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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - How to Get the Most Out of Your Work

Charles Stanley - How to Get the Most Out of Your Work

Charles Stanley - How to Get the Most Out of Your Work

Do you enjoy your work, or do you wish you could do something else? Do you feel like you're accomplishing anything, or do you feel like you're just sorta in a rut and you'd like to change vocations? Do you see yourself as a good employee? Are you giving your best? Do the people around you see you as a Christian? Are you making a real contribution where you are? When I think about how some people wake up every morning, they wake up with an excitement and a real challenge about the work of the day, and they're excited about getting to work and seeing what they can accomplish. And then there are those people who look at their vocation or their job or their work like a disease: stay as far away from it as you can, and don't go till you have to, and do as little as you can do to get by with.

Well, I want to remind you that the Bible has a lot to say about work. For example, the Bible says, "In six days shalt thou labor, the seventh day is a day of rest". The Bible says that work brings profit. And the Bible also says that, says, "If you find a good man, that is, a hard-working man, you'll find a man who will succeed and stand before kings". And so, when I think about all the scriptures in the Bible about work, and there are many others, I think about the fact that God has certainly commanded us to work. And that's what I want to talk about in this message: "How to Get the Most Out of Your Work". And when you ask that question, how to get the most out of your work, most people would say, "Well, the thing that I'm primarily interested in is how to get the most money out of my work".

Well, let me just say two or three things about that. First of all, no one would blame you for not wanting to make all that you possibly can. But if you are so short-sighted as to think that that's the only reason that you're working, is to get all the money that you can or simply to get paid, then you have a short-sighted view of what your labor's all about. Because you see, if that's the only thing you have in mind, then you're gonna miss God's purpose for you or by allowing you to have that work and to be in that particular place. You're gonna miss some blessings that God has in store for you, because you see, there's more to work than just making money. For example, you just think about the fact that you have the privilege of growing in your skills and your abilities and the talents that God has given you.

Think about the fact that God is building character into your life as you face challenges on your job that you would not face any other place. Think about the fact that you have a sense of accomplishment, and therefore that builds a sense of self-esteem in your life. And think about the fact that you also are building relationships and learning how to get along with other people and to encourage them and to be encouraged by them. And that you're making some kind of a contribution to life. There's a lot more to work than simply making money. It's an important part, naturally, but there's more to it than that. What I want to talk about in this message is how to get the most out of your work, and I want you to turn to a passage that answers that question. It is Colossians chapter three, Colossians chapter three, verse twenty-two, through the fourth chapter and verse one.

Now, the very first word in this passage may bother you. It starts off by saying "slaves," and you say, "Well, that doesn't include me". Well, some of you may feel like you are, in some particular responsibilities, but let me remind you of something to sorta set the stage. The reason the Apostle Paul starts this off by saying "slaves" is for this reason. In the day in which the Apostle Paul lived, probably half the people of that day in the Roman Empire were considered slaves. I'm taking about doctors, teachers, and all the rest. Many professional people were slaves. They belonged to some very wealthy people. So, we're not talking about the kind of slavery that we think in terms of today. You'll find here slaves, masters, and the Lord. And what I want you to notice here is this. Though the situation, the circumstance, is not the same, the same is true when it comes to principle, and that is there are employees, there are employers, and then there is the big boss, who is the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, the principles here are just as applicable for us today as they were in Paul's day. So don't let the word "slavery" bother you here. Listen to what He says. "Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality. Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven".

Now, I want to talk about this whole idea of how to get the most out of your work. If you're gonna work for someone, whether it's a year or six months or ten years or thirty years, or only have one vocation all of your life, how do you get the most out of it? If you're going to work there, how do you get the most out of it? Well, I want to give you five ways that I know will work, and so I want you to jot these down. They'll be to your advantage if you jot them down, think about them, because you're going to work tomorrow and you're either going with a sense of enthusiasm and excitement, or you're going dreading it. Why, in this world, wake up every morning dreading having to go to work?

