What’s the first job you ever had?  My very first job was working for a church.  Before you think, “Wow! How spiritual that young man must have been,” or “How Jeremiah 1:5—that God had his hand on Ryan’s life from a very young age”……before you go there, let me tell you how I got said job at the church.  I was required by the State of Colorado to be of service to my community.  Middle freshman year in high school caught up with me a little bit and I made some bad decisions, got caught {Praise the Lord!}, and was asked to be of service to my community, so I was of service to my church community.  I actually stacked all the chairs in a big sanctuary and then wheeled them to a closet after service on Sunday.  I did such a great job that they hired me to actually do it after I was done.  Every Sunday afternoon, I would have my little radio set up on the stairs in the church, listening to the Bronco game and doing my job.  I had a complicated relationship with work from the beginning.  I just wanted to get it done and over with so I could go actually watch the Bronco game.

I think a lot of us, if we were to be honest, have a relationship with work that’s a little bit complicated.  Anyone want to say that they have a complicated relationship with work?  We do!  Part of it is that we spend an awful lot of time at our jobs.  Think about it.  How much are your waking hours are actually spent working?  {Research shows…} Roughly we live somewhere around 78 years.  If you divide up the time by how we spend our time typically, here’s what they found out through a number of different surveys {World Bank, Bureau of Labor & Statistics}.  They said we spend 28.3 YEARS of our life sleeping.  The second most allotted time you and I spend in our lives is working.  We spend 10.5 YEARS of our life working!  Do a little bit of research and here’s what you’ll find right now—-well over 50% of people say they dislike their job.  In 1987 it was 40% of people who didn’t like their job.  Now it’s around 52-53% (depending on the survey).  Statistically speaking, over half of us, in this room, would say, “We’re going to spend 10.5 YEARS of our life doing something that we don’t really love a whole lot.”  Not only that, but a recent study put out by Gallup research said that happiness in our job is actually one of the main indicators, or main predictors, of being successful in the workplace.  The happier you are at your workplace, the more productive you are.  The more you enjoy going to work, the better job you do. It’s a cyclical pattern, isn’t it?  You stack all these things on top of each other…..we spend a lot of our time working.  Many of us don’t like what we do.  Our productivity and success in our job is a large part driven by how much we enjoy what we’re doing.  So we’re in a little bit of a tough place with work, aren’t we?  We have a complicated relationship with our work life.

What if there was a small mind-shift, just a small change we could make, that would redefine the way that we spend these forty-plus hours a week, or these ten years of our life?  What if there’s just a small tweak that, as the Scriptures press on us, we could make in our heart and in our thinking that would really dramatically change that time and, in many ways, redeem it?  I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but the Scriptures speak a lot to our work life.  They speak a lot to what happens, not just on a Sunday morning for one hour, but to what happens in the forty-plus hours we spend in a cubicle, or a field, or in an office, or wherever you are.  The Scriptures speak to you. They speak to the way we go about our work.  I believe, this morning, that the Bible wants to teach us all how to find greater purpose in the work that we do.  Whether it’s as a mom or as a missionary.  Whether it’s as an accountant or an architect.  Whether it’s as someone who is in business, or teaching, or trench digging.  Whatever you do….I’m convinced the Scriptures want to press on us and push us into more joy and meaning in these 10.5 years that we’ll spend in our jobs.  Now, given that we spend that much time there, would you agree with me that this is sort of important, yes?

Let’s just ask, “What DOES the Bible say about work?”  We’re in the book of Proverbs 16.  If you’ve been with us this summer, we’re in a series in the book of Proverbs.  Proverbs is all about really practical wisdom.  Solomon, the author of many of the proverbs, wants to press on his audience (his son, specifically and his family) how to live in line with the way that God has actually created the world.  That’s what wisdom is.  Wisdom is stepping into life, stepping into reality, stepping into truth and saying, “We’re going to live our lives in the way that God has designed us to live our lives.”  So, praise the Lord, the Bible doesn’t skip out on telling us how we should operate in our work.

