2. God – Our Greatest Work Example
Let us now turn our attention to work’s greatest example for us to follow – the Lord Himself. God, as He exists and has always existed, is a worker. Six times in Scripture the phrase “work of God” is found (Ex. 32:16; Ps. 64:9; Ecc. 7:13; 8:17; Job 6:29; Rom. 14:20). Another 300 times the word work in reference to something God has done is mentioned throughout Scripture (did you think I’d really list them all?). I want to show you 5 specific attributes of God in regards to work as part of our study.
#1 – God is at work in Creation
Genesis 2:1-3 – “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”
#2 – God is at work in Providence
Psalm 65:9-10 – “Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. 10Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.”
#3 – God is at work in Sustaining (Controlling)
Psalm 55:22 – “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”
#4 – God is at work in Judgment
Revelation 20:12-13 – “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.”
#5 – God is at work in Salvation through Jesus Christ
Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
John 9:4 – “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”
John 4:34 – “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”
John 5:17 – “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.”
John 17:4 – “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”
3. The Divine Purpose of Work
To wrap up this study, we must discover what the purpose for work is for us on this earth as believers. In Revelation 4:11 we read, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” We were created by God, and for the pleasure of God. One of the ways in which we please the Lord is through our work. A worker should glorify God. Let us not forget that we were created in God’s image – Genesis 1:27 – “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” And as part of God’s image, we both are workers.
We need to remember that Jesus was a preacher for three years of His life and a carpenter for probably at least twenty. Thus did He sanctify all occupations. Our Christian faith sanctifies work, all of work is designed to demonstrate the nobility of man to show that he is created in the image of God. That’s a biblical view of work, that there’s no difference when done to the honor of the Lord between preaching and washing the dishes. Every type of work (within moral boundaries) is honorable in the sight of God. Whether secular or sacred, whether dirty or dignified, white collar or blue collar, its sole purpose for us as Christians should be to bring honor and glory to the One who created us and all things.
As I have said before, I will say it once again to you all. Christian workers should be the hardest working, most cheerful, most faithful, loyal, obedient, timely, and presentable employees a workforce could ever hire into their company. Why? Because we don’t just simply work for “the man.” We work for “THE MAN” as our Lord and Savior. Colossians 3:22-24 says, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; 23And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
God, when he created you, created you to be a worker. Ephesians 4:28 says, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” Also in 1 Timothy 5:18 we read, “For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.”
This is the divine purpose of work – to glorify God and to be obedient to him. We bring nobility to ourselves and to our Lord through the work that produce. There is a beauty in the work that we do. We have the noble opportunity to bring value and meaning back to this cursed earth that has gone on since Genesis 3. We demonstrate our nobility by exercising our privilege to work for our God. This divine ordinance to man will continue from now until the end of eternity (by the way, there’s no such thing as the END of eternity, gotcha!).
To the young men and women of Dearborn Baptist Church, let me speak plainly. Work is NOT a dirty four-letter word. You are not living through the vacation years of your life right now. God created YOU in his image to glorify Him. And just as He is a worker and has been ever since before Creation (angels, cosmos, etc.) He wants you to be a worker too. In contrast to what the youth culture tells you, the ability to work and the commandment to work is a divine privilege bestowed upon you. Work is NOT a curse. Work is NOT a necessary evil. ALL jobs are equally valuable in the eyes of God. And the work we are doing now, only gets better when we enter eternity. There we will experience a blissful type of work we have never known.
How awesome is it to think and to discover through Scripture just how important and valuable work is to our lives as Christians. Our testimony, our Gospel witness should and can be lived out through the way in which we work. In a sin-cursed world, the opportunity stretches before us to play a part in redeeming this world in some small fashion all the time. If you don’t believe me, try not cutting your grass for six months, or leave all the windows and doors open in your home for six months and come back to see what lives there. We are constantly involved in a small part of the redemption of this earth because of sin. May we be Christians who glorify God in all, outstandingly so by the way we work.