Our Mondays have more meaning than we may give them credit. Whether you’re in the marketplace, in school, or in the home, God has a purpose for you. In this series, we discover what it looks like to go from simply working a job to fulfilling God’s unique mission for each of us.
Scroll down for the sermon notes.
As most of you know, Melinda and I own our own film business. We’ve learned a whole lot throughout the years. Learning from other people, learning from each other, and of course, learning from our mistakes. One thing that I’ve learned about starting your own business is this: If you’re not 125% passionate about what you’re doing, you will most likely be miserable.
When Melinda and I first met, I was already filming some weddings here and there with some of my friends. While we were dating, I asked her if she wanted to help me film a wedding. She said yes and she ended up loving it! So she helped me film some more weddings, but I made the dumb mistake of not paying her anything. As I said…I’ve learned a lot through my mistakes. She asked me to pay her and I said, “Hey, I take you out to eat!” Again…I’ve learned from my mistakes. She said, “You better pay me because if we don’t work out, I don’t want to move on knowing I worked for free.” So I ended up paying her. But today, we are married, planted this church together, and are co-owners of our film business.
Throughout these years, we’ve learned that we work really well as a team! And I think the reason we work well as a team is because what I hate doing, she loves doing. And what she hates doing, I love doing! For example, when we film weddings, I love getting close to the action. I’ll follow the bride and groom around with my camera. Melinda hates doing that. She likes to stand all the way in the back and film people from far away. That’s just one of the many examples. So we’re able to work well together because we are passionate about what we’re doing. And that’s really important for a job. It’s important for us to be passionate about it but that may not always be the case.
This is so important for us to talk about because if we view work and school as just a means to pay our bills, then most of our life’s purpose is about surviving. I don’t believe that’s what God wants for us. Your job has more purpose than to just make money. Last week, the big idea of the message was this:
You have a calling. Answer it.
If we view work in light of our calling, and view it as an opportunity to make a difference and to bring people closer to God, everything changes. Even if it’s a job where we’re not directly making a difference in someone’s life, you have a calling. But it’s easier said than done because for us to get to the point where we actually open our mouths and tell someone about Jesus, or invite someone to church, or try to persuade someone about Jesus, we need to be persuaded ourselves right?
So from last week, we already know we have a calling, but today I want to give you a boost.
Imagine you’re with me on an airplane, about ready to make the jump. You have everything ready. You already paid for the plane ticket. You’ve been trained. You’ve planned it all out. You have your parachute, and the door opens for you to jump, but you’re not jumping. You’re telling yourself all the reasons why you shouldn’t jump and why you shouldn’t use the parachute. Well today, I’m the person who will push you out of the airplane and give you a good reason to use your parachute. I’ve entitled this sermon “How to Love Your Job”. So I invite you to open to 2 Corinthians 5. We’re going to read verses 11 through 21.
Throughout this passage, we’re going to see two cause and effects. Something happened, therefore something else happens. Kinda like a domino effect.
2 Corinthians 5:11 | Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.
So here’s the first cause and effect.
Knowing God changes us.
It’s very simple but let’s think about this. In business, for you to persuade others about a product, it’s much easier if you KNOW the product. I can’t stand it when I go to Best Buy, and I ask a salesperson about the difference between two products, and then they start reading the little white paper on the shelves. Come on man! I can read! I want to talk to someone who actually knows this stuff!
Paul is saying the same thing. He’s saying that it’s one thing to believe in the existence of God but it’s another thing to truly KNOW God. In verse 11, he’s talking specifically about knowing the FEAR of God. We know about the love of God right? That’s usually what people focus on, but if we truly know God, we know that while God is a God of love, He is also a God of wrath. I love how author Patrick Morley explains this. He talks about Cultural Christianity and says:
“Cultural Christianity means to seek the God we want instead of the God who is. It is the tendency to be shallow in our understanding of God, wanting Him to be more of a gentle grandfather type who spoils us and lets us have our own way. It is sensing a need for God, but on our own terms. It is wanting the God we have underlined in our Bibles without wanting the rest of Him, too. It is God relative instead of God absolute.” – Patrick Morley
That’s so accurate! In our culture, we are bringing up Christians who know the God of love but who refuse to know the God of wrath. Someday, Jesus will return, not as a humble servant, but as a powerful King on a white horse. We will approach the Judgment Seat of Christ where all things will be revealed. Our works, our motives, our intentions. Our true colors will be revealed. Paul is saying that when we learn to fear God that way, when we truly know and understand our desperate need for Him, it will cause us to want to persuade others to follow God. Knowing God changes us!