Proverbs 16:1-3 — The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.  All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.  Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.   The skeptics in the room, even those that are people of faith, are going it can’t be that simple.  It can’t be that simple, Ryan, that all we have to do is commit our work to the Lord and he’ll establish our plans?  So whatever we dream, whatever we hope, if we commit it to Him, he’s going to just put his rubber stamp on it and go now you got it?  Remember, proverbs are principles, not promises.  This is a general abiding principle of the way that God has wired the world to work.  You may go, “Hey, sometimes this doesn’t work for me,” and Solomon would go, “No, I understand that.”  But, generally this is true and this holds up.  We’ve got to dive into the words a little bit.  The words in verse 3 really matter.  In the King James Version of this same Scripture, it says this:  Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.  A little bit different.  In the New Living Translation it says:  Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.  

The word ‘commit’ in the Hebrew is literally the word “to throw off” or “to throw aside.”  It was used when somebody would walk up to a well that had a covering on it.  They would take the covering off the well and put it off to the side so you could access the water that was down in the well.  It’s this picture of carrying a burden and you say, “I’m not going to carry that anymore.  I’m not going to carry that in the same way.  That’s not going to weigh me down.”  So, throw off your work, your actions, your deeds, what you do in life, the way that you live 24 hours a day….throw that off to the Lord.  Give it to him, not to go back and pick it back up, but trust him with it and your plans…..   A way better translation of this word ‘plans’ is ‘thoughts or mind.’  If you roll away or throw off your work to the Lord, if you trust him with it, your mind will be established.  It’s this picture of a foundation that a house is built on.  So put it all together, what Solomon’s saying.  He’s saying that when we approach our work in such a way where we take it off of our shoulders and put it on God’s….  The song Aaron wrote ties in beautifully…that we trust Him to build something, trust Him to multiply, trust Him to make the meaning.  We take it off of our shoulders—all that pressure—and we put it on Him.  It’s not that God says yes to every dream that we have, it’s that God says yes to the peace and the security of our minds.  You’ll be grounded in him!  So here’s the principle of the Scriptures that leads us to how we approach our work — Work surrendered to God leads to a mind securein God.

Work surrendered to God….God, this is yours.  I want you to do with it what you will.  I want you to make of it what you will.  I want you to be not only the Lord over my life and the Lord over my salvation, but I want you to be the Lord over those 10.5 years that I’m going to spend in a cubicle, or in a field, or in an office, or in a boardroom (whatever it looks like for you)….God, I want you to be Lord over that as well.   Solomon says that when you throw that off to him, your mind can sort of take a deep breath and go…oohhh yeah, that was a lot of pressure to carry.  That was a lot of weight—to make meaning out of all of that time and all of that energy and all of that effort.  So the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Colossae — Whatever you do, {Fill in your occupation here.  Are you a mom?  Whatever you do.  Are you a business person? Whatever you do.  Are you an engineer?  Whatever you do.}  ..work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. (Col. 3:23)    Whatever you do, work for Him.  When our work is surrendered to God, we step back into the blessing of God.  You and I would probably agree that part of the reason that 52.3% of us would raise our hand and go, “Man, I’m not sure I love my job,” is because we’re wrestling with the way it connects to God’s greater purpose, to actually leaving a legacy, to doing something significant.  So, I just want to take a brief moment and reframe work for us.  I want to give you three things work is designed to be and then, for the rest of the time, I want to teach us, collectively, from the Scriptures, how we can, literally, throw off our work to the Lord.

Three things work is designed to be:  1)  You are wired to work for provision.  To provide for your friends, for your family, for the food that’s on your table.  I think one of the greatest blessings of being a dad is to sit around the table and to watch my kids eat and to know that they have enough and to know that they have clothes on their back and that they’re able to do the things that they love to do.  I love being able to provide for the people that I love.  Who’s with me?  It’s one of the great blessings of work…provision.

