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James Merritt - Work Ethic

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    James Merritt - Work Ethic
TOPICS: Ephessians Bible Study

This is a very unusual message, but it's very very practical and applicable, and I'll tell you why we spend the majority of our lives doing it. As a matter of fact, as children, we begin to think about how we're going to do it, we spend the first 25% of our lives getting ready to do it. Yet, according to the latest survey, 85% of us hate doing it. And by the time we hit 66 years of age 69% of us quit doing it. While I'm talking about work, is a huge part of your life. Whether you like it or not work is not just what we do. Work is a part of who we are. You meet a stranger, inevitably, you'll ask, what do you do? If you talk to a little child, you say, so what do you want to be when you grow up? You made a college student, you inevitably asked what are you majoring in? You meet someone who's retired and you say, what did you do for a living?

Interestingly enough, work is not something we thought of, cause let's face it, we would have never thought of it. Work was actually God's idea from the beginning. As matter of fact, the very first command that God ever gave to a human being was to work, Adam and Eve and barely taking their first breath, when God said to them, your job is to be fruitful, to multiply to subdue the earth, you're to rule over it and make it productive. Matter of fact, the very first time the word work is ever used in the Bible is used at the very beginning of the biblical story. Here's what we read, the Lord God took the man put him in the Garden of Eden, to work it and take care of it. And the truth of the matter is, from the time we were born, everyone who's physically able is expected to work. We expect it, our culture expects it, the world expects it. God expects it.

Matter of fact, even the Son of God came to do work, God gave him a job. And at the end of his life, Jesus said, I brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. You're a guest of ours today. We're in the series, we're in a book called Ephesians. We're calling this series unbelievable. And we're coming today to one of those major passages in the Bible that deals with work, works divided up into two areas, and you're in one of those two areas. You're either in management, or you're in labor, you are either the boss, or you are the employee. And then he Ephesians chapter six, Paul uses an economic illustration that was prevalent in his day to illustrate and educate, how should management treat labor? How should labor treats management, and how God is watching over how both tree the other?

Now the analogy that Paul uses is shocking. Infact it's gonna make some of you very uncomfortable. It is a matter of fact, if Paul had come to me in that day, 2000 years ago and said, James, I'm gonna write about work. What example would you use, I would have picked this one. Because it's made a lot of people angry. It has caused some people to throw this book in the trashcan. It is also people who say you know what, I'll never read this book, again, because of what they think it says about this topic. Full disclosure, when I play my series, I play my series on a year ahead of time, when I was going through Ephesians, I skip this passage, I said, I don't think I'm gonna deal with that passage. Because I've ever heard a pastor deal with this topic. And then I got under conviction. And I'll realize you what, I am not ashamed of anything that's between the cover of this book. I'm just not. I'm willing to own everything that is in it.

And I'm not afraid to teach what I believe is the properly interpreted truth of this book, because I believe the entire book is inspired. And I believe it is all God's truth to us. In fact, let me just take a moment and tell you why this book is unlike any Any other book that has ever been written or ever will be written. First of all, it is a heavenly book. God inspired me to write this book. This is not our word about God. This is God's Word to us. It is a heavenly book. It's also a holy book. That is, it contains divine instructions in the way where to live. And this book tells us, you want to please God, you want to bless others. You want to live a life that's meaningful, you'll find everything you need to know in this book, but to be sure, it is a human book. I mean, when you read this book, it doesn't skirt issues. It doesn't have anything. It paints the picture of humanity, warts and all.

So you pick up this Bible, you'll read Godly people doing Godly things. You'll read about Godly people doing unGodly things. You'll read about Godly people acting in Godly ways. You read about Godly people acting in unGodly ways. As a matter of fact, you only find a perfect situation in the Bible twice in the first two chapters of the Bible. And the last two chapters in the Bible, in between what you find is the real world. It is reality TV, from Genesis to Revelation, because the same problems that we have today are the same problems that people had years and years, and millennia and millennia ago.

