Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Working and Resting
Pastor Steve Schell
Proverbs 24:30-34
The first Monday of September is a legal holiday in the U.S. We call it “Labor Day.” On this weekend we honor the working men and women who have built our nation. On this weekend especially we recognize the dignity, and for that matter the necessity, of hard work in all its forms. It’s a moment when our nation stops to readjust its attitude, to thank those who’ve built our nation by the “sweat of their brow,” and to commit ourselves with fresh energy to the tasks ahead. And though this is not a religious holiday, the values to which it points are deeply biblical, so let’s take the opportunity this day affords to let God’s Word encourage us in our labors and transform them into expressions of heartfelt worship.

A. An analogy
The miracle of Jesus changing water into wine at the wedding in Cana is a picture of how He can transform a job filled with drudgery and discouragement into something with dignity and purpose (Jn 2:1-11).

To do this He must change the way we think about work, and change the reasons why we work and rest.

B. The way we think about work
It all comes down to the question, is work a good thing or a bad thing? Is it a blessing or a curse?

1. Negative attitudes
• It’s a curse God put on us because Adam sinned (Ge 3:17, 18)
• It’s futile. Our work won’t immortalize us. It will be wasted after we die (Eccl 2:17-23).

2. Positive truths that transform the way I think about work:
• I submit to the fact that I need to work in my present condition
- 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15
- “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”
- “Keep ‘em tired”
• I recognize every task is an opportunity to call upon the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- Proverbs 3:5 “…in all your ways acknowledge Him…”
- 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 - The gifts of the Spirit work in
every situation, not just church (Joseph, Daniel)
• I recognize the dignity of all work done well
- Exodus 31:1-6; 35:30-36:2 (Bezalel and Oholiab)
- “If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well”
- There’s beauty and glory in things done well

C. The reasons why we work
Every type of work can be transformed by changing the why we do it. We can either do a job to make money or to serve people (and thus God). Jesus said it’s impossible to do both at the same time (Lk 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters… you cannot serve God and wealth”).

1. The decision to work for God, not people.
• Colossians 3:17, 23, 24
• Ephesians 6:5-8
• Look past your human boss to Jesus standing there

2. The decision to witness to the character of God by the way we work.
• Believers often try to preach before having first earned the respect of their co-workers by the quality of their work and attitude.
• 1 Peter 2:12; 3:16

D. The reasons why we rest
God designed us to have a rhythm of work and rest in our lives. Both are important. Though we are to labor five or six days a week, we are also to rest each week.

1. The decision to regularly rest and commune with God, so I will be blessed in all I do.
• Isaiah 58:13, 14
• Psalm 127:2
• Rest is an essential element in successful labor

2. The decision to enter God’s rest in Christ (the righteousness of faith)
• Hebrews 4:1-10
• The main lesson the Sabbath Day was intended to teach was that we are to rest from trying to earn God’s favor and instead receive it by faith believing that Jesus has done the work for us (Col 2:16).

E. Questions
1. Tomorrow morning millions of people will get up and go to work. What is the main reason people do this?
2. Do you enjoy working at your job? Why? If you don’t enjoy your job what would need to change for you to enjoy it?
3. Which of the biblical attitudes listed above will help you the most?

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