This last weekend, Pastor Mike taught through the second sermon in the Identity Rescripted series. Based out of Colossians, the sermon focused on the confusion we may experience if we attempt to find our identity and value specifically in our work. Mike pointed out that there are differences in the type of work we all complete, but according to God's economy all jobs are on the same level regarding importance and value. In addition, the divide between "secular" and "spiritual" jobs should not exist.
OUT OF SURGERY
Imagine a surgeon bursting through the double-swinging doors after completing a 3 1/2 hour heart surgery. Sweating and exhausted, she's in need of a well-earned rest after saving her patient’s life. As she sits down to take a break, she glances down the hall toward the shuffling noise coming from around the corner. She recognizes the sound of wheels squeaking on the hospital floor as the janitor's feeble frame comes into view. The janitor is half-sprinting down the hallway, sloshing his bucket and dropping his sponges in a hurry to prep the surgery room for the next patient. For health and safety, the room has to undergo deep cleaning. The janitor must quickly disinfect and prep the room for use with the next patient.
The surgeon has to be skillful with a scalpel. The janitor must be swift with his sponges.
In both of these professions, there are learned skills that must be performed skillfully as expected by employers even though pay and value (from a worldly standpoint) differ greatly.
There are no extra points for saving a certain number of patients’ lives.
There are no extra points for the speed at which the janitor can prepare the room.
GOOD WORKS TOWARDS OTHERS
Looking back at the sermon, one of the points that Pastor Mike made that stuck out to me specifically was in the Identity Clarity section of the sermon:
"We image God by others-focused work."
This particular point brought to mind a chapter from a book I've recently been reading called, What's Best Next by Matt Perman. In this book, Matt's primary focus of is to encourage readers to pursue productivity in life with a gospel-driven mindset. Pastor Mike's point above fit perfectly into one of the chapters that Matt wrote about putting others first in love. Matt suggests that there are six principles to putting others first in love that will lead us to be more productive through living out the Gospel. As we work through the six principles below, think of someone specific in your life. Perhaps a spouse, a brother or sister, a neighbor, or a coworker comes to mind. Whoever this person is, begin to develop actionable items in which you can demonstrate the love of Christ to them.
Having sincere goodwill towards the other person (Phil. 1:15-16)
Be truly delighted in loving and serving the other person.
Have a genuine concern and compassion for the other person.
Put the other person first (Matt 20:26-28, Phil 2:3-4)
Find out what others need, and act on those needs.
Following Christ's example of loving others will demonstrate in itself the very nature of the Gospel.
Be eager to meet needs, not reluctant (Titus 2:14)
Don't fulfill needs or do work just to check off boxes on your to-do list.
Be energetic and zealous to serve and love others.
Watch for opportunities, don't react to them (Mark 12:30-31)
Don't wait for others to drop hints that they need help.
Be on the lookout for opportunities to love others, don't just wait for them to appear before you.
Be radical in helping others, not self-protective (Matt 5:42-48)
Don't let your comfort zone get in the way of serving others.
Be vulnerable and willing to go to the extreme for others, because Christ went to the extreme for us.
Be skilled and creative in doing good, not mediocre and lazy (Prov 13:16)
Don't be apathetic while completing tasks
Serve others in ways you are particularly skilled, and enjoy the creative aspects that God has instilled within you
What does putting these principles into place do for us? Putting them into practice, with Christ at the center, will give us a Gospel-Driven mindset to serve others. They allow us to understand that we are placed here by God to work, which includes working for and serving others. We need to be on the watch to see the needs in others' lives.
Toward the end of his sermon, Pastor Mike made a comment about the Great Commission. He confirmed that we are called to go and make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Matt 28:18-20 - And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
However, Mike also drew our attention to the last part of the Great Commission, which states that we are to teach those new disciples to observe all that was commanded. He pointed out that in the Great Commission, the largest chunk of time we spend is teaching and discipling others. What a better way to teach others about the love of Christ, than to show them through serving and loving them?
Practicing these principles gives us many opportunities to demonstrate the love and essence of the Gospel of Christ to others through good works, thereby demonstrating our own faith in Christ.