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The book of Proverbs provides countless valuable lessons for how to live a life honoring God. It emphasizes the essential dignity and equality of work, teaches us to be honest and hardworking individuals in our workplaces, and reminds us that all labor is sacred to Him. We can apply these teachings as we strive to build something beautiful and beneficial on this earth according to His will. The God of the Bible is a working God - let's be inspired by Him as we seek fulfillment in our own lives through having purposeful work. Let's whistle while we work!
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Philip De Courcy (00:00):
This morning we’re going to look at what God has to say about our living nine to five, about the workplace and our employment. One can imagine that if a book addresses the issues of life as the book of Proverbs purports, then it’s going to address the whole issue of work and they do and so want us to come this morning and look at this subject as we get a grip on God’s perspective on work. I’ve entitled to this morning’s message whistle while you work. Proverbs 14:23. “In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty.” That’s our text. In all leer there is profit seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. In 1960, John F. Kennedy visited a coal mine in West Virginia and while he was there he engaged a minor in conversation about his work and then the minor engaged John Kennedy in conversation and he asked him a couple of questions and the first question was this, “Is it true that you’re the son of one of our wealthiest men?”
John Kennedy replied that that was true. The minor then went on to ask a second question, “Is it also true that you’ve never done one day’s work with your hands in all your life?” Kennedy nodded in agreement. Well, let me tell you this. The minor replied, “You haven’t missed a thing.” Now if you reflect on this, I think this man’s perspective on work is a rather common one, isn’t it? I think he gives voice to the perspective of millions that given a chance, given a choice, work is something that they could do well without. At best, it’s an intrusion because there’s far better things to do than work and that worst it’s an imprisonment. Our nine to five lives are a ball and chin on the ankles of humanity and they make life drag. In fact, if you go one step further, I think most people would reason this way.
If there is a God, then he must be not very nice because he has sentenced man to a lifetime of hardly ever without parole. Now the reality of what I’m talking about is bornite in statistics that show that on any given day here in our nation, 50,000 people quit their jobs. Some 80% are dissatisfied with their jobs and nearly 85% admit that they could work harder. In fact, half of that 85% admit that they could actually double their output if they put their mind to it. There seems to be very little joy on the job these days. There seems to be very few people whistling while they’re going to work while they’re at work or while they’re home from work. And you see this in some of the humorous cards and bumper stickers and slogans that are cropping up all around the office these days on one bullet and board, someone tacked up a sign that read quote in case of afar, flee the building with the same reckless abandon that occurs each day at quitting time.
Or here’s another one. If you don’t believe in the resurrection from the dead, you ought to be here five minutes before quitting time. There was a rather lengthy company directive that was uttered tongue in cheek that went out to the workers of one factory and it said this quote, it’s come to the attention of management that workers dying on the job are feeling the fall down. This practice must stop as it becomes impossible to distinguish between death and the natural movement of the staff. Any employee found dead in an upright position will be dropped from the payroll. That’s quite good, but where there’s very few people have joy on the job, very few people whistle while they work and that’s a huge problem. Why is it a huge problem? Because half of your waking hours will be put to your job, you’ll either be driving to it, preparing for it, engaging in it, or resting from it, and if you don’t enjoy half of your life, well that doesn’t all go well does it?
In fact, much of our lives it seems these days have little purpose and less pleasure in relation to work and therefore life itself becomes increasingly mean and meaningless. Now with all that in mind, I want to take you to the book of Proverbs and the text that we read just a few moments ago. In all labor, there is profit because this is a book as we said in our two message reduction that purports to help us live wisely and well. We saw that the whole concept of wisdom is to live skillfully. Here’s a book you would think that would help you strengthen your grip on life and handle it skillfully. And if it does and that’s its end, then one would assume that within the confines of this material this book will address itself to the whole issue of labor. If this book is about living skillfully, one would assume that it’s going to address that half of our lives called work.
And you know what folks? It does. Repeatedly, it does. Religiously, it does. This book of Proverbs addresses the whole issue of the marketplace in the workplace and how you and I can work with satisfaction with purpose. This book will help us whistle while we work. This book will help us see that work is not a punishment, that it is a gift from God that profits those who put at the good use in all Leo bird there is prophet. We’re probably going only cover two thoughts here this morning, but this verse will remind us that while our worship of God may begin on a Sunday morning with the ringing of a church be it continues on Monday morning with the signing of a factory horn. This book will remind us that all labor is sanctioned by God and therefore sacred to him. I want us to see first of all what I call a plea of work.
