T.G.I.F. – T.G.I.F. (Thank God Its Friday)

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Welcome to February 2014. What was your first month of 2014 like? Did it feel like a Monday or a Friday? Or a Wednesday?

We have been talking about Stepping Out to make a difference at home, at work in the community generally. We want to focus on the workplace and get to understand what stepping out means in what you do between Monday and Friday.

This series is for you, wherever you are. You may be in between jobs. You will get to learn how to prepare for your next job. As an entrepreneur or self-employed person, this series is most relevant. As an employee, you will learn principles to apply at work. As a government official or politician, you are in the right place.

Are you bored by your work and wondering what lasting value there is to it? Are you skeptical as to the relevance of faith in the rigors of secular work or the business world? Do you struggle with the cost of integrity and need inspiration to keep your ethical edge? Have you wondered how you can positively influence your coworkers and change the workplace? This is your series. You do not want to miss any of the four weeks.

How would you describe your workplace?

How many of you would say the workplace feels like: Pressure cooker? Hospital ceiling (boring)? Battle zone? Roller coaster? ATM machine (it’s about the check)? Gym (stretch, pain and satisfaction)?

T.G.I.F – the celebration of Fridays shows that either most people do not love their workplace (specifically deadlines and targets and supervisors) or they just love rest.

Facts about work

  • You spend about 60-80 % of your productive time at work
  • Less that 20% of the people are excited to go to work
  • For most people work is not meaningful or connected to one’s purpose
  • Work will either make you miserable or fulfilled
  • Life without work is depressing – work is central to who we are
  • For most people work is mainly about the money

4 Myths about Work

1. Work is cursed!

Most people believe that work is hard and frustrating because God cursed it in Genesis. And we can do nothing about it.  After Adam and Eve disobeyed, God told the man:

“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground.” (Genesis 3:17-19)

Is it true that work is cursed? Well, the ground was cursed and work attracted sweat and toil.  But before the fall, man was intended to work and to eat the fruit of his labor. Genesis 2:15-16: The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden.’”

Man was placed in the Garden of Pleasure to work and get fruit out of him labor. God worked for six days before he rested. Jesus was a carpenter for many years. The disciples Jesus invited to work with him were fishermen and tax collectors and a politician (zealot).  I love the way Bill Hybels puts it: “Labor was not punishment; neither was it an afterthought. Labor was the design. It was God’s way of filling man’s days with pleasant, meaningful activity.”

God places value in work. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) There is a potential for work to be deeply satisfying, but also for it to be full of despair and futility.

2. Work is secular and there is no place for faith!

In church we get to worship God and do ministry. Between Monday and Saturday we get to serve Caesar. There is nothing spiritual about engineering, medicine, teaching, accounts, carpentry and farming. In fact, it is without God.

The dualism tends to put ministry at church at a higher spiritual level. So people volunteer and give in church as a way of gaining favor before God and covering for the sins at work. It was Greek philosophy that introduced this dualism to Christianity. Plato considered the spiritual higher and the material lesser. Western thought and education embraced that. Ministry was only seen as what we do in church and for the poor.

In the Bible, all is life is lived before God. Paul did tent-making and preaching as both ministry. When Zachueus coverted, we are not told Jesus asked him to quit Jerusalem Revenue Services. Some of the most celebrated heroes of the Bible were not church priests. Joseph was a manager and a public servant. Daniel a public official. Nehemiah a governor.  Noah was a farmer. Luke was a medical practitioner.

You can be just as spiritual at work as in church. Your work is ministry as well.

3. Life is all about Career.

Many people idolize career. They will do anything to advance their career – work late, work out of town away from family for days on end, compromise on ethics if that is what it takes, endure lots of pain and humiliation and even denounce marriage. Career at all cost.

Life is about purpose. Your vocation is broader than a career. God wants to do a whole lot through you. Your career is only one of those expressions. You could be great in the kingdom anywhere, and greatness is not equals to career. It is the calling that drives work or career. Career could be set apart for a greater work.

4. One cannot find their calling or purpose at work.

The Nazis in one concentration camp made men carry soil from one part of the field to another. And then right back. All day, all week. What happened? The men lost meaning to life. They were ready to die.”

