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Sunday, March 13, 2016 am                                        Others 2016 Index

 

OTHERS (11)
Be an Example (2)
Our Work Responsibilities and Others

 

The premise of our theme in this section is to notice how a Christian is to be a proper example in all areas of his life.   There are essentially 5 distinct areas of relationship in a Christian’s life – his spiritual relationship (the church), his economic relationship (providing for his family), his civil relationship (duty to government), his social relationship (responsibilities within his community) and his family relationship (duties within the home).   Each of these has an impact on our influence with others.  Each of these is addressed in scripture, which is what we want to examine in this section of our study of others.  We begin today by noticing our economic responsibilities.

We are living in a time where the “work ethic” is suffering.  There are many who commit to their jobs with the best of their abilities.  Much of the success of any society is attributed to hard work and good work ethics.  But others seek to get by with doing as little as possible while demanding as much as possible from their employers.   Others (who are able bodied) refuse to work (or to do work they deem “beneath their dignity”) and expect others to carry them.  While this has always been the case in society to some degree, we are living in times where such is becoming more common place, in fact it is becoming an epidemic. 

Much could be said about economic theory, but that is not our purpose as we study God’s word.   Our purpose in this lesson is to notice that as Christians we have responsibilities when it comes to working and providing for ourselves economically.   We should not be seeking to get by with doing as little as possible, but be an example and influence on OTHERS as we do our job.  

 I.                     Christians are to work

a.       Work is good – Prov. 14:23, “In all labor there is profit, But idle chatter leads only to poverty.”

Proverbs 12:14 – “A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth, And the recompense of a man’s hands will be rendered to him.
Eccl. 5:12 – “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much…” 

b.       Even though God cursed Adam with hard work, He made it so that such is beneficial (Gen. 3:17-19).
IN FACT, there was a work ethic established even BEFORE the fall of man – Gen. 2:15.

c.        Ephesians 4:28 – let him who steal, labor now – seek to help others.  Be productive so that we can do good for OTHERS!

d.       1 Timothy 5:8, in God’s eyes, one who does not provide for his family, “he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

e.       1 Thess. 4:11-12, Paul in admonishing the brethren of Thessalonica challenged them to mind their own business and lead a quiet life (not drawing undue attention to themselves), and to work with their own hands.  In so doing, you walk properly toward those who are outside (you are an example to OTHERS in these things).

f.         2 Thess. 3:6-10, Paul calls for the brethren to withdraw from those who are walking disorderly.  Among the concerns he had was a failure of some to work.  He notes that if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat (i.e. don’t enable someone who refuses to work).    One reason is given – idleness often leads to sinful behavior such as being busybodies and being disorderly.  How many get into trouble because they are idle?

g.       Laziness is condemned in scripture – This is seen in the previous passages and also in Proverbs 10:26, “As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, So is the lazy man to those who send him.  Prov. 18:9, “He who is slothful in his work Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.”

 II.                   Responsibilities of a Working Christian

a.       There are many principles that govern the work ethic of a Christian.   We should strive to do these things not merely because they are commanded, but they are beneficial for a productive society AND they set a proper example for OTHERS.  Some of the principles we must consider in our work include:

b.       Give your best

                                                   i.      Eccl. 9:10, whatever your hands find to do, do it heartily, as to the Lord.

                                                 ii.      The New Testament addresses the relationship of the master/slave.  While we do not face this in our society today, the principles can be applied to the employer/employee relationship.  Consider the following in our work.

1.       Colossians 3:22-24 – obey in all things, not with eyeservice (just when the boss is around), but with sincerity of heart – fearing God.
Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord (He is watching).  Be a Christian in this!  The Lord knows what you do and will reward accordingly.

2.       Eph. 6:5-8 – be obedient with fear and trembling (toward God),
In sincerity of heart, again not with eyeservice, but as bondservants of Christ.

