Show Me the Way Finding Direction in Your Life's Work
Sermon Summery

This message discusses the fact that God wants to give us direction when it comes to our life’s work. God has gifted each of us with certain strengths, gifts, and abilities and He desires for us to use those to accomplish His will for our lives. There are two myths that are busted in this message. The first is the myth that if you are doing God’s will you will be miserable. So many think if you are happy or enjoy what you do it must not be Godly. This myth is debunked. The second is the myth that if you truly surrender to God’s will you have to be a full time, vocational minister or missionary. This myth is also debunked. According to God’s Word in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord...” Bottom line? God wants to give each of us His direction in our life’s work.

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. Do you love what you do or hate what you do for a living?

2. No matter what you do for a living, there will be times it will be more difficult than others, but if you love what you do and what you accomplish through what you do, no matter how hard it is, you can feel good about it! How does knowing you have God’s direction in your life’s work help?  
Rom 8:27  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.
Rom 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

3. Sometimes we have to do whatever job is available just to pay the bills, but we should never stop seeking to find a job that is suited to our God-given gifts, abilities and talents. God has put certain “life-work” desires in our heart and it’s not wrong to pursue those if we know God has put them there. It just makes sense that if we pursue a life-work that incorporates our talents, abilities, and passions, we will do that work so much better. Why do you think we are hesitant to pursue such a life work and settle for jobs we don’t even like? Could it be fear, or money, or lack of faith?
Psa 37:3  Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Psa 37:4  Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psa 37:5  Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
Psa 37:6  He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

4. God has called each of us to bring honor and glory to Him with our life’s work, and as a result He will use our life’s work to bring opportunities for us to do ministry. This does not mean you must be a “vocational minister” to do ministry or if you surrender to God’s will you will automatically be rerouted to some type of vocational ministry. Why do you think so many have this erroneous idea and how has this hurt the cause of the gospel down through the years?
1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.



Full Sermon Notes
Can you say this morning "It is well with my soul?" When you face a mountain in life, and there seems to be no way around it, do you believe even though you can't see? When you think about your life's work, is it a scary thing? Do you know what your life's work is? Do you know it matters to God? God is not just for Sundays! He wants to be a part of your life 7 days a week! Let's ask God to speak to our hearts and to show us the way when it comes to our life's work! Let's ask Him to get us to the place where we can say with confidence, "It is Well!"
Let's pray…

"Father God, I ask you this morning to help us to find Your direction for our life's work! Every single person in this room has a calling on their life and a very meaningful work to accomplish with their life. You created us with purpose and with things we are to do as we live out our years on this planet! Doing our work well is a form of worship! Help us to embrace Your calling, Your purpose, Your will, Your ways, Your direction, and Your Spirit's leadership as we seek to live lives that will bring You glory! I trust we will learn things today that will bring clarity to our lives and our life's work! Hide Larry behind Your glory, Your wisdom, Your Cross, and let Your Spirit speak! In Jesus Name!

Video shows here. Click on this link to watch the video from Right Now Ministries that played at the beginning of the message http://youtu.be/9qAn-I8aOuQ  

Your life's work really matters! Here's what God's Word tells us in Colossians 3:23-24...

Col 3.23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,
24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

No let me say this about this passage. These verses dealt with a group of people in a very difficult situation. Household servants who were essentially slaves. Their situation was difficult at best, and it's sad that human slavery was ever a part of human history, but Paul wanted them to know in spite of there circumstances, their lives mattered to God! And their life's work mattered. If they did their work with excellence and with a sweet spirit, as unto The Lord, they might even change their captors' heart. Have any of you in here ever worked for a boss that seemed more like a slave driver than an inspirational leader? In circumstances like that it's hard if not impossible to enjoy your job. But here's something to think about: If you change your thinking about who you're working for and you do your job to bring honor and glory to God, it will make your job more tolerable because you will know, whether or not your boss is happy with you, God is pleased with you and God will bless your efforts in special ways!