Look at verse 23 of Proverbs 14. “In all labor there is profit.” This verse assumes the please the dignity in the validity of all types of work, in all kinds of labor or employment, there is profit. The place in the necessity of work is assumed here because it’s assumed elsewhere in the Old Testament. In fact, I want you to think about something that’s rather striking. The Israelite worked for theological reasons. The Israelite worked for theological reasons in fact that the Israelite worker from nine to five on any given day was living out his theology of the creation was living out his theology of man me in the image of God. The Israelite worker never saw work as an intrusion or an imprisonment. They understood that man was mirrored in the image of God was me to cooperate with God in the management and the development of the earth or to put it another way, God had subcontracted aspects of his rule in his re into mankind.
Turn with me back to the Book of Genesis with the Old Testament. Story begins and in fact everybody’s story begins and here’s what we’ll see about man’s origin and man’s purpose in life in Genesis one, verse 26 we read then “God said led us, there’s a hint at the trinity right there, a plurality within the Godhead father’s son and spirit. Let us meek man in our image according to our likeness, let them that is man and woman have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the earth and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth man is distinct from the animal. Kingdom man has dominion over the animal kingdom.” Ti has got it wrong. This verse challenges the evolutionary hypothesis that man is a form of animal, evolution of animal. He was distinct from the animal kingdom.
He was a very, according to verse 27, created in God’s own image in the image of God he was created male and female. They look at verse 28, “Then God blessed them and God said to them, be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Skip over to verse 15 of chapter two and here the story of creation has been unpacked. Man has just been made. Eve has yet to be created and we read in verse 15, then the Lord God took man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend it and keep it. Now here’s the point you want to get work and employment was part of God’s original plan and as soon as man was created, he was put to work because people have this idea that work came with the curse, that work is a punishment for man’s sin.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, before man ever fail, he was working in God’s garden. There are two words that describe Autumn’s work in Genesis two verse 15. I want you to notice them. The word tanned means to work with physical labor. It means to exert oneself in manual labor and the word keep here means to manage to take care. It speaks of acting as an executive, as a supervisor and here we see that Adam was at work watching over God’s garden before the fall. He was working nine to five, six days a week. He was a blue collar worker and a white collar worker. He was at the same time Emmanuel Lire and an executive reminding us that in all kinds of work there is profit. And you know what this is striking, isn’t it? Adam was to be the estate manager and the estate worker all at the same time and what we learned from this is that God made man to work God, me man in his own image and God is a working God.
The Garden of Eden was not some early version of club mad. The purpose of man is not to work himself out of work. The purpose of man is to cooperate with God in the subduing of planet earth and creating those things which are beautiful and beneficial for all. That’s his purpose. God made human beings in his own working image. God is not just a universal presence, God is a universal pressure. Do you understand this? That the God of the Bible was serving man before man was serving God. God made the garden of Eden. God created the earth and its order. God created man and put him into the garden in his own image he created man and he put him to work. He subcontracted the garden of Eden to Adam and then also to eve.
[NEW_PARAGRAPH] The God of the Bible is a working God and those who live according to his purpose are working people. I want to say something that I think will knock the socks off you this morning and as this, there is nothing more godlike than a working man. There is nothing more godlike than a working man. We were created in his image to work because he’s a working God. Ephesians one verse 11 tells us that God is working all things out after the council of his own will. Our God is constantly active. Jesus said and John five in verse 17, my father works and I work this idea that pictures God basking in his own glory, kicking his feet up in some fluffy Clyde is a distortion of biblical truth. That may be the God of deism but is not the God of Judaism or Christianity.
The God of the Bible is very active. I remember many years ago one of my daughters in hearing the story of John 14 and hide that Jesus has gone to prepare a please for us in heaven asked me, daddy, why doesn’t Jesus get the angels to build the houses because our gods are working God, he gets his hands dirty. If we might use that anthropomorphism to describe his constant creative activity above and among his creation. Now there’s two things I want us to gather and this is very important. This will revolutionize your perspective on work.
