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Week 1: Monday
- Mark 10:42–45
- John 14:12–17
- Colossians 3:23–24
- Ephesians 2:10
Questions to Consider
- What are the non-monetary benefits of work?
- What are the challenges you have with work?
- What do you think God has to say about those challenges?
- What does it mean to work for the Lord and not man?
- What is the role of “the Helper” (see John 14:16) in your work?
Plan of Action
- Bless someone in an unexpected way today. You might: Write a thank you note. Treat someone to lunch or coffee. Volunteer for a menial task which others are reluctant to raise their hand.
- Write down things you are passionate about doing. It could be anything. Then consider how you might use these passions to serve God and others.
Happy Monday. It is the beginning of a new work week and today we are giving up retirement. It may not be what you think. You may retire from your career, but if you are still breathing, you are here for a purpose. God is not finished with you yet. There is work for you to do.
WORK is often viewed as a four letter word. It is seen as a bad thing. But when God created man, he created him to work and tend the Garden of Eden. Work was good. Work gave Adam a purpose and a mission.
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Genesis 2:15 (ESV)
But what happened? When Adam and Eve fell into sin, there was a curse put over work. Work would now be hard and difficult.
And to Adam he said … "cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17–19 (ESV)
Work from that point forward would be associated with toil and sweat. But apart from the curse work is a good thing. Through the cross of Jesus Christ, work is redeemed.
On earth, I see 4 different types of work:
- Work you detest. This is work you will do anything to get out of.
- Work you tolerate. This is not work you enjoy. It is a big drain, but you do it.
- Work you enjoy. This is work you are happy to do, but at the end of the day you have your fill.
- Work you are passionate for. This is work you live for. It doesn’t wear you out, but fills you up.
The work you do for a paycheck falls somewhere in those four categories. Some people are blessed to have a career that falls in line with their passion. Other people may have a career where they live for the weekend. But our “career” work is not necessarily the work to define us.
I want you to separate the work you do from the paycheck you receive. There is the work of being a parent. There is the work of being a spouse. There is the work of being a leader in your church. There is the work of being a volunteer in your community. These are different vocations. We don’t always get a paycheck for this work, but it is often the most fulfilling work we do.
Many people who lose their jobs fall into depression. I believe that much of that can be attributed to a loss of purpose. Remember God created us to work and to serve. We were wired that way. When we lose that part of our life, there is something missing. So make sure to remember that your work is defined by more than your career.
There are different seasons of life. And there are different callings for different times. The work we do changes over time. But we don’t really retire from the work God gives us, we just transition in our calling.
Wherever you are in life, strive to find that work you are passionate about. It may be coaching your daughter’s basketball team. It may be mentoring incarcerated youth. It may be playing an instrument on your church’s praise team. Look to find it. The benefit of this work is not necessarily a paycheck, but in the fulfillment we find with living in line with God’s purposes.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23–24 (ESV)
The greatest work of all is the saving work of Jesus. It certainly was not pleasant work by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, the Bible says he did this agonizing work out of joy.
“… who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame … ” Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)
The passion Jesus had for this most difficult work was his love for you. The joy was the vision set before him of having you in eternity forever with him. That made it all worth it. So when you find work difficult, keep your eyes on the prize. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
So how about you? What’s God having you doing these days? It’s time to get to work!
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Numbers 1, 2 and 3 are interfering with my #5. It can be hard to pursue your passion when you are afraid of failure, afraid to leave your comfort zone, and feel unworthy for various reasons. How do I know God is leading me to it?
This is cool. ,from rachelle’s 2nd born daughter
I tolerate my work as an elementary teacher right now. This is very sad to me as I became an educator 16 years ago to make a difference in lives. I love helping people learn new things. Public school has turned into a testing, money making machine I don’t even recognize. I see so many young children stressed to the point of illness. I have a passion for teaching, however, it has been lost due to low moral and a highly toxic work environment. Pray for teachers and students…..
Tabitha, I am a high school teacher in the same state of tolerance. I left a career 10 years ago to follow my passion to teach, but now I find myself struggling each day. One statement in today’s devotion stands out to me: we don’t retire from the work God gives us, we just transition in our calling. I’m wondering if I’m traveling through the wilderness, my new calling somewhere ahead of me. I’m sad that teaching has changed for me, but maybe God has something greater in store. I will remember you in prayer. I know exactly the pain you’re going through. We will find our way.
Tabitha and Kima,
I am a 7th grade English Teacher. This is my 29th year. I feel the same as you two. It is a struggle everyday to go to work. Teaching use to be my passion. I now tolerate it. Education is now about money after reviewing the fixed data. I pray everyday and ask God what is it that he wants me to do? I feel as if I am traveling through the wilderness until God transition me into what he wants me to do. I will have to wait patiently on the Lord. I do know that when I wait on the Lord, I will win all in time. Pray for me as I pray for you two.
Daisy Groves says
Pastor Phil, thank you for your obedience in writing the “40 Things to give up for Lent” God speaks loud and clear through your writings. All glory to Him!