So, the first thing I want you to jot down is this. We get the most out of our work when we view, listen, when we view ourselves as servants. We get the most out of our work when we view ourselves as servants. Now, I know that absolutely strikes against everything this society believes. We want to talk about our rights. We want to talk about our group and we want to talk about our independence and we want to talk about our conversation and we want to talk about what we're gonna get. The very idea of being a servant and having a servant spirit is totally foreign to our society. That is also the reason we have the society that we have. We have forgotten some very, very basic principles that apply to every facet of our life.

Now, you say, "Well, where do you get this idea that I'm to have a servant spirit on my job"? Well, let me ask you a question. If the spirit of a believer is to be that of a servant, tell me where we are not to have the spirit of a servant. We're to have the spirit of a servant no matter where we are because that, listen, that is the character of a child of God. God sends us into this world, raises us up, saves us, and we're to have a servant spirit. Am I to have a spirit other than what Jesus had? Look, if you will, in Philippians chapter two, a very important passage, because here the whole idea of the incarnation that Jesus Christ came in the flesh though He was God is explained.

Beginning in verse five: "Have this attitude," this is the attitude we are to have, "in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus," what was that? "Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, a lowly slave, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross". But if you'll notice what happens later on in these verses, God highly exalted Him. Jesus came as a servant. He came as a bondslave to serve men. If you and I want to get the best out of our work and the most out of our work, we are to have the spirit Jesus had, which was the spirit of a servant.

Now, here's what'll happen. It will affect the quality of your work. When you and I have the spirit of a servant, we are going to be more motivated to do our best and to give our best. When you get up tomorrow morning and you go to work and you see yourself as a servant, you're going happier and you're going with a sense of rejoicing. You're going to serve the Lord. Not only that, but listen, your effect upon the people around you is gonna be different. If you and I serve others and whatever our vocation may be, if we go to it as a servant, we're gonna have a much better testimony where we are, because, listen, when anyone approaches you or relates to you on the basis of wanting to serve you immediately, they've got your attention. Because, for example, first of all, it's rather rare that somebody wants to serve anybody these days.

But when somebody says, "Well, how can I serve you? How can I help you"? You walk into any store and someone says, "How may I serve you," I guarantee you they've got your attention. But so often you walk in a place and say, "Is there anybody here who will wait on me? Is there anybody here who cares about this business enough to take my money or answer my question or help me find what I'm looking for"? They just sorta stand around. And often times, you say, "Well, if I have a servant spirit, somebody's gonna take advantage of me".

So did they to Jesus. The issue is, what's the right attitude? Listen, my attitude can't be the result of how I'm treated. The attitude has to be, what does Almighty God expect of me as a believer wherever I work? And if you want to get the best out of your work, you go to work as a servant. I'm here to serve the one who is in authority over me, and I'm here to serve those whom I work for. That is the first principle, and I think it is a very basic principle. The second one is this: if I want to get the best out of my work, then I am to work as for the Lord. That is, my work is for the Lord.

Now, I remember when I was going to college and I worked in the textile mills, and I worked in the bleachery, which was the hottest place in there. It was a terrible place to work. About thirty minutes after I was there, I would be absolutely soaking wet all over. And so, the first two or three weeks I came home, my mom, she'd get upset. She worked from eight to four and I worked from four to twelve, and so she worked another area which was pretty tough, and so she'd say, "Well, you don't have to work in that hot place". And I mean, she was doing the same thing, but she didn't want me doing it. So, I knew I had to change my attitude about it because I didn't like it. And so, I finally had to decide, "Lord, I'm gonna do this as if You're the boss. I'm gonna do this as if I'm doing that for You".

Did you know that I could walk in there, that heat didn't bother me one bit? Not only that; I'll tell you what the Lord would do. I would witness to somebody and then I'd go to the restroom, and next thing you know, two or three fellows would come in there and they'd want to talk, and we got to witnessing. And so, I had a boss who was a little difficult to deal with, and yet I thought, "Either he's gonna fire me or get converted, one of the two". And so, when he would walk in after I'd been there for a month or so, he'd walk in, be five or six fellows in there taking their break, and they had a legitimate time to take a break. And I'd be in there sharing my faith and talking about the Lord, and they called me "Deacon". I don't know why they called me that, but that's what they called me. And so he'd walk in and six or seven guys'd be in there. He'd just shake his head and walk out; he never said a word.