Be a good witness and example of Christ-likeness! Now this doesn't mean you have to stay in that job forever. If you hate what you do for a living, begin seeking God to show you what He want's your life work to be. Ask God to give you wisdom as you begin to explore other avenues. Ask Him to show you the way, and to give you direction. He will!
You might be thinking, "but Pastor Larry, I'm just in High School, I don't really have a life's work." Yes you do! Your life's work is to begin the discovery process to determine what God has called you to do with your life and your preparation for that work is so important. And never forget, life choices you make during those high school and college years will have a huge impact on your future! Don't dismiss what you do because you are young! Youth is a time to dream the dreams God wants you dream about your life work. In fact, listen to what Paul said to young Timothy...

1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

Now I know some of you are here this morning and you're thinking, "Pastor Larry, I'm retired! My life's work is finished, done, over!" To which I would reply, "No it's not and stop with that kind of silly thinking!, I'm not against golfing, fishing, and other hobbies retired people find to do, but God hasn't given you those retirement years to just play! There are so many things you can still accomplish and one of those things is more important than you could even imagine…teaching the younger people about God's plan for their lives.”  

We need senior adults to bring their life experiences and their wisdom to the table in advisory positions and if you are able, we need you to volunteer to help us do the ministry God has called us to do. We need your to be a living example to our youth. Now you may say, "But my health is not good, I wouldn't be much help!"

Join our pastoral care team and make a simple phone call or two each week to check on folks who are sick or are in the process of recovery. Join our prayer team and just lift up the needs of those who are hurting and have great needs. And who knows, some of you may have a second career in you, to the Glory of God! God's Word has this to say...

Psalm 92:12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him. ”

Now I want us to look at our text for today again...

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,
24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

So whatever you do, pour your heart into it, realize you are doing God's work, understand your main reward is not the paycheck, but the blessing God will give you as a reward for your faithful service, for it is Christ you are serving! But here's the deal: In order for you to pour your heart into your work, and in order for you to realize your work is God's work, and in order for you to receive Godly rewards for your work, and in order for you to truly serve Christ with your life work, we're going to have to dispel some life-work myths.

The Misery Myth

Some people believe if it's fun it can't be Godly! If it's fulfilling it can't be right! Some people really believe if they're doing God's will it will always be, miserable, and even punishing! I don't really know were this kind of thinking came from, but so many believe it. What does God's Word say? Are we supposed to live in misery?

A few verses back we read...

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Of course even fun things and things you feel called to do and are passionate about can sometimes be hard work and even difficult, but that doesn't mean it's miserable or unrewarding. Sometimes my work can be hard and difficult because I deal with some of life's most difficult issues! However, I thank God for the privilege of serving people in their greatest hour of need, as well as their times of celebrations, and when I know I've helped someone see the light of Jesus in their darkest moments or helped them celebrate one of life’s greatest moments, I'm beyond filled with joy! There are times when I preach a funeral, perform a wedding, and visit a couple with a new born, and a person under hospice care all in the same week. Talk about a roller coster of emotions.
However, It is my heart's desire to help the hurting. God put that in me very early in my life! Folks, God made each of us with gifts, talents, and certain desires that play into our life's work.

If you have decided to follow Jesus and have trusted God with your life, and if you find your greatest fulfillment in life in your  relationship with God then you must understand that doing your life's work with passion is a beautiful form of worship! You see, when you delight in the Lord, God will put the right  desires in your heart and you can pursue those desires with great zeal and fervor!

Psalm 37:3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Because of the difference in rules concerning subject/verb agreement, between English and Hebrew, this verse can also be translated correctly to read...

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give your heart it's desires.

The Psalmist goes on to say...

Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

That's so exciting! Commit your way to the LORD, trust in Him and He will do this! Do what? Well, I believe He can be trusted to lead our hearts and minds to discover our life's work, and I believe He will show you how to bring honor and glory to Him with your life's work. He will even allow us to accomplish things with our hobby's! Most of you know I love photography! God has allowed me to take some really fun pictures and folks ask me how I find the time to take pictures. My camera rides shotgun with me when I visit hospitals, do weddings in New Orleans, drive back and forth to work, or go on a vacation. I don't really know why God put that desire in my heart, but a few weeks back I was at a ministry meeting with some other Christian men at Bear's Restaurant. They just reopened and basically have nothing on the walls and are trying to get off the ground so I was asked to fill up the space with pictures.  