This will give you a redemptive perspective on work. I want you to see two things from this thought that in all kinds of labor there is profit. As we think about the doctrine of creation and we think about our theology of man in the light of God, here’s what we have got. We’ve got first of all, the essential dignity of work. I’m repeating myself here but taking it a little bit further work is not a curse. I don’t know how you look upon your work as a drag, as a drudge, but work is not a curse and it is not a punishment and we are not meant to work ourself out of work.
Work was ordained by God before the fall and while the curse of God upon sin makes it harder and sometimes futile, it did not remove the essential dignity of work. God didn’t curse work. He cursed the grind upon which man would work but work has an essential dignity to it. It’s me, it all the harder this side of the fall, but work is still good and work is still godlike. What we see here is that to begin fully employed is part and parcel of the human existence. Work is not a punishment, it is an integral part of your being and what God has called you to be.
Work is not some long dark tunnel that separates two holidays from each other. It is a call to God. Listen, it is a call to join God in the glorious task of subduing the earth and creating all things bright and beautiful. In this sense, work is a divine activity. All kinds of work are divine activities because in work we have an invitation to work alongside God. We must work not as machines but as man made in the image of God with dignity and diligence or that you would grasp that and grapple with that. Listen to these wonderful words from an American theologian of the 19th century by the name of Henry Giles. He said this quote, man must work that is certain as the son, but he may work grudgingly or he may work regretfully, he may work as a man or he may work as a machine.
There is no work so rude that he may not exalt it. No work so I passive that he may not breathe a soul into it. No work so dull that he may not enliven it. Let me ask you a question, working nine to five Monday to Friday, do you work grudgingly or gratefully? Do you work as a machine or as a man mean in the image of God to co-create with God, to be creative and purposeful, to accomplish God’s purposes for your life by the set of gifts that he has given you, by educating your mind, by learning skills, by applying your hand to diligent dignified work. That’s the glory of our calling is man, that’s a biblical doctrine of man leases. To a second thought, this is wonderful. Not only the essential dignity of work but the essential equality of work, the essential equality of work or the equal dignity of work.
This is implied in the tax here in Proverb 1423 in all labor or in all kinds of there’s profit and it’s what we have already seen from Adam and Eve. Adam was a blue collar worker and he was a white collar worker. He was a manual labor and he was an executive. He was me in God’s image because God is a working God. In fact, in the Old Testament, God describes himself as a contractor except the Lord build a house, they labor in vain and built it. He’s described as a potter, a vine dresser. Our God is a working God and those made in his image will give themselves to all kinds of activity with dignity and with diligence. God views all kinds of work with the same pleasure because it takes all kinds of people with all kinds of skills to do what God wants done on the earth.
If we’re going to subdue the earth, if we’re going to have the minion over the animal kingdom, if we’re going to live out our purpose and take all the gifts that God has given us and all the minerals that are embedded in planet earth and all the opportunities we have to produce to discover, to develop, it’s going to take all kinds of people. It’s going to take the scientist working in the laboratory, but it’s going to take some guy boring for mineral on the side of some mountain.
[NEW_PARAGRAPH] It’s going to take all kinds of people doing all kinds of work and God is pleased with it all because in all kinds of labor there are profits and this verse of our stumps, its foot on this idea that there’s work that is secret and there’s work that’s secular. There’s work that’s better than other work. That’s an un-biblical thought because our doctrine of creation, the image of God and our understanding of Christian service, the priesthood of all believers leads us to believe that all work has an essential and an equal dignity.
God can be served just as well at the mauling machine or the kitchen sink us behind the pulpit. We are Protestant, not Catholic in our theology here we deny the Catholic distortion of the medieval church that the monk was better than the blacksmith, that the contemplative life of the monastery was better than the act of life of the working man. Martin Luther, our Protestant forefathers came along, discovered that man made in the image of God can do all kinds of work with prophet came to understand that we were all priests. There’s not a cast, there’s not a special kind of person that serves God. Some serve God in the church and some serve God in the factory or in the home. We have all one calling. We’ve just got many different vocations, haven’t we? That’s our perspective on life. God calls craftsmen to serve him as much as priests and prophets.
