So, what is authentic work?
Well, it’s basically what the Christian life should look like in the workplace!
In Col 3:23 Paul says ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.’
Verse 22 says ‘not only when their eye is on you to win their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord’
Whatever you do! Whenever you do it!
So let’s keep it simple. We’re going to call this the ‘GAS’ principle.
The GAS Principle
God Owns Everything
Accept what you have
Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness
1. God Owns Everything – (see Psalm 24:1, Colossians 1:16)
Not just your money, but also your time and talents – even your energy!
The whole subject of tithing (giving 10% of your earnings) can be confusing, especially if we misunderstand what it was for.
If you look at tithing in the Bible you’ll see that 11 tribes tithed 10% of their property (animals and produce) to the Levites, who had no property or livestock. The Levites also then tithed 10% of what they received as a fellowship offering leaving all tribes with roughly similar amounts (if you do the maths).
So it was a functional act to support to priesthood.
- It’s mentioned 30 times in the old testament and it was ALWAYS crops and livestock – never money.
- It was a tithe to a specific people group – the Levites. Always.
- And it was never practiced by the church after the resurrection!
Here’s the thing, if God owns everything (which Psalm 24:1 says he does) then tithing can become a guilt relieving way of spending God’s 90%.
It’s all God’s stuff!
If you went overseas to be a missionary in Africa for 5 years and left me your house, car and bank accounts to look after, and you’d asked me to “be wise and discerning with my things”, what would you expect to find when you returned?
Would I have stewarded YOUR things well or would I have spent all your money and wrecked your house and car? Hopefully the former – if I recognize that it’s not mine.
And our time is even more important than money!
If you run out of money you can always get some more (in theory anyway).
But once time has gone – it’s GONE!!! You never get it back.
And your gifts, abilities, ideas, energy – it all comes under that word ‘EVERYTHING’.
God really does own everything. Maybe we need to start living lives that reflect that?
2. Accept what you have – (1 Timothy 6:7-8)
Paul writes 13 letters and in almost all of them he starts with ‘being thankful’.
Remember, Job praised and worshiped God, not just for getting him through a tough time, but for the tough time. He was thankful for the suffering!
Why? Because it pushed him into a deeper trust relationship with God!
But in our culture, we always seem to want more.
Rockafeller was one of the wealthiest men in modern times. He died about 80 years ago but he was once asked, “How much is enough money?” His answer was, “Just a little bit more!”
It’s sad that we get so easily distracted from what we have and literally ‘crave’ something more. Something better. Something new!
In 1 Timothy 6:7-8, Paul writes, ‘For we brought nothing into this world…but if we have food and clothing we will be content with that.’
Well, folks, we have a lot more than just food and clothing!
According to Scripture I’m a son of the King!!!!
But sometimes, that little voice whispers that ‘there must be more to life than Jesus’.
There isn’t any life other than the Life of Jesus.
That’s why so many ‘celebrities’ that buy everything they desire – houses, cars, planes – still end up depressed or suicidal, in rehab, their marriages breakdown. They’re searching for life – but they will never find it unless they meet Jesus – who IS life!
3. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness… (Matthew 6:33)
How often do we face a problem that we try to solve in a thousand different ways and if we can’t find a solution, then we pray?
There have been times where I have spent hours preparing a message or a sermon and found it so hard, complex and draining. But when I realise I’m doing it in my own strength, I stop, apologise to God and pray. He then usually gives me the clear message that I’d been trying to pull together myself for hours or even days!
Why do we separate our lives from our work? We really shouldn’t. Our work is a major part of our lives. After all, God did give us 6 days to work and 1 day to rest!
I often hear people talk about the ‘Work / Life balance’. I hate that. We should really stop saying it. It should be ‘Work / Rest balance’ – God gave us work and rest as a gift.
Work is mentioned 3 times BEFORE the fall. It’s not a necessary evil. It’s a gift from God.
But rest is also a gift. That’s something a lot of us need to remember!
When we seek Him first, our life starts to look dramatically different!
For example, if a church wants to recruit a pastor from another church, what normally happens?
One of the elders arranges a secret meeting at a coffee shop nowhere near his church so they don’t get seen, and they discuss the possibility of the pastor moving to the other church.
This is the worldly way. That’s how secular organisations operate. Aren’t we called to be different?
Whereas, there was a Christian guy, Steve, who ran an IT company that wanted to recruit an employee from a rival company that was also run by a Christian, so he called the owner, Bob, and asked to meet him. He explained that he had a big project come in and he thought that one of Bob’s employees – Tim – was a perfect fit and asked if it was ok to approach him.
Well, Bob was very thankful for the way the first guy had conducted himself and agreed to Tim being approached.
Tim met with the Steve and was offered the job and a higher salary. But Tim declined the job saying he’d rather earn less and work for Bob!
You see, character really is more valuable than money – unfortunately not everyone sees that.
God has plenty of money – that’s why we shouldn’t ask people to give to things unless God tells them to.
It’s HIS MONEY.
The Christian life – the AUTHENTIC Christian life – is about trusting God in all areas of our lives at all times!
Only then will we find the freedom we are promised in Christ.
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About the author
Dave Firth is a husband, father, Bible teacher and communicator. He loves the Lord and has a passion for His Word. For more info and free-to-use-Bible study tools visit www.davefirth.org
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