This fourth myth will be at center of our discussion this month. The truth is, you can and must find your purpose and calling in and beyond work.

The story of Daniel and his friends  is relevant to our investigation. We will refer to this biblical story all month to find guidance.  Today we start by reading… Daniel 1: 1 – 9

Daniel and his friends found themselves in a foreign country for no fault of their own. Their ancestors had rebelled against God and now they were in exile as a result. Babylon was a different place. The people did not have faith in the God of Israel. Their values were different, as we shall see next week. It was like hell for the children of Israel.

We see three things from this text:

One: It was in this place that God placed the young Jewish men. Notice verse 2: “And the Lord delivered…” However you got to your position, you can make it a God-posting! In Babylon – a wicked and idolatrous system, God placed his choice young men. You are placed or positioned by God for a purpose.

Are there some placements that are clearly not of God? Yes.

  • If the nature of job or business is innately sinful e.g. Rahab’s profession, illegal trade or destructive work.
  • If the placement contradicts your core values and there is no way around it. Examples – If it takes you away from family or compromises your ability to tell the truth or live upright.

Believers live in the marketplace; they visit their local congregations only once or twice a week. God has placed you in your workplace for a reason. It is God’s posting.

Two: These young men had been wired for the job. Verse 4: They had the gift mix and potential to enter the King’s service. You have been gifted and wired in a certain way to find your purpose in work. It is possible to do a job that satisfies you and calls you out.

Purpose may be in the job or the way you do it. For example, you may sell for an insurance firm and be gifted in connecting with people. Your purpose may be connecting with people and reaching out to them and the insurance job becomes an excuse. Work is thus a platform for you to find fulfillment and fulfill purpose.

To find one’s work is to find one’s place in the world. – Richard C. Cabot

Work is not primarily a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or should be, the full expression of the worker’s faculties, the thing in which he finds spiritual, mental, and bodily satisfaction, and the medium in which he offers himself to God. – Dorothy L. Sayers

Three: The young men were trained so as to grow into their position. We can only grow to fully express what God has given us as we train and stretch. They were trained for 3 years. (Verse 5)

Your work is a very scared matter. God delights in it, and through it, he wants to bestow his blessings on you. This praise of work should be inscribed on all tools, on the forehead and the faces that sweat from toiling. – Martin Luther

This is the key lesson for us today:

Work is a platform to live out your purpose and to honor God!

John Stott said it: “ Work is the expenditure of energy (manual or mental or both) in the service of others, which brings fulfillment to the worker, benefit to the community and glory to God.”

Monday can and should make lots of sense. For that to happen, you need to do 3 things (ABCs):

  1. Attitude change – Begin to see work not as meaningless or only worth the check, but as a placement by God!
  2. Bring God in – Surrender your work and time at work to God. Realize he is interested in every bit of what you do.
  3. Commit to growth – You honor God as you unleash all the potential and gifting that God gave you. If it’s in music, be the best. In leadership, grow and stretch. In business, show what God gave you.

Work is a platform to live out your purpose and to honor God!

Paul encouraged the Colossians to give their best to work. “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 Jesus you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23 – 24)

Work with all your heart. God is your boss. Serve him with your work.

What if we saw work as ministry posting, a platform God gives us. What if we resolved every Monday morning to fulfill purpose and honor God? I believe there would be centers for this wonderful kingdom across the city. And the workplace would be a better place for everyone.

Remember: Work is a platform to live out your purpose and to honor God!

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19 Responses to “T.G.I.F. – T.G.I.F. (Thank God Its Friday)”

  1. Evans Mwakera Says:

    Thanks for this powerful Sermon! We should truly work to serve a purpose! We should work to be satisfied, to be fulfilled and God be glorified at the same time! May GOD help us do His Word! For truly, Work is a platform to live out your purpose and to honor God!

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  2. You cannot feel like each working day is a friday when you dont have the work.I need a job.