3.       1 Timothy 6:1-2 – count your (boss) as worthy of honor, for the sake of the name of God (i.e. be an example).   Vs. 2 notes that this applies even with unbelieving masters (bosses) who might act without godly attitudes.

c.        Work with integrity – implied in the sincerity of heart.

                                                   i.      As Christians we need to be honest & respectful – Titus 2:9-10 – be well pleasing in all things, not talking back, not pilfering (do we rob our bosses?), rather showing fidelity (faithfulness).

                                                 ii.      Give an honest day’s work for your wages.   Be on time and leave at the proper time.  1 Peter 2:12 speaks of us having honorable conduct among the Gentiles that Go be glorified by our example in good works.    This applies even when the boss is not looking!

                                                iii.      NOTE: Consider also that you are there to do a job you have been hired to do – it is not the time to evangelize (other than by example or perhaps in casual discussions during break times, etc.) and do everything else but your job. 
You need to respect the policies of the company you are working for!  If they conflict with your faith, consider other employment options!

d.       Proper attitudes toward work – many principles we have discussed apply in our employment.

                                                   i.      Be content – be happy you have a job (many don’t).  We content with your wages (cf. Luke 3:14 – where John told soldiers to be content with their wages).
1 Timothy 6:6-10.  Desires to be rich can lead to problems. 
Warnings against debt, etc.   Prov. 22:7, “The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender.  Sometimes we put ourselves into situations where we have to work to the neglect of other more important things. 

                                                 ii.      Be thankful – Eccl. 3:13 – enjoy the good of your labor, it is a gift from God.
1 Thess. 5:18 – in everything we give thanks.  Sometimes when we are in less than ideal circumstances with our jobs, we need to remind ourselves to be grateful. 

                                                iii.      Don’t be prideful – many are prideful when it comes to their work.  Some refuse to work because they are too good for that job, or at the first sign of problems they quit.  We can’t just walk away from work because it is not the ideal job.   Be humble.  NOTE: This doesn’t mean you can never change jobs to do better, it simply means – you might need to endure for a while until something better does come along. 

e.       Treat others fairly and properly – whatever your position in your job, conduct yourself as a Christian.  Remember in this Matthew 7:12 in all our endeavors.  
We should not abuse or take advantage of our fellow employees/employer. 
If you are in a service industry – treat your customers properly (remember “as to the Lord”).

f.         Be pleasant – don’t be the one causing trouble.  Don’t be the complainer.  Don’t be bitter, etc.   All the ungodly attitudes we have addressed in times past apply here as well. 
Ephesians 4:31 tells us to put away such attitudes.    Remember, we are to be salt and light.

g.       Employers – The Bible also addresses this. 

                                                   i.      The wealthy who exploit others are condemned in scripture.  Cf. James 5:4, Jeremiah 22:13, ““Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness And his chambers by injustice, Who uses his neighbor’s service without wages And gives him nothing for his work,”

                                                 ii.      Give proper pay – Lev. 19:13, “You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning.”

Luke 10:7, the laborer is worthy of his wages

Deut. 24:14-15 – do not oppress the poor and needy, including aliens.  Give wages daily (as agreed to).

                                                iii.      Eph. 6:9 – be good to your workers – give up threatening.  Consider the goodness of God toward you.   Colossians 4:1 – give what is just and fair.

                                                iv.      It has been noted that employers who properly care for their employees have better productivity and loyalty.  When you care it shows!

h.       Honorable work – choose your career carefully – will it cause you to compromise?  Will it take you away from serving God?   Consider Deut. 23:18 – don’t bring the wages of what is defiled to God!

 

These are some of the qualities to consider as Christians in our work environment.  An interesting observation about having a proper attitude and doing your work diligently, usually (and yes there are exceptions and some take advantage of the godly) these are the ones whose jobs have greater security and promotion.  But, as we have seen in this lesson, our job is to do our job in such a way that God is glorified by our example. 

So what about you, are you doing your best?