same for women

            C.        To be able to help others - Ephesians 4:28

                        1.         God expects men to aid others - Isaiah 58:7

                        2.         I Timothy 6:18-19 - The rich must be willing to share

IV.      Responsibilities of the employed

            A.        If at all possible, get paid for doing something you enjoy - Ecclesiastes 2:22-24

                        1.         Nothing is more miserable than to slave at a job you hate.

                        2.         Yet, I’ve seen people how have not work for months because they are looking for the perfect job.

                                    a.         For some, I suspect the perfect job is one that requires no effort, which is why they never can find it.

                                    b.         God’s rule still applies - II Thessalonians 3:10

                                    c.         Take any job that pays and in your spare time look for something better.

                                    d.         If you have a poor job, keep working while you search for something better. Don’t quit until you start your new job.

                        3.         Recognize that a good job is a gift from God to you - Ecclesiastes 3:13

            B.        Give respect to your employer - I Timothy 6:1-2

                        1.         That means no arguing - Titus 2:9

                        2.         Even to the unreasonable bosses - I Peter 2:18-20

            C.        Be honest in your dealings

                        1.         Titus 2:9-10 - Don’t take from your employer what is his

            D.        Give sincere obedience - Ephesians 6:5-8

                        1.         In other words, you don’t work hard only when the boss is looking.

                        2.         It is to come from the heart and not just external - Colossians 3:22

                        3.         Work for Jesus, who is always watching

                        4.         What we do and how we behave is a reflection on our Lord

            E.        Work heartily - Colossians 3:23-24

                        1.         Give full effort while you can - Ecclesiastes 9:10

                        2.         Proverbs 18:9 - A slack worker is a destroyer

V.        Responsibilities of the employer

            A.        Workers have the right to be paid for their effort - Deuteronomy 25:4

                        1.         Jesus said the laborer is worthy of his wages - Matthew 10:10

                        2.         Woe to the man to uses unpaid for labor - Jeremiah 22:13

                        3.         Workers have a right to a fair wage - Malachi 3:5

                        4.         James 5:4 - The rich who got rich by shorting or withholding wages

            B.        That right extends to the right to be paid in a timely manner - Deuteronomy 24:14-15

                        1.         Withholding wages is equivalent to robbing a man - Leviticus 19:13

            C.        People need periods of rest

                        1.         God rested after his labors and He used that as precedence for Israel’s law to rest on the Sabbath day.

                        2.         Jesus recognized the need for his disciples to rest - Mark 6:31-32

            D.        Work for your employees - Ephesians 6:9

                        1.         Do not use threats as a motivation

                        2.         Treat them as you want to be treated. Just as God is impartial, so you must be as well.

            E.        Treat them justly and fairly - Colossians 4:1

VI.      You know, I don’t plan on retiring. How can I leave such a wonderful and needed occupation? I might be forced by health to slow down. I might be disabled and have to become innovative in how I continue to work. But I understand the importance of my work and the importance of working.

            A.        Instead of looking forward to retirement, look forward to a time when instead of having to work, you can work at what you like, even if the pay is lousy.

            B.        Use your retirement years to get some fun out of your labors.

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