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  3. Imani (Nickname) Says:

    Today’s summon hit the nail on the head. I love my job and my work place because every morning we normally pray as a team before we start the day albeit not all staff. As much as i look forward to going to work, this has not always been the case. I had a boss who was always against me and would always incite our country director saying that i do not work. Since he was my direct boss, any innovative ideas i shared with him went down the drain. Another day in front of the whole team he told me he HATED me. This crushed me to bits and i was only 6 months old in the organization. It seemed like the more i prayed the worse things got. This January God answered my prayers. We received information that my boss has resigned. To me it wasn’t shock but an answered prayer because i asked God to remove me from the org or remove him from my way. He was placed under notice because of non-performance and if he didn’t resign he would have been dismissed so he opted for the latter.

    Through all this i have learnt that WHEREVER GOD HAS PLANTED YOU NO MAN CAN UPROOT YOU AND THAT ITS NOT OVER TILL GOD SAYS IT IS.

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  4. I wonder where Pastor S’s prayer over and on and for work that we said yesterday is.

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  5. Hi Pastor S. Thank you for the great sermon. It has psyched me to step out and be the man Gad has called me to be at the workplace.

    You gave us a prayer to pray everyday and said that you would post it on the website. I have not seen it. Kindly post it. It is a prayer I would like to pray everyday when I get to the workplace.

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  6. No worries Pasi. I have found it. Thank you. God bless you

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  7. Yesterday’s sermon was an eye-opener of the greater purpose we serve as we work to honor God. So, today actually doesnt feel like a monday..TGIF! I will work towards the greater good!
    Thank you Ps.S.

    *KINDLY UPLOAD THE PRAYER…

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    • Here is the everyday prayer before you go to work this week: Almighty God I invite you today to go to work with me. Help me to use my work as a platform to fulfill my purpose and to honor you. I surrender the day and my work to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

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  8. GETRUDE ADENDE Says:

    Well for starters i was not sure if i was goingtomake it for church but my loving boyfrd (Carl Hanson ) came just intime before i said we can’t makeit to church, was ready and out neja we were. The sermon like it was for me and for him, i am working a in a logistics company adn my is it hell on earth and yes i wait for that Friday same as iwait for salary pay:) heheheh. so its crazy,withKRA systems,KPA at Port,transporters and company systems so yah it s not a fun place to be at. Before sometine last year i had a problem of little tensionfrom boss not because of anything i did wrong but for some reason our bloos dint mix…so i decided that nothing can beat prayer…i went in to fasting and prayer for God to intervene well in a while there was a reshuffle in the husbands company and he was posted to South Africa and guess what she was going to Walalalala…that was my reaction. But at the end of it i felt sad,goodnes me i was appoitend to plan her farewellcocktail, i was chosen to give the goodbye speech yahh! i thought really! but throught the palnning and checks with her for her cocktail we started bonding well but it was too late as she was leaving. But i did thank Go dbecause the speech i gave was quite touching that she was moved to tears. So things were okay until ths year when i have adavanced my education i started felling am not being paid for all the trouble i go through you know :! mmhh going to the yard, following up on shipments hard i have a policy that if you dnt like what you see or where you at then do something about it but do not complain. I started looking for qa job and i ahd gone for the first interviwe and if you qualify youwillbe called for the second interview and Sunday after the sermon you made trhe prayer that affected me i have been called today for the second interview on Friday of this week. Now i hope i get throught and make the cahnge…because i put God in it and we prayerd about for me to secure the jobfor my boyfrd he got so many things going on…his incharge of WERU ElectricalCompany, he has his quail business (yah right!quails….and he had aslo has this good amazing proposal to offer to the banks when we left church he told i need to sort things out and commit to growth and what an eye opening to this whole matter that we never considered to involve God adn his word. Pastor Mbevi i believe as i move my job it will be God who will positionme because i asked him to do so. I have already told me to go before me and prepare that workplace adn i will do him proud and bring glory to hi name. Stay blessed

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  9. Hi….the sermon was great….i pray i will be able to glorify God at my workplace. But honestly, there are just those bad days, even that call from a client irritates you….at that point, do i take ina deep breath and smile or i be real to myself ? and of bosses that may spoil that beautiful day….Pastor S it may sound easy at times, bt practically may be hard day to day….finally, is there a possibilty that you could be in the wrong job? eg like a stepping stone to another one?

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  10. This sermon changed the way I perceive my work, its much better greater and better

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  11. Prayer?

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  12. I am in a new Job as of January 2014,The pressure is building and the deadlines fast approaching. I am trusting God that I may succeed to the honour and Glory of his name. psalms:115:1 Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.

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  13. Akinyi Ojee Says:

    Amazing sermon this is pastor S………thank you!!
    I remember the ABC’s that will give me reason to keep doing my work as unto the Lord-Colossians 3;23…..24
    A-Attitude change-The areas and people i feel negative about at work…..I am praying about and choosing the month of February as my month of thanksgiving……faith is going to work when there is no cheque in the bank……January salary unpaid….
    B-Bring God to work-Bringing God to work means i am sensitive to divine interruptions….when my intern needs to talk about bio hazards at work and exposure and needing to take drugs to prevent infection that are making her feel sick and afraid….and taking time to pray and support through this process
    C-Commit to growth-means God uses my work as a tool to refine me and as His image bearer….I go to work to make God look great….that as i work for the Lord not men,i see God’s workmanship and design for work to fulfill a need to care for others ,benefit to community as the children and mothers say thank you and i take time to give God glory for allowing me to partner with Him and God is glorified as i commit to seeing my work place is change for God…..
    That i may not tire in this service….God helping me
    You gave me a fresh perspective on my work and calling.
    God bless you,
    Rejuvenated

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  14. I came into the sermon with a positive mind that despite not being at work it would still apply, some day. So i sat and enjoyed it, took notes and shared with my family after knowing it would immediately apply to them-coz they were working, right? Wrong. So on Sunday i stood up when Pastor S asked to pray for those looking for jobs and i whispered to God-“i do alot of these altar calls please bring this one to pass soon(my target since Dec. when i resigned was Feb 2014-to start really job hunting).”

    Well now i can testify that i start my new job on Monday 10th Feb. 2014! Not only is it in Feb. but i got a job that i loved, in an industry i truly wanted to be even when it seemed it was the hardest to get into.

    Moral of the story is that the rest of the sermon will now really apply to me and greatest of all, God answers prayers and will always keep His promises, you just surrender and Let God!

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  15. Work in Progress Says:

    work in progress

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  16. Work in Progress Says:

    Am leaving the office now..
    4 hours later from my job description time.
    Reason.. I had a target to meet.
    I have had the same targets for the past few months but been leaving work at my exact official time with a met target.
    Well a fake met target.

    Thing is, a colleague taught me how to `fix the tool` that it doctors my output figures for the day. IT stuff that I dont understand so wunt explain… but yes.
    Until I showed up for sermon two weeks ago and pst S `brilliantly` asked us to tell the neighbor wot stuff we do at work that we shunt be doing.
    My neighbor is always my amazing boyfriend. So I confessed. And we laughed about it. But he looked at me with shocked eyes I could tell he was shocked am capable of that. He only said one statement though, that he would never do that He is better off not meeting his targets than meeting them unjustly.
    The guilt that landed on my spirit since that moment is beyond tell.

    So I have been battling with the guilt all these days.. I wake up, purpose to be honest that day, even pray in the car on my way to work that Go to help me be honest, but wen my leaving time clicks and am far off the target.. I peep at my boss and do the obvious. I had grown addicted.

    Until today. To be honest even today I did the same when my home time cliqd.. but on my way out a voice within whispered asking me where am I rushing to go that warrants the lie? What would that boss do to me if I just went and honestly explained my strain or better yet, wot bone in me would break if I worked beyond my official time to do a right job?
    Suddenly I longed for peace.
    So humbly I went back to my computer, deleted all the errors and picked up on my pending job. Guess what; apparently I haven’t dropped dead for working extra hours! If anything av taken less time that I expected.
    And do i feel genuinely at peace or what?
    I was just thinking to myself as I log out `by the way God.. I want to keep up an honest work life.. and av been trying.. but you need to meet me halfway here.`

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