Didn’t we see that back in Exodus 31 verses one 11 where God calls the workman to get the tabernacle ready. Some will embryoid, some will construct and God gives them skill and he gives them wisdom. God calls the craftsman just as much as he calls the priest. Martin Luther thought that it was just as much the work of God, to change a baby’s diaper as to preach the word of God. Can you imagine how liberating that was in Europe with a sense of a caste system, the priests of the church and then there was the people. It was a scam to make the people beholden to the priests, but the Protestant gospel came and reminded them that in Jesus Christ they are priests and when they beat the battle on the anvil in the blacksmith shop it says strategic and does holy to God as a theologian taking his quill from an inkwell and writing doctrine.
Every Christian has one calling but many vocations and folks, we need to hear that because if that is not true, there’s an awful slice of your life that doesn’t have eternal significance, isn’t there? I mean you someone did this calculation that most people spend about $4,000 in church across their lifetime and services just like this, but they spend $88,000 in the workplace and you and I need to know that $88,000 can count for eternity. We don’t want to have this thought or this burden on, you know what, I can only serve God for $4,000. No in all kinds of li there is prophet. You can make that idiot $1,000 kind for Jesus Christ because God has called you to be a subcontractor for him to live right? His will and his purpose for you in the workplace if that’s where your vocation is.
Some of us have a church vocation like myself. Some of us have a domestic vocation as being a career homemaker. Some of us have a work vocation right in the factory or the office, but we all have one calling to walk worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Take a look at Ephesians four verse one. That’s the calling and in chapter five and six, pastors are talked to, husbands and wives are talked to children and parents are talked to. Slaves and masters are talked to one calling many vocations, we are all priests and we can offer what we do to Jesus Christ. Remember that’s seen back in the book of Daniel chapter six. You know Daniel’s story? He was carted off. He was a very handsome, bright young man. He was hold into the employment of the Babylonian government and kingdom and there he worked as a civil servant.
He was a white collar worker, but he lived out his faith in the workplace, brought him into conflict with the pars. That be the story of how he wouldn’t bow down to the idol, but he turned his faith towards Jerusalem and prayed to God three times a day. He winds up in the lions Dan, but what’s interesting and pleasant when I’m talking about this morning is that when Darius comes in the morning to see if his friend Daniel is still alive because Darius was caught on the horns of I Lama. He had made a decree that for which there were no exemptions, even his friend Daniel, and he comes and the stone is lifted and he looks down into that probably that stone pit somewhere in the poller and in Daniel six verse 10, here’s what Darius says to Daniel, the civil servant. “Oh Daniel, servant of the living God. Basically, are you still alive?”
Isn’t that interesting Daniel Servant of the living God. Yeah, you can be a servant of God and be a civil servant all at the same time because there is an essential dignity of work and there is an essential equality of work. In fact, here’s a thought in their book, your work matters to God. Doug Sherman and William Hendricks counter this false idea that’s a hangover from the mad, evil Church of the secret in the secular of the spiritual and the temporal. They say this, there is no distinction between the secular and the sacred at any moment, no matter what we are doing, we are either relating to God properly or improperly. This must be the distinction, not secular and sacred but righteous and unrighteous. You get their thought. If there is one dichotomy, it’s thought it’s am I at this given moment doing what I’m doing properly related to God or improperly related to God?
Is what I’m doing with what I have where I am? Is it being done with an eye to God’s glory or is it being done another way? And their point is this, you and I can be in church. We think that’s secret. We can be here and yet not properly related to God. We could be reciting the creed, we could be saying a prayer we could be singing to hymn and yet a couple of rows back, there’s someone we haven’t talked to for 10 years because they stood on our toes one day and they got our hackles up and we’ve never forgiven them. Is that secret? I hope that’s not your definition of secret or holy or pleasing to God, although you’re in the right place, the holy place of where the church meets, but someone tomorrow morning could be in the workplace. It’s very secular.
The behavior of the work myths leaves a lot to be desired. The conversation may be littered with profanity. The jokes may be off color. The work by others may be often slipshod, but maybe there are like a Daniel and a Joseph. You can do your service for God’s kingdom by honoring him and obeying him within a worldly environment. There is no distinction of secret and secular, but there is a distinction of where I am doing what I’m doing. Is it what pleases God or is it what doesn’t please God? Everything can be secret. Our leisure, our love making our lives, it can all be secret and holy if it’s dedicated and done for the glory of God. This is our perspective on life in all kinds of labor. There is profit Bill McCartney, former of the Colorado Buffaloes and was used by God to launch the Promise Keepers movement when he was initially interviewed for the head coaching job at Colorado.
