Work as unto the Lord (with Keith & Kristyn Getty)
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Yesterday was National Boss Day. According to new data from workplace expert Michelle McQuaid, more than 6 in 10 workers say the one thing they would choose to change about their work is their boss. Only four in 10 chose a pay raise.
Yesterday was National Boss Appreciation Day and I have to tell you, nobody gave me any flowers. I’m sure they just forgot – it’s not that they don’t appreciate me. BUT -- 6 out of 10 workers don’t appreciate their bosses. In fact, in a recent survey, a new boss was the number one thing employees wished for. Whether your boss is good or bad, we do our work unto the Lord. Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” The Lord is who deserves our dedication. And we give it to him in our work, our worship, and in everything we do.
Welcome to Haven Today ….
We’re going to be talking today with Kristen and Keith Getty and their new album and a particular song on that album – The Worker’s Song – a song that celebrates the gift of work.
Opening song: Oh, How Good It IS - from the Gettys' new album
(Interview with Keith on the Worker’s Song 7:58 minutes)
(The Worker’s Song”)
(comments with Kristen after the song 1:12 minutes) ends with how she finds this song helpful in her life "as a songwriter and a mom."
Holy work. Our everyday work is holy work. Kristen’s lyrics say, “Before you I kneel, Before my Master and Maker, to offer the work of my hands.” We can offer our work, whatever it is. We can offer it to the Lord. It’s a beautiful idea. But is it in the bible? Actually it’s not only in the Bible, it’s one of the big changes that Jesus brought about through his death and resurrection.
Picture the temple in Israel, think of the perfection that was required before an animal could be sacrificed, the ritual purity that was required of the priests before they could offer a sacrifice. Think of how all the bowls and basins that contained the sacrifices had to be ritually cleansed before they were holy.
Is it really true that our now our every day work is now holy to the Lord in the way those sacrifices were holy? Is it really true that we can offer whatever we do to the Lord as something holy? It is!
The Lord promised that this would happen. He promised to create a new world where everything was going to be holy to the Lord. In Zechariah 14 he describes that new world and he says that “holy to the Lord’ is going to be inscribed on the bells of the horses. An everyday bell on an everyday horse will be inscribed as holy. And the cooking pots that every day people cook with, he says, will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. Our everyday pots and pans will be just as holy as those pots that were in the temple. Because the whole world will be a temple and everything in it will be holy and everything the people of the Lord do will be a holy offering to the Lord.
When is God going to create that new world? He already has. He’s already done it through the death and resurrection of his Son. Jesus took all the unholiness of God’s people down into the grave, he shed his blood so we could all be sprinkled like the priests were sprinkled, so we could all be made permanently and completely holy to the Lord. And he’s raised us up to a new life – where our everyday activities have all the beauty of a holy act – even our pots and pans are holy.
It’s true -- the world Zechariah was talking about is still in the future -- we’re still waiting for the new heavens and the new earth – the new creation Jesus created. It hasn’t come into its full reality. But like everything Jesus accomplished the future is already happening. We’re already living out that future reality. Our work – our every day work – is holy to the Lord right now. Whatever we do, we can make it an offering to the Lord:
1. 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”
2. Colossians 3:17 “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
3. Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, do your work with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
Whatever we do – we an offer it to the Lord as a holy thing. And that changes our lives. It changes our work. It gives meaning to whatever we do. It turns the simplest things into sacred acts of worship.
For a while the church lost this concept. It started happening way back in the history of the church, slowly but surely the division between holy work and ordinary work crept back in until once again there was a sharp distinction in people’s minds between the truly holy life of a monk or a nun and the ordinary life of ordinary believers.
And then came Martin Luther.
Martin Luther the monk. Martin Luther who rediscovered the beautiful truth of the gospel that salvation is not by works but by grace. He rediscovered the truth that the work of every believer is holy to the Lord – that the every day work of every believer is holy.
He’d been taught that the celibate, cloistered life of a monk was the only truly holy life but when he discovered the gospel he realized this wasn’t true – every believer is a priest! All work is holy to the Lord! So he left the monastery and he started writing. He wrote that the life of a believing mother and father, a believing shoemaker and farmer – it’s all holy to God. He wrote that Christians are called to live out their holiness in the everyday world, doing every day things by faith for the glory of God. He even wrote that when a father changes a diaper, God and all the angels rejoice! This was radical thinking at the time but it was biblical.
Luther wrote that the duties of parents, rocking babies, washing diapers, laboring at a trade to care for a family – that these every day, un-glamorous things are actually – these are his words -- “adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels . . . These are truly golden and noble works.”
He ended up marrying a former nun and their life together set a new standard for the believers of their day – a new model of the simple but holy life of ordinary Christians. Martin was working as a pastor and a teacher most of the time but Katerina, his wife, the former nun, she was engaged in every day work, the kind of work every day people did every day. She worked hard and she loved it because she knew she was working for the Lord – that she could offer whatever she did to Him.
She transformed the old moldy former cloister where they lived into a comfortable home.
She launched all kinds of enterprises to feed her household. She kept cows for milk and butter and made cheese and she even started a piggery because Martin liked pork. After that, he occasionally referred to her as “My Lord Kate, Mistress of the Pigsty.”
She turned a neglected field into a productive garden and planted an orchard. She even stocked a pond with fish.
This was holy work!
She ministered to the needs of people all over town. She listened to their problems, gave them care and medicine in their sicknesses, counseled them in their sorrows and even advised them in their business affairs.
This was holy work!
All the work we do every day is holy work when we do it through the Lord and for the Lord. Which brings me back to what to do if you have a bad boss – which 6 out of 10 people feel they have. I think there’s a simple but very profound word of wisdom from the apostle Paul that can really help. It was written to slaves, but it works for employees. Here it is:
Colossians 3: 24 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Hymns For The Christian Life
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From Keith & Kristyn Getty: ...
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