Next time, summer, I came back to get a job. No question. Hired me just like that. Now, if I had stayed in that job with the same attitude I went with, "This place is hot, I mean, this place is terrible. Who in the world would want to work in here? I mean, this has got to be the next thing to torment. I mean, this must be Hades, Gehenna, or something. I can't handle this," you know what? Nobody'd been listening to my witness; and secondly, I wouldn't have stayed long, I wouldn't have had a job; and thirdly, I wouldn't have gotten a job there the next summer.

And when you and I begin to realize, "This work, it may look like it's the world's work, but I'm here because the Lord has put me here and I'm doing this unto Him," and it's amazing how your attitude will change. You'll do a better job. You'll have a better testimony when you look at your vocation no matter what it is and you know in your heart, "I'm doing this for the Lord. He's placed me here at this particular time. It's tough on me. I don't particularly like everything going on. I don't like the abuse. I don't like the hours. I don't like this, that, and the other," but you know what? Listen, if you start complaining about everything and other people complain, before long, you get in the same category with them. You've lost your witness.

And one of the disasters of this age is so many of God's people act one way at church and something else on their job. We lose the impact and the power of our testimony out there where the world needs to see it and needs to hear it. And I'd simply ask you a question. The people you work around, do they know that you're a believer without telling them? You shouldn't even have to walk in and say, "I'm a Christian. Don't tell any dirty jokes around me, I'm a Christian. Watch out what you say". No, listen, listen, listen carefully. Your life, listen carefully, your life should be so possessed by Jesus Christ that when you walk in, your very presence will say something. You don't have to say anything to announce that you're a Christian. Your very presence.

There's something about a spirit-filled believer. You don't have to ask him or her. You don't have to question whether they're a believer. Listen, there's something about it. That is the presence of Jesus Christ living on the inside of them. They will know without you saying a word. They'll be asking you. They'll see the difference, they'll hear the difference, they'll know the difference, they'll watch the difference as you work, and you know what? You won't have to tell 'em anything. Then they'll start asking you and then you can say, "Well, let me tell you how the Lord has worked in my life and let me tell you how He helped me when I was in a similar situation". Our work is to be for the Lord.

The third thing I want you to jot down is this, and that is, listen: to get the most out of our work, we are to view Christ, listen, we're to view Christ as our authority. Note, that is, He's the boss. Now, look at this. You say, "Well, I wish my boss would act like Him". That's not the issue. Watch this, look at this. Verse twenty-two: "Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters". If you work in a particular place... now, listen carefully so you won't misunderstand this, 'cause I know what you're thinking already. You say, "Man, if you knew what they ask me to do". Listen carefully. He says, "In all things, obey those who are your masters on earth".

Unless someone asks you to do something that is immoral, corrupt, unrighteous, that is, ungodly, unbiblical, that you know is dishonest; if it doesn't fall in those categories, and you work for them, it's your responsibility to do what's asked of you. If you cannot do it and don't want to do it and you're not gonna do it, then you either need to change jobs or change your attitude. Because what he says here is, he's telling us who the boss is. We are working for the Big Boss who has created every single solitary thing and, listen, who has given every single person who has a sense of authority and a position of authority, He's the one who's given it to him. Does He not say that He places people in authority. He sets kings in their positions and he brings them down.

So, when somebody's a big-shot, egotistical, arrogant, prideful, taking their position and browbeating other people, abusing them, taking advantage of them, requiring things of them that they should not, you know what? Their day is coming. You say, "I don't have to put up with this". You and I have to put up with whatever we have to put up with until God tells us to do something different. Now, remember this. I know that some situations are very difficult, very, very tough.

You say, "Well, how would you know that as a pastor"? Listen, every pastor knows what it means, for example, at some points in their life, to be pastor of a group of people who may not like him or who do not want him there any longer. And here he is, trying to serve God and pour out his heart week after week, month after month, year after year, and you've got folks out there who are criticizing and all these things; every pastor knows that kind of stuff. We're serving the Lord, just like you are in your vocation, and you don't up and leave because the going gets rough. And I'm simply saying to you, if you just up and leave your job because things are tough, listen, it may be that God has placed you there and is working in your life in that particular area, and He leaves you there for a period of time to do what?