He told us the search committee that they needed to understand something. I quote him here, I am not a coach who happens to be a Christian. I’m a Christian who happens to be a coach. Isn’t that powerful? That’s the way you should view life. That’s the extension of our doctrine of man, you me, in the image of Jesus Christ. That’s our application of the effects of redemption in Jesus Christ. That our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are portable temples. Wherever we go with sacred God, whatever we do can be sacred and we are Christians who just happen to be house wives. We are Christians who just happen to be school teachers. We are Christians that just happen to be sports coaches. We are Christians who just happen to be truck drivers and mechanics, desk clerks and receptionists in all kinds of labor.
We can have profit because we see our place of employment as a holy place that’s given over to secret things. Let’s move on to a second thought with a couple of sub thoughts here and we’ll stop here. We not only have in this verse what I call the place of work, but I want you to see now the pattern of work in all labor there is profit, the word labor, here is a word that carries the idea of physical P, it speaks of exertion, it speaks of strenuous labor. It means putting your heart and your soul into something. It seems to infer you’re going to do something, you’re going to have to do it with all that you’ve got and therefore I think by implication it’s talking about excellence and diligence. You see the Bible’s not only interested in the fact that you and I are called to do certain things, it’s interested in knowing how we do those things that we’re called to do.
The Bible not only talks about the dignity of work, but it’s interested in the whole issue of its quality, the motive with which we do it, the kind of exertion we put into it. Remember if work is good and it is and if work is God ordained, then it is, then it naturally flows that you’ll do it well because it’s dedicated to God. That’s why Paul says to the Ephesians, slaves as you do your work, don’t be a man pleaser. Work as onto the Lord because a Christian view of work and a biblical perspective, unemployment has remaining ourselves that work is good and work is God given and therefore it ought to be done. Well remember, we have a working God who made us in his image sometime. Just take a look at Genesis one and two as God mirrors this world and everything that is in it.
At the end of his days, I believe he made the world in six literal 24 hours days. It says at the end of each day God would look back on his work and say, and that was a good, in fact, sometimes God’s looking on his own work says, and it’s very good. The work that God does is good and very good. In fact, even when he made man and realized that loneliness was not good for man and God said, it is not good that man should be alone, God immediately fixed what wasn’t good or what was lacking and when you and I are mean in his image, we will do work that’s good and very good and when we see that there’s something lacking in our work in terms of its quality, we will immediately fix it. In fact, I want you just for a few moments to think ahead of the judgment seat of Christ because it plays into what I’m saying.
Do you understand that if the judgment seat of Christ, the quality of our work will be judged? In one Corinthians three, we read these words, “Our lives will be looked into each one’s work will become clear for the day will declare it because it will be revealed by far and the far will test each one’s work.” This is first Corinthians three verse 13 of what sort it is. Our work from nine to five and beyond will be judged someday as to what sort it was. How did we do it? What was the motive? How much did we give ourselves to it? What was its quality? I want you to remember something. If you forget everything today, remember this, when you get to the judgment seat, the question that God will ask you is not why were you not a missionary? That’s not the question you will be asked.
The question you will be asked is what kind of mechanic were you? What kind of a housewife were you? What kind of a receptionist were you? What sort of work did you do where I pleased you because it’s all sacred to God. That’s powerful, isn’t it? You won’t be asked, why weren’t you a missioner? You’ll be asked, what kid of mechanic were you? Were you honest, punctual, diligent, helpful, easy to get on with respectful to the boss? Did you dig pride in what you did? Did you see its glory? Did you see its sacredness? Did you do it with an eye to my glory? Who said the Bible’s impractical? I want you to see three things about the pattern of work from the book of Proverbs. I want you to see what I call the pattern of hard work. What kind of work should we do?
We should do hard work. The book of Proverbs extols the old fashioned virtue of hard work. The book of Proverbs condemns the and the lazy bones who turns like a hinge on his bed who’s sitting at home with his feet up when he should be out in the fields harvesting because it’s summer in the winter’s coming, the book of Proverbs despises the lazy bones and the sled because a little folding of the hands, a little sleep and then comes poverty. Throughout this book diligence and hard work is made a virtue. Look at Proverbs 10 verse four. “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent mix rich, he who gathers in summer as a wise son, he who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes she.” In Proverbs 12 verse 24 we read, “The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor.” In verse 27 of the same chapter, “The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man’s precious possession.”