2 Corinthians 5:12-13 | 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.
Paul is saying that what others say doesn’t matter! What matters is what God thinks about you. Remember, people thought Jesus was crazy. They called Jesus a glutton and a drunkard. People thought Paul was crazy! Paul is just saying, “Yeah, people might think you’re crazy and out of your mind, but that’s ok. I just hope you worry more about what God says about you.”
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 | 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
Jesus didn’t die for us so we can live for ourselves. He died FOR us so that we can live FOR Him.
Are we truly grasping that as Christians? Because if not, we’re missing out on the entire point of being a Christian. Our purpose is not to die with a bunch of stuff. Our purpose is to glorify God. When we truly grasp that, it changes everything! Let’s be real. Someone can get a job and think they’re wasting time. They’re wasting opportunities. Their life is meaningless. Forbes Magazine did a survey where they discovered that this kind of thinking is most popular amongst Millenials. Millenials tend to feel like they need to quit their job to join a non-profit, or be a social activist, all because they need to make a difference in the world. But you don’t need to work at Chick-fil-a to feel like you’re making a difference in the world! If you know God, that’s not how you view your job anymore. If you know God, you view your job through His eyes. Knowing God changes us.
The cause is: knowing God for who He truly is.
The effect is: it changes us. It changes our perspective. It causes us to want to persuade others. That’s the first cause and effect. Let’s check out our second one for today.
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 | 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Here’s the second cause and effect.
When we change, we see others differently.
You know when someone starts talking to you about a certain car, and you start becoming interested in that car, and then you keep seeing that car everywhere? The reality is, nothing around you changed! You’re seeing those cars more because you’re more aware of them. Your perspective changes. Those cars are now in your radar!
It’s the same way in our life. We need to see people how God sees people. Sometimes we look at people and think, “This person is never going to be a Christian. This person will never change. They will never come to church.” Two things. First of all, if they’ve spoken to you, and you’re a Christian, then they already went to church because we are the church. But second of all, let’s remember, Paul wasn’t just some guy who refused to go to church. He was trying to destroy the church. He literally held people’s coats as they stoned Christians to death. He watched this take place and did nothing! But Jesus ended up saving Him, making Him an Apostle, and using him to plant many churches and write most of the New Testament.
Paul describes this as becoming a NEW creation. Can we focus on that real quick? Paul says that when Jesus saves someone, they become a NEW creation. I looked at the Greek word for this, and guess what it means in Greek? NEW! They are not refurbished. They are not fixed. They are not recycled. They are new! The old is gone! It’s no longer there. It no longer exists! Church, I have seen God change people so drastically that if I described to you the person they used to be, you would think it’s a completely different person! When we change, we look at others differently. Ok, now we get to one of my favorite passages.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 | 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
This absolutely blows my mind! Paul is saying that God chose to depend on US to save people! That amazing! He uses fragile and sinful people like me and you to change fragile and sinful people. Paul is saying that we are ambassadors for Christ! In Paul’s time, an ambassador referred to an emperor’s messenger. This person acted in the place of the emperor. An ambassador could not speak his own opinion or his own way.
In a sense, he brought the presence of the emperor to the people by sharing the emperor’s message. – Knofel Staton
When we view our identity as ambassadors for Christ, we start to see others differently. We no longer go to work thinking that we’re wasting time. We see it as God’s opportunity to save people at our job. Especially if we’re the only Christian there! When we know what God is capable of doing in someone’s life because we’ve experienced it for ourselves, we see them differently. I love how Knofel Staton describes is. He says:
We are no longer to view people in the way the world views people. We need to view people with value. We need to view people with potential. We need to view people with possibility. We need to view people as those for whom Christ died because Jesus still loves them. – Knofel Staton
That’s absolutely beautiful! How can we love our job? When we view the people differently.
2 Corinthians 5:21 | For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
We make lots of excuses to not live as messengers of God don’t we? “Oh I’m not good enough.” “I don’t have a Bible degree.” “OH I still have some things I need to work out in my life first.” Bologna! God said you’re good enough so you are! It’s kind of like a bank account. When Jesus died on the cross for you, your sins were deposited into His account. God treated Him as if He actually committed your sins. But also, God put the perfection of Jesus into your account. So God sees you as forgiven and justified. So if you’re a Christian today, remember this: When God looks at you, He sees a messenger, last week we saw that He sees you as a minister. He has chosen you as the means to save the people around you. When we realize that and we live it out, we end up loving our job because we know God has placed us there for a reason.
