Ecc 2:4 I undertook great projects...8 I amassed silver and gold for myself...9 I became greater by far than anyone...10 My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. 11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was vanity, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. 17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is vanity 22 What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? 23 All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is vanity. 24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the person who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness NIV cf 3:12-14; 5:17-19 appropriate; 6:2 [Under vs Over the sun is the key to Ecc] 12:13-14
Col 3:22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality. NKJV and ff
I. Discern God's Purposes
Life is designed to be imperfect, so we will be dependent upon God and deepen our rlshp with Him
Idolatry- looking to someone/thing other than God to meet our needs for Power (security/significance), Pleasure, Possessions.
Work is worship (=Response to Revelation) and witness if done with the right motives and attitudes. Col 3:22
Ordained by God for our benefit (...as are all God's commands Exodus 20:9). Worship work
Rewarding and rewarded (2x) if done Bibically. Col 3:23 Ecc 2:24 Work at play
Konsists of serving another's needs (helping my employer/clients reach their objectives). Play at worship
God intends to bless/change: discipline/refinement; skills/perspective; motive/dependence; situation (move to place of better blessing) Exodus
Gen 50:20 you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
Hab 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Acts 20:24 finish course with joy 2Tim 4:7
Ps 27:13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.
1Pt 3:18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. 19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps 3:9
II. Draw on His Grace to deal with difficult/unjust situations, pointed-haired bosses, and wallyesque co-workers
Ps 11:4 The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD's throne is in heaven; His eyes behold...5 The LORD tests/refines the righteous
Sanctification 1Pt 1:6 grieved by various trials 7 that the refining of your faith may be found to praise, honor, and glory at revelation
Christlikeness Lk 23:34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." they divided His garments
Fruit of the HS Gal 5 love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self-control. trust God's promises/wisdom
Dependence 2Cor 12:.8 I pleaded with the Lord 3 times that it might depart 9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Heb 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
2Cor 9:8 God is able to make all grace abound to you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things...abundance for every good work
Content Phil 4:11 I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 1Tim 6:6-8 Now godliness with contentment is great gain
III. Determine & Do God's Will for your Work: Faithful to His purposes, your design, experiences, and the opportunity
Rm 14:23...whatever is not of faith (response to revelation) is sin. 1Cor 10:31 whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Col 3:17 whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Faithful 1Cor 4:2 it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. Mt 25:21 Well done good and faithful servant...joy of Lord
Evaluate: 1) the work: utilization of your capacities (Discovering Your Design; Great Niche Hunt; Do What You Are) see TOYL Tools
2) the investment: time, energy and skill required; 3) the present people & environment esp Project Planner
4) the future: potential for growth (inward and outward); 5) the return: money and benefits
Word (Commands, Principles, Examples);
Input from others (peers, leaders/authorities, experts, Christian/non-Christian);
LOGIC: Life Plan to glorify God and serve others; Obey the Great Commission; Grow in Grace (enablement and rewards)
Increase Usefulness to the Master; Christlikeness/Faithfulness
Leading of the HS (not feelings/peace/circumstances but supported conviction over time)
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
- Why do we tend to look to our work rather than God to meet our needs? How can we prevent work from being an idol?
- What's the result of jumping out of the frying pan? Why is it difficult to look and listen for God's lessons in the midst of our discomfort?
- What would it take for you to be content and joyful cleaning up the vomitorium? Is looking for a challenge wrong? Perseverance anyone?
- How does God expect you to be faithful with all the experiences and opportunities He's placed in your life? How is grace sufficient?
- Did you ask/praise God for your current job? Why do you think His plans for you have changed? Are you certain of His will? Timing?