To build character, strength, endurance; to teach, listen, to teach you by being misused how to treat people in a godly fashion. It may be that God is equipping you and preparing you and just getting you ready for a real position for yourself. If you leave, you run out, you walk away because it's tough, you don't think you're getting paid enough, you don't think they're treating you right, what you don't realize is it may be that God is giving you a taste of something that's a little bitter in your life at this time so that when you get that position, you'll know how to treat people in a godly fashion. Don't walk away unless God tells you to walk away. He's the boss. And you see, these people who act like they're God and play God, you can just smile and just say, "Lord, help 'em," because their day's coming, their day's coming.

Listen, what does God hate above everything else in this life? Pride and arrogance. You know, "better than," "number one," whatever that is. And the truth is, there's always somebody out there who can outdo 'em. You know what I've discovered? I've discovered the people who do the best job, they're not arrogant and prideful and egotistical and claiming their position, want to lord it over people. They're people who have a heart for other people. They have a heart for other people. And so, to get the best out of your work, you certainly want to recognize who the boss is, and that boss is none other than the person of Jesus Christ Himself.

Now, a fourth principle I want you to jot down is this, and that is to get the best out of your work, listen, to get the best out of your work, see other people as worthy persons. See other people as worthy persons. That is, remember this: you and I are not to use people. We use things and love people and respect people. And I know that there are a lot of people who work in certain particular jobs or whatever it might be who are often times abused and misused, and, I think when people are mistreated, people do not realize that God ultimately is the judge. He's not gonna put up with that but so long. And so oftentimes a person's not paid adequately, or an employer will say, well, what they try to do is to see how little you'll work for.

My friend, let me tell you something. If you are a Christian and you're an employer and your goal is to get people to work for you as little as they can, I want to tell you, that is not Christ-like. I don't believe Jesus would say, "Well, now, let's... how little can I get him for? How little can I pay her? How few days can I give them off"? You see, no matter what your position is, when you mistreat people, you say, "Well, that's just part of the business". No, it's not! Mistreating people is not part of the business from God's viewpoint. You love people, you care for people, you treat them gently.

Now, you say, "Well, what about these folks who just lazy and sloppy"? Then deal with them, but deal with them in a godly fashion. Explain to them what's going on; you're not gonna put up with that, you don't have to put up with that. I'm talking about using people and abusing people, getting the most you can out of them. Not, listen, not in order to strengthen them and teach them perseverance and build them up and show them, help them to understand how much they can do and what they can do. I'm talking about taking advantage of them in an unjust fashion. Listen to what he says in this passage, because he says in chapter four, verse one, "Masters," speaking of the employers, "grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven".

Every employer, every president of every corporation in this country needs to hear that loud and clear. Remembering that you too have a Master who is in heaven. It is Almighty God. Your Lord, whether recognized or not, is the person of Jesus Christ, to whom you and I will give an account. Getting quiet in here, isn't it? Now, the last point I want you to notice is this. I want you to notice this last point, and that is simply this. To get the most out of our work, we're to view our rewards as present and future. We're to review our rewards as present and future. For example, if you only see your reward for your work as a paycheck, and the only reward you see are those numbers there by the dollar mark, then you've missed the point.

In other words, that's not the only reward you're getting. That may be what you see, but remember what we said, that oftentimes in difficult situations, God builds character. But sometimes in good situations, God surrounds you with people who love you and encourage you in your work, and you see people around you doing a good job. There's a great spirit, wonderful spirit, in the work around you, and you see people who are enjoying, there are lots of good things that can go on. In fact, they could go on everywhere if people just trust the Lord and treat each other right. Lot of good things that go on in businesses. Lot of good things that go on in ministries. And so, there's more than just what you see on the paycheck. But not only that, there's more than what you see in the here and now. All that you and I are gonna be rewarded for in our work is not limited to what's on a paycheck.