So when I pick up my Bible, I see the same world I see out there, a world where God is in control on the one hand, and then on the other hand, you wonder, where is God, all the evil, all of the sin, all the wickedness, all of the terrible things that happen, I just got off the phone, just now before I walked out here, with two of our most faithful members, now I won't name them, but I want you to pray for them. They're driving to Alabama right now, because his 18 year old grandson was shot and killed at a party last night, I just got off the phone. That's the world we live in. That's the culture we're in. God's in control. God is in charge. God is Lord of the universe. And yet, there's all this wickedness and all this sin. And then we come to this passage of Scripture. I'm gonna ask you to take a deep breath. And listen to what Paul wrote, how he applies it to our life today.

And, again, pray for me, even as I preach, because it is a difficult topic. But I'm not afraid of it. Because when I studied As matter of fact, I wasn't discouraged. I was encouraged. We're in Ephesians, six, if you've bought your discipleship booklet, it's on page 36, in your little booklet there, or you can read it with me. Here's what Paul wrote. Slaves obey your earthly masters with respect and fear. And with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ, obey them not only when their favorite when their eyes own you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart, serve wholeheartedly as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. And masters, treat your slaves in the same way, do not threaten them, since you know that he was both their master, and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

So let's just get some elephants out of the room. When I say slaves, and I say, Masters, those words are heard completely differently if you're white, or if you're black, they're not heard the same way. And when you throw in that word, obedience, it really can supercharge your emotions. And white people will not necessarily struggle with these words, as much as African Americans, they won't hear these words the same way. And by the way, that's not a matter of political correctness. That is emotional reality. And before I jump into this, I want to tell you, I spent days I spent weeks, I spent over two months gathering material I studied harder for this message than probably any other message I've ever prepared in my life, cause I went into it with fear and trembling, but I came out of it and I saw God, use what I have learned not to discourage us, but to encourage us and to teach us once again, we don't have to be afraid of your truth. And at the end of the day, you always do what is right.

So before I kind of jump into all of this, let me make one statement that I want to kind of just hover over the building right now. All right, slavery in any form is wrong. It's a horrific evil. It is absolutely terrible. I don't make any bones about that. But as we come to slavery and the Bible, there are three words I want you to keep in mind. So we can Put slavery in its rightful biblical, cultural and social context of that day. This is important. Here's the three words to keep in mind, celebrate, regulate, eliminate. Here's the three statements I wanna make statement number one, the scripture never celebrates slavery. Never Simply put, there's no scriptural basis for slavery. There's no scriptural basis for racism. There's no scriptural basis for discrimination of any time, and particularly the type that was practiced in our country many years ago. And, by the way, still practice in places somewhere in the world today. The scripture never condone slavery, anytime, anywhere.

Now, to be sure. To the shame of the church. Yes were there pastors that tried to defend slavery from the Bible? Yes were there Christian leaders who tried to defend slavery from the Bible? Yes, were there people who claim to be followers of Christ who defended slavery from the Bible? Absolutely but simply put, they were just plain wrong. They got it wrong. As a matter of fact, in order to do that, they not only had to ignore the plain teaching of Jesus, we're gonna talk about in a moment, they actually had to ignore the very first chapter of the Bible, which makes it plain, we're all created equal in the image of God, whether you're male or female, whether you're black or white, whether you're from the east, east of the West, the north or the south, were all created equally in the image of God.

So here's the problem. There are many things that are portrayed in the Bible, and they're permitted in the Bible, but they're not condoned by the Bible. There's polygamy in the Scripture, but God never condones polygamy. There's divorce in the Scripture. God never condones divorce. And there is slavery in Scripture, but God never condone slavery. But this is where we need to stop. And we do need to contextualize slavery in ancient culture. One of my favorite authors is a colonist. His name is well, you may not know who he is, that's okay. He's an African American, every book he's ever written, I bought it. And he writes a lot of books about race and about discrimination and so forth. Dr. Sowell said that until the modern day period, the period we live in now, without exception, he said, Every major world culture had slavery. And when Paul wrote these words, for example, 2000 years ago, slavery was universal. In the ancient world.