Second is contribution.  Not just to your family, but to the greater good, the common good of our society. Here’s what happened—-We’ve drawn a distinction between secular jobs and sacred jobs.  Some jobs are good and blessed by God because God uses them, for example, my job would be considered a “sacred” job.  Other jobs….listen, if you do plumbing—except if you do my plumbing then it’s sacred…. Other jobs, well, those are secular jobs.  Did you know that you can’t find that in the Scriptures?  We’ve lost the idea and the reality that every job that contributes to the common good of humanity, which in some way they all do, is a sacred job. Martin Luther, back in the 16th century, said that we often pray, “God, give me this day my daily bread.” Luther said we’ve got to think about how God answers that prayer, because he does answer that prayer.  But think about how he answers it.  How many of you have seen a loaf of bread fall out of the sky?  {No hands in the air.} So how does God answer the prayer ‘Give us today our daily bread?’  Well, a farmer goes to work.  A farmer tills a field and plants seed in the field.  God brings the rain and the farmer has an irrigation system that waters it also.  Then, in harvest time, the farmer harvests the grain.  Then he sells the grain and he sells the grain to somebody who bakes the grain.  Then somebody picks up the bread and takes it to the store.  Somebody else stocks the bread on the shelf…..it’s really a wonder that all this bread shows up.  Somebody sells you the bread.  You then get in your car that’s maintained by some mechanic, drive home to your house that was built by a carpenter, sit at your table that you built from IKEA….    You sit down at your table and pray, “God, thank you for our bread.”  God’s going, “You’re welcome and you can also thank the farmer…and the harvester, and the baker, and the stocker, and all of these jobs.”  Martin Luther argued is that you can do this with any occupation to see the way that they’re contributing to the good of society and culture.

We work for provision.  We work for contribution.  And we work because it’s in our bones to be creative.  To make something of the world that God has made is a human endeavor.  If you look at it from the beginning of time, people have been saying, “We should make something of what God has made.”  It’s called culture….creating culture.  It is not unique for us to want to contribute, to want to make something.  It’s in our bones.  Whatever you do is for provision, it’s for contribution, and it’s because God has put it in you to be creative.  This morning, one of the things I want to do is to redeem work a little bit and say that it’s not just a job you’re called to do—whatever you’re called to do—it is a calling.  It’s a vocation.  Vocation is our call to bear the image of God faithfully by living with God for the world.  With God for the world, that we remember that we are people created in the image of God.  By the way, being workers is part of God’s creation, not part of the fall of humanity.  In Genesis 2:15, before sin ever enters into the picture, God approaches Adam in the garden:  The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.   This is before sin enters into the picture, before the fall of humanity.  You and I are called to carry the image of God by living with God, not just for God, but living with God for the good of his world.  What does that look like as a teacher?  What does that look like in business?  What does that look like in marketing?  What does that look like in real estate?  What does that look like where God has placed you?  All work is sacred…because we provide, because we contribute, because we create, because it’s what God designed us to do.

The question becomes….alright, Paulson, that’s reframed work a little bit for me, but how do we really roll it off?  How do we say God, this is yours and I want you to make much of it?  What does that actually look like? The Proverbs talk a lot about that truth and that reality, so let me give you four ways that we throw it off. Four ways we roll it over to God and say, “God, I want you to be not just Lord over my salvation, but Lord over my work.”  Proverbs 26:13 says this:  The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road!  There is a lion in the streets!” What’s he doing?  He’s painting this picture of somebody that’s trying to push back against their calling and responsibility to work by making all sorts of excuses.  I couldn’t possibly go to work today….there’s a lion in the road.   How many of you have run into a lion on your way to work?  It was as rare for them as it was for us.  For the person to say, “The dog ate my homework,” right?  If you’re a teacher, you’ve heard something to that effect, right?  We’re the king of excuses; we make them all the time.  Here’s the way we start to roll off, or surrender, or commit our work to God.  Our excuses start to give way to execution.  Instead of making excuses as to why I can’t get the job done, or why it’s going to take too long to do that, or…..this system that’s created is absolutely ridiculous.  Does anybody have some ridiculous systems at the work that they do?  {Most of us do.} It’s called working in a fallen organization.  Not every system works perfectly.  Here’s the humbling part—If you’re ever the person that’s in charge of the systems, they won’t work perfectly when you’re in charge either! {I was the best senior pastor I knew when I was a youth pastor.}