Now, I want you to look at this verse if you will again. Notice what he says beginning in verse twenty-four: "Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve". Now, remember this, and this is sometimes, again, a misconception we have. We have the idea that my work out there in the work-a-day world, that's one thing. What God's gonna reward me for is all I've done for Jesus, quote. You know, teach Sunday School, sing in the choir, play in the orchestra, preach sermons, do all these, witness and give and all these things. No, you know what? God's gonna reward you and me for every single aspect of our life, not just some of them, but every single one of them.

So, listen. He says, "Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve". Listen, listen to that. Watch this. If God is the big boss, He's the one who ultimately determines what the pay is, right? If He's the big boss, and He is, He's the Lord over everything and every business and whatever it might be, He's the one who ultimately determines what the reward is. Now, in this day in which you and I live, we get part of our reward here and now because of our efforts and the hours we put in and so forth. But the ultimate reward is given by someone else. Now, watch this. Maybe you never thought about this.

Do you realize that most of the rewards that you're laying up for yourself in Heaven is what happens in your secular job, day after day? Listen, you work forty hours or fifty hours or sixty hours out there in that particular task. How much time do you spend in church? Not very much. Do you spend that much time doing anything else? No, so your, listen, the greatest percentage of your reward when you stand before the Lord is going to be what you did or what you failed to do on your job, in your work, whatever it was. It's not just gonna be coming to church. And some of you've served in lots of ways, in orchestra and choir and teaching and ushering and parking and all these things. God's gonna reward you for that. But you know what? Forty hours of your week, forty of them are out there in the secular job.

What's He gonna do? He's gonna reward you for every good deed. He's gonna reward you for doing well what you did, giving it your best, understanding that other people are persons just like yourself. And what is He gonna do? He's gonna reward you accordingly. Now, I'm simply saying this: all of us have work to do. Work is of God. It is part of our responsibility as a believer. And I'm to do it with all of my heart, not to impress men, but because I love the Lord God Himself. I'm to do it with respect to other people, with a servant spirit. Doing it, it's the Lord's work. And doing it for Him, recognizing that my reward, He's gonna handle that. I don't have to worry about that, He'll take care of that.

Now, you say, "Well, I'm not even a Christian. How does this apply to me"? My friend, you'll never be able to reach the maximum of your potential till you trust Jesus as your savior, because you see, you're working against Him. When you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior, what happens? Your sins are forgiven, He clears your mind, you get rid of the guilt of the past. God begins to work in your life. You're able to do things better. And you certainly are gonna be wiser in every way. And as the Word of God begins to fill your mind and your heart, you're gonna begin to think the way God thinks and see things the way God sees 'em.

You know what's gonna happen? Your whole demeanor's gonna change, your attitude's gonna change, and you have the privilege of being a wonderful servant of God no matter who you are. And I want to encourage you to ask the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins. And tell Him that you want Him as your savior and you want to be what He wants you to be. If you're an employee and you've done a shoddy job and you've been lazy, procrastinated, cheated on your time, demand, demand, demand, criticize, you need to get on your knees and ask God to forgive you for being a poor employee, a poor servant of God where you're working.

If you're an employer and you've mistreated people, greed, greed, greed, push, push, push, shove, shove, shove, used them as things rather than loving them as people, you need to ask God to forgive you. Get on your knees and ask God to forgive you for sinning against Him; it's a sin against God. Has nothing to do with the church; it's a sin against God.

Ask God to help you to have a servant spirit as an employer, give you a servant spirit so you can serve the people around you, and that they'll see Jesus Christ living on the inside of you. Then you know what'll happen? The whole attitude in that business will change. One person can change the atmosphere if they're willing to live a godly life. And let's just take a moment to ask the Lord now, for every single one of us, myself, every single one of us, "Lord, show me what kind of a worker I am, and show me what kind of changes You want in my life".

Father, thank You that You love us enough to confront us with the truth in love. I pray the Holy Spirit will speak to my heart, the heart of every single person who is listening, that each of us would make a fresh new commitment, Father, to go about our work in the spirit of a servant, recognizing it's Your work; we're working for You. You're the Master and Lord. These are persons whom You love that we are working with, and we're gonna trust You for the reward in due season. In Jesus's name, amen.

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