As a matter of fact, it's been computed in the Roman Empire, there were 60 million slaves. If you've been walking down the city of Rome, 2000 years ago, nine out of 10 people that you met, would have been a slave, nine out of 10 would have been a slave. But the problem is this. It's not what we think it was. Because back in the day, slavery usually served an economic function. Here's why. 2000 years ago, 3000 years ago, 4000 years ago, we didn't have bankruptcy laws, you can file chapter 13. So if you borrowed money from someone, for whatever the reason you couldn't pay it back, when you had to pay it back. If you couldn't pay it back, you would voluntarily sell yourself into slavery so that you can discharge the debt, you might even sell your family into slavery. And for many people, it was a matter of survival. Because the way it would work is, I'm a sharecropper, I borrow money from you against my crop and my crop didn't come in. Now I owe you the money, I can't pay you back. I'm a farmer. I don't have any other job.

So I would go to you and say, Look, I know what I can't pay you back. So I'm willing to endear myself to you. And here's what he would say, Great. Bring your wife, bring your children, I'm gonna give them a cover, I'm gonna give them a house, I'm gonna give them a place to sleep, I'm gonna put clothes on their back, I'm gonna send them to school, I'm gonna educate them, you're gonna be treated just like everybody else. But you are for the time being my quote unquote slay until you pay off your debt. This is so important to understand slavery in Bible days. If you hear this one statement, a lot of things gonna come clear. When you read about slavery in the Bible. It never had anything to do with race. It had nothing to do with the color of person's skin. Jews were if you remember, the the closest thing to the Jews to slavery we're talking about is when the Egyptians enslaved the Jews, but they had the same skin color had nothing to do with race.

And by the way, I'm not trying to romanticize slavery. I'm not trying to justify slavery. And there are a lot of situations, slaves were abused, slaves were misused, but we must not project our cultural understanding on what we think about when we think about slavery to the past without any filter whatsoever. So to give you Example. Let's take Old Testament slavery. Go back to slavery in the Old Testament, there was some major differences. We've already pointed out that ancient slavery had no connection to race, it was not racially based. So Hagar, Hagar, remember, Hagar was an Egyptian slave to a Hebrew family. Joseph was a Hebrew slave to the Egyptian family, not to do with the race. Furthermore, it was common for people to sell themselves into slavery, not so much to pay off a debt. But sometimes you couldn't find a job. It was the only form of employment someone could find. And even then, it was possible for almost every slave to work off their debt so they could buy their way into freedom.

Well, let's move to the New Testament time, let's let's go to the room to talk about the Roman Empire. There was slavery in the Roman Empire. That was Paul's situation. But here's what's the amazing thing. There were so many similarities between slaved people and free people, for example, there was no difference in the color of their skin. There was no difference in the clothing that they wear. Nobody bought a mark on their body that they were a slave. Slaves made the same wages as a free labor and slaves could buy themselves out of slavery. As matter of fact, that's what they were doing. What blew my mind when I did my research was this. Very few slaves were ever slaves for life. As a matter of fact, on average, listen, own average within the Roman Empire. Most slaves were freed within 10 to 15 years. Something else slaves could own other slaves. How about that?

Yeah, slaves could actually own other slaves that were indebted to them. Slaves could start a business, slaves could own property. They enjoyed the same lots of public education that free people. As a matter of fact, slaves were doctors, slaves were administrators. Slaves were lawyers, slaves were professors. Slaves were judges. Slaves were civil servants. And again, I'm not justifying slavery. And neither is the Scripture. I'm not romantic. Romanticize it. What I need you to hear to understand is, when you hear about slavery in the Bible, it is not antebellum slavery is not the kind of slavery that basically almost ruined this nation, not in the old or the new. It was by large a socio economic culture that everybody just accepted. So understand the scripture doesn't celebrate slavery.

Statement number two, the scripture does regulate slavery. And this is so important. There were laws and regulations governing slavery. In the Old Testament, they were that were revolutionary. They were unheard of in the culture of that day, thousands of years ago, there were no laws regulating slaves, you basically if you were outside the Jewish culture, you could treat a slave any way you wanted to, but not in Israel. Your old testament, every seventh year was called the year off somebody know what it was? Jubilee you don't want to happen every seventh year, every slave was set free. Didn't matter whether you were debt was paid off or not, didn't matter whether you still owed money or not. Every slave went free, every slave, if a master killed his slave, he had to be killed. If a master knock the tooth out of the slaves mouth, beat him and hit him and knock the tooth out of his mouth. The slave had to be set free.