Here’s the deal—With our work and in regards to our work, we can either make excuses or we can work towards execution.  Here’s the way that Solomon says it: In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. (Prov. 14:23)   I read a study a number of years ago that said if you have an idea—an idea for a business (like on Shark Tank)—here’s what the experts would suggest to you: Don’t talk about the idea.  Don’t share it with too many people and don’t beat it to death.  Don’t TALK about your idea….work on your idea.  When we start talking about something, we actually believe that we are doing it.  There’s a difference between talking about something and doing something.  If you’re self-employed, you can just remind yourself of that.  If you work for somebody else, your boss will thank you tomorrow.  If you go in and go, “Hey, I’m not just going to talk about my job, I’m going to do it.”  Here’s one of the main ways we talk instead of working…..we complain!  This system isn’t perfect.  I’m not being treated right.  This is somebody else’s job.  Those things may all very well be true, but what we’re doing as we’re complaining is we’re convincing ourselves we’re actually working when all we’re doing is talking.  The Scriptures will say in Paul’s writing to the church at Philippi, right after he says your attitude should be that of Christ Jesus who, being in very nature God, didn’t consider equality with God something to be grasped, but lowered himself to take on the nature of a servant (Phil. 2:6) —- Do all things without grumbling or disputing, {NIV says without complaining.} that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom {…when you don’t grumble or complain or dispute…} you shine as lights in the world. (Phil. 2:14-15) You want to stand out in your workplace?  Work.  Just don’t talk.  I’m serious.  Your boss will be like, “Something’s different about that person.  I can’t put my finger on it.  What is it that they’re doing?”  They’re working!!  I love the way that Randy Pausch put it.  He wrote the book Last Lecture, shortly after he found out he had pancreatic cancer.  He was a college professor who wanted to impart something to his students: “Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. {Quick timeout—Complaining takes both.}  Any time we spend time whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals.  And it won’t make us happier.”   Yeah, absolutely!

Excuses give way to execution and talk, not just landing there but actually leading to toil and work.  The second way it happens is from Proverbs 13:4 — The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.    Here’s what Solomon says to his son….Hey, son, look up at me for just a second. It’s one thing to want something, it’s another thing to work for something and don’t confuse the two.  Here’s what we would call wanting something without being willing to work for it.  There’s a word for that.  It’s called entitlement.  In many ways, we’re raising a very entitled generation, where they crave but they’re not willing to work.  That’s MY generation — we crave, but we’re not willing to work.  We want the dream job without being ready or willing to work the entry-level position. Here’s what one person may say: “I’m going to work on execution, I’m not going to make excuses.”  The person who makes excuses says, “I’m only going to work hard when I get the job I really want and I really like.”  The person who values execution says, “I’m going to work hard in any role that I’m in to do my best and to trust that God will lead and that God will provide.”  There’s a difference.  I love the way Tom Nelson, in his great book Work Matters, says it:  “Work is where perseverance, proven character, and hope are deeply forged.”  Yes and amen.

So, here’s what we do to throw it off:  First, we allow excuses to give way to execution.  Second….lot of verses coming at you, but we’re just going to read through them, okay?  Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. (Prov. 6:6)  The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor. (Prov. 12:24)  Proverbs 15:19 — The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway.  Proverbs 19: 24 — The sluggard buries his hand in the dish and will not even bring it back to his mouth.  {I love it!!  They thought it was so good that it’s actually in Proverbs twice.  So is the lion-in-the-street line!  I love it.  They’re like, you can’t miss this.}  Proverbs 26:16 — The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.  

Let’s be real for a moment and just step back.  The sluggard is someone who is idle or habitually idle. Somebody who’s lazy and, as you can see here, somebody who’s distracted.  Somebody who wants to fight against the wisdom that God’s wired into creation to say that no, hard work does pay off, hard work does provide for my family, hard work does all these things…..the sluggard is one to sleep through his commitments and his work, instead of actually being diligent.  The Scriptures go on to say:  The plans of the diligent {The person who works hard, even when it’s hard.} lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. (Prov. 21:5)   Here’s the second movement.  The first one is from excuses to execution; the second one is exhaustion is abandoned for diligence.  The sluggard is somebody who is exhausted and we’ll talk about why in a second. The sluggard is somebody who’s energy is depleted constantly and always.  The diligent is somebody who’s working hard even when it’s hard.

