Summary of Figuring out life: at work
Brent starts by asking the audience how we are all doing. The response was pathetic and Brent jokes with the audience about our pathetic response. He transitions into a story about a garden and his dislike for beets. He then discusses weeds and how they grow with no help from the gardener; yet, the gardener must work hard to get rid of them.
Brent has us turn to Ephesians. Brent suggests that many of us substitute “employee” for “slave” and “employer” for “master.” Yet a nagging question is: “why doesn’t Paul say slavery is bad?!?” In this passage, Paul isn’t making a moral comment on slavery, but instead he is telling us how we should act when we are stuck in a slavery/master situation.
Slavery in the Roman times
Slavery in Roman culture was very different than American slavery. 600 million people in the Roman Empire were slaves. One-sixth of the Roman population was slaves. In Roman times, slavery was so integral to the culture that it wasn’t seen as a problem. In those days people became slaves for lots of reasons: as captives from a war; for payment of a debt; and even voluntarily. We must understand that a “job” didn’t really exist in the Roman Empire. Each day a person would attempt to find work. Each day! Whereas slaves had a job each day and their masters took care of them.
What is Paul telling us about working?
Paul is calling us to do our job well and to be the best we can be at it! We should wholeheartedly do our job to the best of our ability. He says we should be giving our best effort. After all, we should do it for God. We should be a shining example of a great worker. (Ecc 9:10).
Brent works at Husky Gas Station
Brent tells a story about working at a local gas station and how he met another employee who taught Brent various “slacking off” tactics. Brent realized he wasn’t learning how to be a great employee from that other employee. Brent recalls how cleaning the washroom was the worst thing ever. Yet Brent explains that God called him to work hard — even cleaning that disgusting bathroom.
Employers must also work hard
Paul instructed “masters” in a counter culture way. He said not to beat their slaves and instead to show their slaves respect. He said masters need to understand everyone is equal under God. God is the real (and only) master. Under God, we are all slaves.
The reason for Why? (Simon Sinek)
Brent uses this TED talk as an illustration.
Understanding why we need to work hard
1) We were created to work
In Genesis, God provided the garden to the man and woman and said they should “work it”. It wasn’t until after The Fall that work became hard. We were not created for leisure. (2 Thess 3:10). We were created to have rest, but not leisure.
Various lies we tell ourselves:
- I will work hard when I get my dream job (or a better job)
- I deserve leisure time
- This job is not my passion and I will not give it my all
- I deserve to be paid for what I am passionate about
- I am not giving my full effort because I am not passionate about it
We must understand and accept that work is work. God even commanded the Israelite people to rest from work. “Work was the work they earn money from and the work they had to do just for life (eg: cook, clean…etc)
2) When we work for God it turns into an act of worship
When we work passionately (even in the worst situation) it is an act of worshiping God. When we understand why we do what we do, we become motivated. God is way more interested in our attitude than our accomplishments.
- Be the positive voice in your work environment
- Be passionate about working, even when others are not
- “Only one life will soon be past, only one task for Christ will last.”
- We work because we want to please our God
Don’t work for yourself. Work for Jesus. Don’t miss out on a reward that God will provide you , because you were working for yourself.
About this Message Series
This is a message in a series called Ephesians. The goal of this series is to discuss the topics and themes that arise from the New Testament book Ephesians. The book of Ephesians is a letter that Paul wrote while in prison. Sometimes it is called a Prison Epistle. It was written to encourage believers. He was encouraging other faithful followers of Jesus to serve in unity and love in the midst of persecution. This series was started in January 2016.