It didn't matter whether you are a foreigner or you are Jewish, if you were a slave, you got a day of rest, just like everybody else, you went to the temple just like everybody else, you are considered a part of that country just like everybody else. And more importantly, the kinds of slavery that we think of when we think forcing people into slavery, kidnapping, kidnapping them, taking them out of their country, taking them away from their family, to be a slave, the kind that we hate. The kind that I've told you that my great great grandfather's fought to defend. Did you know that slavery is condemned in both the Old and New Testament, for example, Exodus, listen to this verse. Whoever steals a man and sells him its all about slavery. Whoever steals a man and sells him and anyone found in possession of him shall be put to death. So I didn't read that. I had neither. I'd read it never really thought about it. So you're living in Israel 4000 years ago, and I kidnap you, and I borrow I buy you and I'll say you to someone else and I'll sell you into slavery. Not only was out of the put to death, but the person that bought us to be put into death.

And then we come to the Apostle Paul, because you understand by the way, you understand that the recognition in the Old Testament That slaves had legal rights, that slaves had intrinsic worth that slavery human being was absolutely revolutionary in that day, and in that age, and they say even more true in the New Testament, we'll get to that in a moment, we're gonna give you this third statement. Scripture gives principles to eliminate slavery, does it celebrate it, does regulate it, but eventually eliminates now stay with me. The root cause of slavery is sin. There's a sin of greed, where you want somebody else to make money for you, but you don't want to give them anything in return, and you want to make them do it. It is the set of power, you want to control somebody else. Discrimination is the symptom. Racism is the problem, feeling that one race is inferior. A one race is superior, just because one is lighter skinned or one is darker skin, skin, but at the end of the day, sin is the cause.

And that's why at the end of the day, the real solution to racism is not just legislation, is transformation. And there are principles in Scripture that were sown in the soil of society that eventually led to the abolition movement, and the elimination of slavery here and around the world. Let me give you an example. I've heard people say, Well, Jesus never addressed slavery was not true. He didn't directly he didn't have to, you know why? Jesus said, the second greatest commandment is this. Love your neighbor, as you love yourself. And then he said, Well, by the way, who's your neighbor? Everybody's your neighbor. So think about this, if you're my neighbor, and I'm to love you, as I love myself, how can I enslave you? Then he says something else which by the way, if he does anything else, this would have killed slavery forever, if we just took it seriously. Jesus said, Do unto others, as you'd have them do unto you.

Would you want anybody to enslave you for any reason say absolutely not. Jesus would say, then how in the world, can you a slave, anybody else. And by the way, Paul specifically denounced the kind of slavery that involved the kind that we think about kidnapping, stealing, by selling human beings, he outlet condemned that in a verse of scripture, I bet you've never noticed. Here's what he wrote. He was condemning all kinds of sin. He said, I condemn the sexually immoral for those practicing homosexuality. So homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjures. And for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine. Go back, just think about two doctrines. We teach all the time in our church creation, were all created in the image of God, think about salvation. There's neither slave nor free, if you just took creation and salvation, and that's all you had, that would absolutely be poisoned to any type of slavery.

So while we're in the neighborhood, it shouldn't surprise us. That of all the religious face in the world. The only one that historically fostered the idea that slavery was evil is Christianity. Christianity is the only religion in the world that successfully abolished slavery, not once, but twice. It did it in late antiquity, as we see in the Bible. And we also did it in the 1800s. And there's never been a greater effort to eliminate racism and discrimination in the world than the civil rights movement, which Oh, by the way, was led by a Christian preacher who got his idea out of a Christian Bible, and his name had to be Martin Luther King. So you keep in mind that slavery in Paul's day was was was a main socio economic work arrangement, then we could say, okay, Paul, I understand why you use this as an analogy. And now I understand why you want to apply this to our work cause remember, when you read this passage of Scripture, don't forget this.