Here’s what I want you to walk out with today:
We express God’s lovebecause we’ve experienced God’s love.
Last week we learned that we have a calling. Today we learned that the only people who answer this calling are those who truly know God and what He’s done for them. We express God’s love because we’ve experienced God’s love.
So the question is, how are we supposed to express God’s love in our day-to-day life? How can we practically do this? I’ll give you one word: BELLS. Two years ago, we actually did an entire series on the book by Michael Frost called “Surprise the World”. I think it’s one of the best and most simple ways to be an ambassador for Christ. So I’m going to quickly go through each letter and you can write these down. It’s an easy acronym to remember.
Here’s the challenge: Bless three people every week. At least one of them should not be someone in our church. Be a blessing to someone. Encourage someone. Buy someone a small gift. Use words of affirmation. Help someone finish a project. Take something off someone’s plate. Remember someone’s birthday and send them a card. Help your neighbor shovel their driveway. It doesn’t have to be huge things. But when you start looking for ways to bless people, you will find them. We express God’s love because we’ve experienced God’s love.
The challenge here is to eat with three people every week. At least one of them should not be part of our church. Everyone has to eat! Here’s an idea, grab some of our Pure Word Church cups if you don’t have any, invite someone to dinner, and serve them by using the cup. It might spark a conversation about Jesus or church and it might not! But the important thing is you’re eating with them! Have coffee with someone! Bring someone a meal when they’re going through a hard time and eat that meal with them. Maybe someone at your job is on maternity or paternity leave. Offer to bring some food and eat it with them. There is something about eating with someone that brings about conversations that might give you an opportunity to tell them about Jesus. We express God’s love because we’ve experienced God’s love.
The challenge here is to spend at least one period of every week listening for God’s voice. We all need to just STOP sometimes and listen to what God is trying to tell us. Spend 20 minutes a week simply listening to God. No distractions. No cell phone. No social media.
The challenge here is to spend at least one period of each week learning Christ. As Christians, we need to be refueled and coming to church once a week isn’t enough. We need to learn more about Christ. Read books about Jesus. Watch movies about Jesus. Talk to other Christians about Jesus. The more we do this, the more it changes us. The last one is:
The challenge here is to write things down! Start journaling or start a prayer journal. Write out the ways you’ve been expressing God’s love to others at your job and write down their progress. Maybe they told you something very personal and important in their life. Write it down and pray about it. When they mention it again, tell them, “I’m so glad that’s going better, I’ve been praying about that.” Or you can ask them, “Hey, I’ve been praying about your situation with your family. How is that going?” They will be so surprised that you remembered! And guys, I encourage you to show other men that you care about them. They might put their game face on and pretend they’re fine, but deep down inside, they need and desire to know someone who truly cares about them. We express God’s love because we’ve experienced God’s love.
Church, imagine if we all started to do this? If we actually viewed our job as a mission field and started to be more aware of opportunities God is giving us. Imagine if we put as much effort into expressing God’s love at work as we do sports or business. I know for a fact that God will use our church to bring people into His kingdom. Maybe you’re listening to this and you think it doesn’t apply to you because you’re not a Christian. You haven’t taken that step yet. Our hope and prayer is that someday you will make the decision to follow Jesus. You don’t have to earn His love. He already proved that He loves you by dying for you and taking your place on the cross. You can be saved simply by asking Him to forgive your sins and telling Him that you believe that He died for you and rose again. Then follow Jesus with all of your life.
Lord God, you tell us in your Word that you came to give us a life of abundance. We know that doesn’t mean an abundance of money, but an abundance of joy, direction, purpose, and meaning. Some of us don’t feel like that at our jobs. Some of us are not passionate about what we do for a living. So Lord, I ask that you can open doors of opportunity for those who desire to have a career that they are passionate about. But Lord, if it’s Your will for them to stay where they are, I pray that you will give them a passion to persuade others to seek after you. That you will remind them that they are ambassadors for you.
And Lord, if there is anyone listening right now who hasn’t already made the decision to follow you, we pray that they will right now. Save them. Let them experience your love so that they can express your love to others. We need you God and we love you. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen!