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Debunking “Sabbath”

restless Jun 17, 2019

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.” He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven’t you read in the Law that the priests on Sabbath duty in the temple desecrate the Sabbath and yet are innocent? I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:1-8)

Last week, we established that the solution to our restlessness can be found in Sabbath-like rest...

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New Series: Restless

restless Jun 10, 2019

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

Your phone is blowing up. Your calendar is out of control. Your to-do list feels never-ending. Your mind won’t stop racing. And when you wake up in the morning, you’re immediately confronted with the subtle hum of anxiety that follows you throughout the day.

Sound familiar? Today, more than ever before, we are restless. I would argue there are three major factors contributing to the restlessness of today’s Christian. First, we (like the rest of the world) are spending so much time consuming entertainment, social media, apps, and games, that these good things that were meant to be life-giving have actually become life-sucking. Second, we aren’t taking the time to “enter [the Lord’s] gates with thanksgiving,” leading to discontent and a restless drive to achieve and...

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Time to Change Jobs?

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

Over the last three weeks, we have looked at a number of Scriptures that can help us respond well to jobs we don’t love. But all of these responses have assumed staying in your current job. Today, we turn to our final biblical response to work we don’t love: changing your job entirely.

Now, I have saved this response for last because I am afraid it is often the first and only response we consider when we feel stuck in a job we don’t love. But the fact is that there are situations in which making a career move is the most God-honoring thing you can do. This is especially true if it is clear that you are in a job that doesn’t match your skill-sets and you see no path to achieving mastery of your current craft....

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Job, Career, or Calling

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:22-24)

Last week, we saw how Scripture instructs us to honor and respect our employers, even when we hate our jobs. One of the ways we do that is by obeying the biblical command to work hard and with excellence. In Colossians 3:23, Paul says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

Here, Paul is reminding us that even when we are dissatisfied with our jobs, bosses, or employers, we are to work with everything we’ve got. Why? Because ultimately, we aren’t working for our “human...

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Bad Bosses

Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. (1 Timothy 6:1)

The dominant wisdom the world offers people who don’t love our jobs is to simply quit and move on to a better opportunity. As we will see later in this devotional series, changing your job is a biblical response to work you don’t love, but it is far from the only God-honoring course of action. But regardless of whether you stay or leave your current position, all Christians should be troubled by the tone in which worldly career gurus encourage us to quit our jobs. The overriding tone of this advice has a very “stick it to the man” ring to it. By casting bad bosses and unhealthy corporate cultures as the villains, many talking heads would have you believe that you are doing a heroic thing by disrespecting your employer before, during, and after your departure from the...

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New Series: What to Do When You Don’t Love Your Job

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)

When you’re in a job you don’t love, it can be easy to forget that work was a part of God’s perfect design for us. As Genesis 1 and 2 make clear, work existed prior to sin, with God inviting Adam and Eve to co-create with Him, “filling the earth” with the work of their hands. But as soon as sin entered the picture, work became difficult and painful—a reality we still experience today.

According to a 2017...

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Paul’s Model for Our Work

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. (2 Thessalonians 3:6-9)

In Acts 18:1-3, we are given a front-row seat to the third and final reason why Paul appears to have chosen to work as a tentmaker: so that he could effectively disciple other Christians. In these verses, we are told that, upon arriving in Corinth, Paul met Priscilla and Aquila, “and because [Paul] was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them”...

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Where Christ is Not Known

It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. (Romans 15:20)

As we have been exploring throughout this devotional series, Paul chose to work as a tentmaker in conjunction with his preaching ministry for some very deliberate reasons. Last week, we saw that Paul worked in the marketplace as a means of “becoming all things to all people” and “winning the respect of outsiders.” But why was Paul so eager to win the respect of the lost? In Romans 15:20, Paul alludes to the answer, saying, “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known.” Paul worked as a tentmaker to become all things to all people so that he might increase his opportunities to preach the gospel to those who had yet to hear it.

Paul’s work as a tentmaker would have allowed him to preach the gospel in two powerful ways: through his actions and his...

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How Paul won “the respect of outsiders”

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)

After spending the first twenty-one verses of 1 Corinthians 9 defending his right to raise financial support to preach the gospel, Paul gives us the clearest explanation as to why he chose to continue to work as a tentmaker. In verses 22 and 23 he writes, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel.”

Paul understood that, in order for the gospel to be heard, followers of Christ must first be able to relate to those we are ministering to. And there is perhaps no more effective place to do this than in the workplace where we spend the majority of our waking hours and have a natural environment for building genuine relationships with...

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New Series: Paul and the Call to Create

To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:20-23)

The apostle Paul is one of the great heroes of the Christian faith—the man the risen Christ chose to help spread the gospel and accelerate the growth of Christianity throughout the world. While Paul’s work as an effective preacher is well-known, what the Church almost never talks about is the fact that throughout his career planting and preaching to churches, Paul also worked as a...

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