Paul wasn't really commenting on slavery. That was not the point of what he was saying. What he was saying was, look, whether it's a master slave relationship, or a labor management relationship, or an employee employer relationship, he said, there are divine principles that can be applied to show you how you ought to do your work. So let's do the message is gonna go super quick, okay? Paul, first of all, talks to employees. Then Paul talks to employers. And then Paul talks to both. First Paul talks to labor. Then Paul talks to management, then Paul talks to both. So first of all, let's take employees why because most people in the workforce in fact, practically everybody has some way or other, we are employees. So you're an employee, you work for someone, you've got a boss over you. Here's what Paul said for you. And for me, we are to respond in a Godly way. This is the way we're to do our work, were to respond in a Godly way.

Now, let me just make sure you understand, I am not comparing a working person to a slave, that you may be seen in the job year and more. That's how I feel. That is not what I'm saying. That is not what I'm comparing it to at all. But what I'm saying is, there are principles that can be taken from the economic relationship between a slave and a master that apply to the employer and the employee. Let me tell you why. This one reason why I love the Bible. The reason why the Bible will always be relevant, and always practical, and always applicable is very simple. You're ready. Solomon, King Solomon said, there's nothing new under the sun. Let me give you a clue. Let me help you something. Take any problem that we have in the world today. They had the same problem 5000 years ago, and they're gonna have the same problems. 5000 years from now, if the Lord tears is exactly the same problem.

I'll give you one example. Anybody here? Don't raise your hand. Anybody here have to deal with rebellious kids? Anybody don't raise your hand, but you're going Yeah, I do. God had two of them. They're called Adam and Eve. Goes all the way back to Scripture. So you take a problem, you think you have you go? Nobody knows the trouble. Yeah, God does. And so does everybody in the scripture cause nothing ever changes. So guess what? Today you got mean bosses. And you got lazy employees. They had the same problem thousands of years ago. So we've got labor unions, because labor usually want to make sure that employees are treated fairly. And then management has lockouts when they don't feel like they're getting what they ought to get, then they lock people out. It is the same, same problem.

So Paul says, Let me help solve this problem. So you're an employee. Here's what he says to you and me. Slaves obey your earthly masters with respect and fear. And with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ, obey them, not only when their favor when their eyes own you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart, serve wholeheartedly as if you were serving the Lord not people. Now remember, Paul is talking specifically to Christians specifically. So let me tell you why you say, Well, why is he doing this? Why is even breaking up? Well, think about it. See, if this doesn't make sense. I've been a follower of Christ for over a half a decade, half a century. And this is not the reason I'm a Christian, but it's a reason I'm glad I'm a Christian. Christianity works. It works. It works in your marriage. It works in parenting kids, it works in how you treat your neighbor. It works financially. It works everywhere.

Christianity works, because think about it. If Christianity works at all, it ought to work at work. I mean, if it doesn't work at work, where else is it gonna work? But it does work, and it should work. You know why? Because here's why. Here's the way God wants us to see our work. God is working in me, and I'm working for him. God's working in me, I'm working for him. Try go in your job tomorrow with that kind of an attitude. God today, you're working in me, and I'm working for you. So put safely what Paul was saying was your work. And how you do it is an act of worship to God, because you're really working for him. Because wherever Christians go, whatever Christians do, they're always going and they're always doing it under the authority of and for the glory of God. So Paul says that when he says this, he says, slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. That phrase with sincerity means liberally, it means generously.

Here's what Paul was saying. It doesn't matter whether you like your job or not. It doesn't matter whether you're happy in your job or not. It doesn't matter what you like your boss or not. It doesn't matter whether you like your company or not. It doesn't matter what you think you're underpaid or not. Here's what Paul was saying. God expects you to give your employer the very same thing you give him. Give him your best effort all the time. So let me just put it to you very Simply, if you're a follower of Jesus Christ, you may not be the best paid employee at your company. But you ought to be the best employee at your company. Did you hear me? But I no no no. But I don't know. Yep no. Yap don't try. If you're a follower of Christ, and you're getting a paycheck, may not be as big a paycheck as you think. The boss doesn't appreciate what you do. Your company doesn't care whether you live or die. That is totally irrelevant. You God expects to be the best employee where you work.