As I thought about this and diligence, my mind immediately went to George Whitefield, the great English preacher of the 18th century.  George Whitefield, before the times of planes and automobiles, preached to roughly 80% of the Colonies in the 1700s.  He gave 18,000 sermons!  Do the math!  He didn’t preach every single day.  If he would have that would have been roughly 48 or 49 years every day giving a sermon.  He made seven trips from where he was born in England over to the United States, and during those times just preached up and down, up and down, up and down (the coast).  He’s one of the fathers of the Great Awakening here in the Americas.  Unbelievable man!  Some would estimate that he preached to somewhere around ten million people…before there was Internet.  He’d wake up at 4 A.M. in the morning and start preaching at 5 or 6 A.M. {Which, by the way, we’re starting our 5 A.M. service next week!  I’m inspired!}  Unbelievable!  When it was hard, he kept going.

When it’s hard at your workplace, what do you do?  The reality, friends, is that exhaustion isn’t just from energy depletion, it’s also from vision depletion.  It’s because we lose sight of the way God’s at work within our work, and the fact that there’s a calling over our life, and that God is good even in giving us this thing that we call work.  I think people who navigate exhaustion well do two things.  One, they understand that in life there are seasons.  Proverbs (20:4) talks about this — The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.  The book of Proverbs is saying that there’s a time that you have to work and it’s not all the time.  It’s not every single moment of every single day; there’s SEASONS where you’ve got to press hard and there’s things that you have to get done.  Parents, every season is not going to be changing dirty diapers.  It’s not.  Every season won’t be getting woken up in the middle of the night—at least not for crying babies, maybe for other reasons.  Not all seasons are harvest seasons either.  I think we lose energy and turn towards exhaustion when we’re hoping for the harvest and it’s another season of sowing.  Whatever season you’re in right now in your workplace, would you recognize that it’s a season?  Even it’s a really good season, it’s just a season. If it’s good, enjoy it.  If it’s difficult, endure it and know that it too will pass.  If it’s a sowing season, do it faithfully.

Instead of embracing the season, the sluggard sleeps.  Sleep is just simply an ancient escape.  I was trying to imagine what it would be if it were today.  I think today it would be social media, binging another Netflix show, or watching something else on TV, however we avoid diligence and slip into exhaustion.  Have you ever realized that binging that show on Netflix never actually feels good in the end?  Nobody ever wakes up the next day and goes, “Now THAT was a good decision.”  Nobody ever wakes up and goes, “You know what?  Since I spent the whole day on the couch, NOW I feel rested.”  Have you recognized that?  It’s not actually rejuvenating for our soul, it just occupies our brain for a moment and then we’re back.  And we’re like, “I’m exhausted!”

Secondly, the people that navigate exhaustion well understand the value of planning.  The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps. (Prov. 14:15)    We can go and do a number of verses, but the value of planning is all throughout the Proverbs.  Benjamin Franklin, in one of his proverbs, said:  “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”  If you have a plan, you know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and you’re ready for the season that God has you in.  Those two things go hand-in-hand.

{I’m going to fly through the rest of these.} Number three — Do you see a man skillful in his work?  He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men. (Prov. 22:29)   Remember, principle not promise.  Not everyone that’s skillful in their work is going to stand before kings, but the principle of the matter is….what do you focus on in your work?  You don’t focus on trying to get the promotion.  You don’t focus on trying to get the raise.  You don’t focus on trying to climb the corporate ladder.  Proverbs says if you’re skillful and if you’re diligent, those things take care of themselves.  Skillful, in the Hebrew, is gifted.  This is something that is wired into your bones.  Look at the skillful person and his work — Somehow God continues to raise that person to the top.  Not because they want to get there, but because they’re excellent at what they do.  Here’s how we’ll say it today — Instead of advancement…I want to make it to the next level; I want more people under me; I want the office in the corner….    Instead of the focal point being I want to continue to move up, the focal point is I want to do what God has called me to do as best as I can.  I want to be a little bit better tomorrow than I was today.  It’s this chasing after excellence not advancement.  {Slide — Advancement is exchanged for excellence.}

Excellence is important.  I love the way that Dorothy Sayers, in her great little essay called Why Work?, says this:  “The church has forgotten that the secular vocation is sacred.  Forgotten that a building must be good architecture before it can be a good church; that a painting must be well painted before it can be a good sacred picture; that work must be good work before it can call itself God’s work.”  AMEN!  She’s saying that excellence is important.  We’ve got to take what we do seriously.  My encouragement to you comes from people that are way smarter than me….Instead of being goal-oriented, or advancement-oriented, be growth-oriented.  Think about how you want to continue to grow, whatever profession you’re in, whatever vocation you’re in.  How do you want to continue to grow?  Then trust that God would allow you to stand before whoever God wants you to stand before, but be growth-oriented instead of goal-oriented, instead of trying to climb the corporate ladder.