Our tax is a Proverbs 14:23. “In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty.” The contrast is there between a man who gives himself diligently to do his work regardless of what it is compared to someone who’s all talk, well, I’m going to do this and I’m going to do that, but they never do it. It’s all talk and it leads to poverty in a wasted life. And the book of Proverbs tells us as Christians and as lovers of Jesus Christ, we should be the hardest working people on the job. So the book of Proverbs is this book salutes the qualities of diligence, application conscientiousness. It abhors people who miss opportunities daydream and lack sweat. It does not see the funny side of the words that someone spoke. They say hard work killed nobody, but I’m not going to take a chance. This book says it’s crazy to be Lizzy.
God doesn’t honor that and you will miss so much in life if you’d have worked a little bit harder. Listen to these telling words. See if you don’t fall into this category of people who are always griping and grossing about the fact that they’re pet a minimal we, some people work less when they are pet, a minimum wedge as the writer, but they never earn a raise by minimal performance. Folks who never do any more than they get paid for will never get paid for any more than they do. That’s a true statement. It’s a truism, it’s a maximum for life. And I know the book of Proverbs are not promises and I do realize there are people who have worked hard and still find themselves belly up, but generally hard work pays off.
We can control all of life’s circumstance. Sometimes men put their heart and soul into a business and they just don’t. Don’t see something coming out of left field and it gets in the way of the business prospering. We understand that, but generally speaking, you get what you work for and if you’ll work hard, you’ll mix something of your life and your family. I’m not endorsing minimum wages, but you know what? Minimum performance often produces minimum wages and you’ll not get paid for more than what you work for.
So many today are like the soldier in England who decided he would go to India because he heard that in India they pay you a lot for doing a little. Then when you’ve been there for a while, they pay you more for doing less and if you stay long enough, they’ll pay you a great deal for doing nothing. It is not a godly perspective to think that your passion and purpose in life is to work yourself out of work. The Bible has no concept of retirement. By the way. I don’t think you’ll glorify God by dying in a window bay of somewhere in the west coast. Listen to these words from Cameron’s Wilson, the founder of the in Holiday Hotel Network. He said this one day, “You want a grip prescription for success in life and work quote, work half a day.” There you go, he’s a man who made it successful.
He said, work half a day to the first 12 hours or the second 12 hours, but work half a day not good. Go and look at the ant, you sluggard. Don’t be a lazy bones, don’t be a son who’s a disgrace to his father. Listen to this. Not only do we have the pattern of hard work, we have the pattern of honest work. The virtue of hard work must be balanced and protected by the ethic of honesty because while hard work is a virtue, it can become a vice if it is not controlled by virtue and value and biblical perspectives. We can work hard at sinning by getting greedy and materialistic. So if you’re going to work hard, that’s good, but work honestly and work with a godly perspective. The book of Proverbs again and again warns us against dishonest gain. Listen to Proverbs 10 in verse two, “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death.” There’s a way to treasure, but it’s a wicked way. It’s an immoral way. Proverbs 15 verse 27 says this, “He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house.”
[NEW_PARAGRAPH] Yeah, work hard, develop the business, but don’t get greedy, and don’t get materialistic, and don’t have your wife wondering where you are, and don’t be an absent father to your children. Don’t be bringing trouble to your house at that point. Your hard work is a vice, not a virtue. Took a proverb, tells you here and work hard but work honestly work with a moral conscience, with a biblical perspective. In fact, again and again, this book warns against deceptive wages and dishonest skills. Look at Proverbs 11 verse one. “Dishonest skills are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weird as his delight.” And then in Proverbs 11 verse 10, “The wicked man does deceptive work, but he who sues righteousness will have a sure reward, work hard, but work honestly.”