But Paul says okay, but I'm not finished. So now he goes from the sales floor, on the first floor, to the CEOs office on the top floor. He says, okay, you're, you're the boss. You're the employer, your management. So you want them to respect you in a Godly way? Well, I want you to relate to them in a gracious way. I want you to relate in a gracious way. So listen to what he says. And masters, let me just stop right there. Let's go back 2000 years, you're a master. You own a slave or two slaves or three slaves or ten slaves or 20 slaves. Doesn't matter. You're a master. And maybe you've come to Christ. And somebody is giving you a copy of this scroll this letter from Paul. And you're reading down and you read this about about about slaves obey their masters, and you're sitting there going, Amen.

That's right, Paul, you tell them I will translate into the best slave that slave can be to me. I don't need to work hard when I do his job. And then you read two words, and you swallow real hard, cause you're not used to anybody talking to masters and masters. Treat your slaves in the same way. Don't threaten them, since you know that he was both their master and yours is in heaven, and there's no favoritism with him. That first sentence would have been mind boggling to a master. Because 2000 years ago, 3000 years ago, 4000 years ago, 5000 years ago, no master ever gave any thought on how he's supposed to sleaze treat slave. He didn't care about that. What he wanted was how his slave was going to serve him. But Paul now says you know what, you're a master. I want you to give your slave the same respect.

The same courtesy, the same dignity, the same decency, they use break for them, I want you to treat them exactly the way you would want to be treated. And then he drops this bombshell. Because Oh, by the way, you have a master to his name is God. And he's over you just like your room, say to him to Paul, here's what he was saying to the master. It was revolutionary. You're not above your slave. You're not better than your slave. God doesn't see you differently from your slave, your equal, there is no favoritism with him. Why isn't no favoritism with God, somebody what goes all the way back to the first chapter of Genesis, because we're all created equal. If you're a woman, you're just as valuable to God as a man. If you're black, you're just as valuable to God as someone who is white. If you're an Asian, you're just as valuable to God as someone who's an American. If you are a Democrat, you're just as valuable as someone who is a Republican.

That's why this is all radical. And that's why this is all life changing. And that's why 2000 years ago when people reading this and they came to this, their mouth was wide open. I can't believe what Paul is saying. I can't believe how Paul is dealing with this all are created equal. You mean Paul, the Masters accountable to God just like I am, you better believe it as a matter of fact, in some ways, more so. This was this was revolutionary. It was unheard on. No master ever gave a thought has to treat your slave no master thought about having to answer to another master. So just need to stop thinking about this. You tell me what if everybody in them just for one day, what if this happened in America? What if every employee tomorrow went to work and said you know what? I work for God. God is my real boss. And I'm gonna do my work just like I'm working for him because I am working for him.

So Mr. Main boss, you just give it to me. I'm gonna give you the best shot I've got and what if that boss what if every employer what if everyone in management, what if every boss went to work tomorrow and said you know what? Yeah, no, no, no, you don't want a sheet of paper, maybe I'm over you, but I'm not over you. He's over all of us. I'm gonna treat you the way I want you to treat me. I'm gonna treat you with dignity, I'm gonna treat you with courtesy, I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt. I'm gonna be the kind of boss that you wanna work for. You think the workplace might be different. You think a lot of these people that hate their job one day might Olson say, you know what? It's not really a bad place, it's not really a bad job. After all, what a difference this would make in the workplace.

If we would just respond to iron balls in a Godly way. He would relate to us in a gracious way. And then Paul has a closing word for both the master and the slave, both the employee and the employee. He says, Hey, let me show you what God will do for the employee. That will work as if he's working for God. And let me show you what God will do for the boss that will supervisors if God's looking over his shoulder, watch this. He says he will reward in a generous way. Now watch this. He says because maybe he's talking to masters. Because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do. Whether they are slave or free. Here's the point to remember. So maybe you do serve a me old, cantankerous, ugly, terrible, horrible Maleficent boss. I just read Millicent my grandkids. You saw that movie last night? I looked it up. Yep, that's my boss. God says if you just be the employee that I want you to be, I will reward you. And then maybe you're one of those guys.