One of the things I love about Proverbs is that it’s followed by Ecclesiastes.  If you read both of them back-to-back, Proverbs paints this idealistic picture of the way that wisdom works in the world.  Then Solomon goes in Ecclesiastes, “Well, some of the time THAT doesn’t work.”  One of those times is when he talks about work.  In Ecclesiastes 2:18, he says: I hated all my toil…  {I’m like, “Dude, we just got done taking advice from somebody who says, ‘I hated my work.'”}  …in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me.  His son, right?  He’s like, “I’m raising this moron who I’m going to have to give all of this to.” That’s what he’s saying, I’m just reading between the lines a little bit.  He’s where most of us are.  Man, we work so hard and we invest so much of our time and our energy into something that isn’t going to last in the way that we hoped it would.  That’s his lament.

Then he comes to this conclusion in verse 24:  There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil.  {Not only in the work that he’s doing, but in the fact that his work is producing.  In order to find enjoyment in your toil, you have to step back from your toil.  You have to be willing to stop.  You have to be willing to pause.}  This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?  {He’s saying you’ve got to press into God if those things are even going to be good or taste good or bring joy, because they don’t in and of themselves.  Verse 26.}  For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, {This is the person who’s unwilling to roll off their work to God.}  only to give to one who pleases God.  This also is vanity and a striving after wind.   Here’s what Solomon invites us to in Ecclesiastes — Work, in and of itself, is a dead end.  But work under the banner of God’s design and God’s calling and God’s goodness, and, when we’re willing to step back and enjoy it and recognize……here’s what Solomon’s really wrestling with — I’ve built my identity in my work and it can’t handle that weight.  I’ve put too much prominence in what I produce.  The recognition he comes to at the end of his life is I can’t take any of this with me when I go.  The person who rolls off their work, or surrenders it to God and makes him Lord of their life and Lord of their work, is the person that’s able to say, “Okay, God.  I’m going to move from being disenchanted with work because it’s not who I am and it’s not all that I have. It isn’t my identity and it isn’t my idol.  I’m giving it to you.”  The person that does that, ironically, steps into the joy of God’s design in their work.  {Slide — Disenchantment diminishes for delight.}

I’m going to invite Aaron to come up for a moment and lead us in one last song.  But what is it for you?  Where are you at with your work?  Are you encouraged?  Are you discouraged?  Which of those points that we talked about today—-how we roll off our work….    Maybe it’s just that.  Maybe it’s a surrender piece.  Is it excuses?  Is it excellence?  Is it delight?  What is it for you?  How does your work connect to God’s design?  Here’s the beauty of where we find ourselves this morning, friends.  The truth of the matter is that you and I are freed to work with confidence, we’re free to surrender our work to Jesus, because Jesus has already completed the hardest work.  The redemption, the hope, the restoration.  You and I are free to spend those 10.5 years of our life working under the banner of his goodness and under the banner of his design, because the hardest work—reconciling us with God—has already been taken care of.  I’ve seen you live into this.  Our high school students serving in Mexico a few weeks ago; I saw the pictures of the way you lived into this.  I see the way our Whiz Kids tutors live into this.  The parents who care for special needs kids — I see the way you embrace your mantle of work.  People who work hard, in this place, volunteering AFTER they’ve worked hard at their jobs—-I see the way that you’re doing this and it’s beautiful.  Let’s not leave it here, let’s carry it into our Monday, also.

Lord, thank you for your design in work, your calling in work, and your blessing over work.  Lord, I pray that you would help us to be people who don’t make excuses, but who work.  That we would be people, Lord, who don’t get exhausted, but understand that those are seasons and continue to work hard.  Father, that we would be the kind of people who find delight in our work because of your blessing over it.  It’s in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.