In fact, if you’re going to work hard, make sure that you work hard at keeping a good reputation on the job. That’s what the book of Proverbs tells us. Look at Proverbs 22 in verse one. This is a great proverb. 22 in verse one, “A good new image to be chosen rather than great riches, loving fever rather than silver and gold.” Again, Proverbs 28 in verse six says, “Better as the poorer who walks in his integrity, the one perverse is wears though he’d be rich.” Be honest in your hard work, protect your reputation. Guard your good name. Don’t sell your soul for a buck. Don’t shave your ethics to get that contract. It’s not worth it. There is the danger of money and we must not minimize. That says the book of Proverbs. The book of Proverbs tells us that the rights of the poor must not be forgotten.
The value of your character must not be sold and the skills of God’s judgment must not be overlooked. God is weighing us in his skills to see that we’re honest because dishonest Wes are an abomination to the Lord. Let me get real practical just in case you don’t make the connection yourself, that means that God wants the salesman, any salesman here this morning to represent the product. Honestly, don’t make it out to be something it’s not. Don’t sell somebody a white camel. God wants the accountant to be honest about the company’s financial health. If you’re an accountant, don’t be party to some shell game in the company office parting certain line items. That’s a dishonest skill and God abhors it. God wants the worker to give a full day’s work for a full day’s pay and you left your wage packet on a Friday, did you earn it?
Or you might think you’re worth more than that, maybe you are. But if you signed up to work for that company according to that wage scale, then you work for that not what you think you should get. The Bible tells us that God doesn’t want us to turn a 10 minute break into a 15 minute break. Now I’m going to medal here. God doesn’t want you doing your devotions on company time either or evangelizing your work made on company time. That’s a dishonest skill. Your company, didn’t you to be an evangelist, hired you to be hard, honest worker. There may come opportunity to evangelize, but you better do it on your own time or at least be sure that it meets with the company’s approval.
God doesn’t want executives of a company giving themselves absorbent raises while at the same time thinking of cutting the workforce. That’s not dishonest, that’s not just, but these are the kind of things that are going on in America today in the corporate world and in the faculty floor. These are the abuses of bosses. These are the abuses of unions. Also, you know that today many companies have to have a line item for employee theft in America running into billions of dollars. When you calculate it all together, time’s gone.
Let me just finish with this story and we’ll just have to stop here. Dr. Hodden Robinson told a story of one of a news investigation report that went on in Toronto many years ago. The writer from a local newspaper decided to test the ethics of mechanics around the city of Toronto and so on purpose. This Sam reporter took the spark plug wire off of his engine and wheeled his dead car into a number of garages across Toronto. And what he found that on most occasions more work was done than needed to be done until one day he wheeled his car into a small garage owned by a guy in the name of Fred.
Fred popped his head up from under the hood and said, “Can I help you?” Yes, you can. And he said, “There’s something wrong with my car.” And so Fred stuck his head under the hood of that car and started to investigate what the problem might be. And in a few moments, hey presto, Fred pops his head up and said, “You know what, sir? Your spark plug wire has come off. Very simple. In fact, I just give me a moment and I can attach it in a jiffy and you’ll be on your way.” And so he reattached the wire and the engine kicked into life and the reporter said, “Well Fred, how much do I owe you?”
To which Fred said, “I’m not going to charge you anything. I really didn’t do anything. It was a simple job just reconnecting the wire.” Now this in the light of what had gone on in the previous day’s, investigation struck a reporter and the reporter said, “Fred, you got to tell me why you’re not going to charge me anything.” This is the word. These are the words of Fred and reply, “Are you sure you want to know? Well, let me tell you, I happen to be a Christian and I believe that everything we do should be done for God’s glory. I’m not a preacher, I’m not a missionary, but I’m a mechanic. And so I do it as honestly as I can with all the skill that I have for the glory of God.” The next day in the newspaper in Toronto, there was a headline that read “Christian Mechanic, honest to the Glory of God my friend.”
That’s a great headline for anybody’s life. That’s a great banner. That’s a great at the top. Christian housewife, honest to the glory of God. Christian mechanic, Christian clerk, Christian supervisor, honest to the glory of God. I trust that you seek to be honest and hardworking and do honorable and excellent work. God deserves that. Isn’t that worthy of Him. And isn’t that how we live out the significance of our very origin as those made in the image of God subcontracted by God to live according to His will on this earth and to make things that are beneficial and beautiful, that play into God’s purposes and plans for planet Earth? Remember what Martin Luther taught a generation before us? The changing of a baby’s diaper is as significant as the preaching of the word of God because it can be done for the glory of God.