And you say, Man, Pastor, you just don't know the lazy workers I got to put up with. Man, they come to work late. I'm a pastor get land dude. Being here, 11 o'clock on Sunday morning, I get it. And they're the first ones out the door. Get long dude, I see it every week. And they don't really do much of anything. They don't serve, they just kind of, they're just trying to join their breath and drawing their salary. I'm not saying you should put them I'm not saying to put up with that. I'm not saying you don't need to, be the kind of boss you ought to be. And you need to expect things. That's not my point. But there's a right way to do it the wrong way to do it. And Paul says, Look, if you just be gracious, and loving, show them dignity. Show them decency, show them respect. You know what, maybe they'll change. Maybe they'll start working. Maybe they'll be what you want them to be. So whether you supervise you serve, whether you're the employer or the employee, here's the point Paul was making. We all work under the authority of Jesus, we all serve in our job for Jesus, we all supervise our workers, for Jesus.

Now, let me tell you how this is real, real, real applicable to you. Because I want to blow up a notion right now. And I want to get it out of your mind forever. You walk in here, you have this idea, for some reason, somehow some way that the sacred is what we do on Sunday. And the secular is what we do on Monday. In God's plan, there is no difference between sacred and secular. So let me just make this as plain as I know how to make. What you're gonna be doing in the morning when you go to work is just as holy as what I'm doing right now. It is no more holy for me to stand up here and preach God's word to you than if you to get in your car. Get on the Indy 500 on Interstate 85. Fight those ugly drivers and hear the horn blowers. Be Taken hour and a half to go to work. And give it everything you've got for a day and come home exhausted. That's just as holy to God. It's what I do.

So it doesn't matter whether you're a preacher or a professor, whether you're a minister or a mechanic, whether you're a priest or you're a plumber, your work is just as important to God as mine is. Your calling is just as holy as mine is. And God's evaluating you just the way he's evaluating me. So it doesn't matter to me. Whether you're repairing a computer, making a sales call, or teaching a first grader, it's irrelevant. Monday is just as holy a day as Sunday and what you do is just as important to God as what I do. And at the end of your life, it won't matter what your boss thought about you. And it won't matter what your employee thought about you. What will matter is what God thought about you. Did you do your best? Did you do your best? Did you give it everything? Did you say you know what?

You mean oh boss, you're really not my boss. He's my boss. And you lazy no good employee. Maybe if I'll teach you you're really working for him. It just might make a big difference. But whether it does or whether it doesn't, I'll tell you what you're gonna see in me. You're not gonna see in me a mean, wicked maleficent boss, you're gonna see someone that understands. I have a boss too. And I want to please him more than I want to please this company. So let me just close with this, we'll be done. There's a classic painting called the Angels by Jean Francois Millay, French painter. I want to show it to you simple on the screen here. I want to say today, we may have seen this picture before. But I bet you've ever paid attention to it. As you see it's a painting of two peasants. They're farmers. And they're praying in their field.

Now, if you look closely at the picture, they're up in the up in the right hand right here. If you look right here, that's a church. And then behind that church, you see the light, that's the light of the Lord, that that's God's light, and is falling from heaven. Now, if you look very closely, this is what's so wonderful. The light is not falling on the church. The light is falling on the pitchfork, and the light is falling on the wheelbarrow. And the reason why painted that way was simply to say this. God is watching always how we work. God is watching always what we do. Yes, God is watching Mr. Employee, Miss employer, how you serve your company. And yes, God is watching Mr. Manager, Mr. CEO, how you supervise your employees. And you need to remember, ultimately we serve Him. Ultimately, he supervise us.

And it goes all the way back to Sunday and Monday, because what I'm doing on Sunday, God is watching James, did you give it your best? James did you feed your people the best food you could give them today? Yes, Lord I did. And in the morning, doesn't matter what you're doing, teaching a first grader, repairing a computer, fixing a toilet, it doesn't matter. Are you giving them your best? Are you doing it for my glory? Are you bringing a smile to my face? Jesus had a work to do. It was to provide for us forgiveness of sins and eternal life. And he finished his work. And he gave it his all. And in that spirit, whether we are management or labor, whether employer, or employees are 2000 years ago, whether you're a slave or whether you're a master, your work ethic should be exactly the same. Because at the end of the day, we're not doing it for a paycheck. We're not doing it for a trophy. We're not doing it for the watch. We're not doing it for a letter of commendation. So that one day we'll stand before our heavenly master and have him say to us, well done. Good faithful servant.
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