Larry will hold up a few of the pictures. If the camera's want to zoom in a bit!

And if we sell some of the pictures we're hoping to finish building a house in Haiti for a young man and his fiancé who are going to get married once the house is livable. We're about half way there! It's amazing how God works. You see God wants you to worship Him with your life's work and even with your extra curricular activities!!

Let me just say one more thing on this…I realize sometimes in life we have to work jobs that simply pay the bills, but don't stop doing all that you do as unto the Lord, and don't give up on your dream, your passion, your God given desires and gifts! Your present job may just be a stepping stone to where God wants you to go. Just remember not to put your life on hold until you get where you're going, because if you do you will miss out on life. I've got a whole sermon I preached once called "Joy in the Journey!" Enjoy every step of the road you've been called to walk. One of my favorite Martin Luther King Jr. quotes is this...

"If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'"

The Minister Myth

This Myth is stated in various ways...

“Only ministers are called to do ministry!”

Translation of this statement…
"I'm not called to do ministry because I'm not called to be a preacher!"

“If I put God first He will call me to be a vocational minister or missionary!”

Translation of this statement…
“I don't trust God knows best for my life and if I follow Him I'll have to do something I'm not gifted to do and I would be miserable!”

“A minister's work is more important to God than my work!”

Translation of this statement…
"What I do doesn't real matter or make a difference in the big picture of God's kingdom!"

Okay, now it's time for the first edition of Spiritual Myth-Busters! Let's look at each of these statements...

“Only ministers are called to do ministry!”

The Apostle Peter certainly knew this was wrong and said...

1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Sorry, but ministers are not the only ones called to ministry. We all are called to ministry! We are called to do ministry wherever we live and work and play. In fact, some of you will have more opportunities to minister than a minister, because you work with people who have great needs and they don't need a preacher, they need a friend! A friend who will love them and offer to help them whether or not they even believe in God. And when you do that in the Spirit of Christ you may be the very reason that person comes to faith in Christ. And for that reason, the last thing God might want for you is for you to go into vocational ministry. But there's still those who think...

“If I put God first He will call me to be a vocational minister or missionary!”

If that were true the world would be in a mess! And I do mean a mess! There would be no one called to work sanitation and the garbage would pile up. No one would work in our sewage departments or water purification plants. That would be a problem. There would be no farmers to grow our food! No doctors, educators...You get the picture, I hope!!  Not a bad thing to be called into vocational ministry. I'm so honored to serve as the pastor of this church and I'm so humbled that God would call me to be a vocational minister! Paul was also called into vocational ministry, and considered it an  honor, but he knew it was crazy to think that everyone was called to do the same thing. He asked this rhetorical question...

1 Corinthians 12:29a Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers…?

Of course not! Paul had previously stated these very important words...

1 Corinthians 12:4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

Ok, some of you will concede the fact that God calls different people to do different things and not everyone is called into vocational ministry, but you might still be tempted to think...

“A minister's work is more important to God than my work!”

I certainly think my work is important or I wouldn't do it, but for years I refused to be ordained because even as a young man I felt it wrong that anyone would think my calling from God was more important than God's calling on their life! I felt ordination might give some the mis-conception that ministers were somehow a higher class of Christian and they were the only ones who could do ministry. I knew then if only vocational ministers do ministry we will loose the battle to share the love of Jesus with the world and that's a battle we can't afford to loose! I did finally submit to ordination as a way for others to know there were people who were willing to stand behind the calling of God in my life to be a pastor. But please know this, we are all in this together, and we must work together and respect God's calling on each of our lives if we are to build God's kingdom and reach lost souls with the Love of Jesus!

Please don't diminish the importance of what you do in your life's work. God has gifted some of you to be engineers, be the best engineer you can be. God has gifted some of you to be pilots, be the best pilot you can be! God has gifted some of you to be nurse anesthetist, be the best you can be! God has gifted some of you to be teachers, be the best teacher you can be. The importance you place on those young lives will not only impact that little life, who will in a few short years be an adult making serious life decisions, but you will also be impacting  the course of history! Every calling of God is so important! Paul had something else to say about this...

1 Corinthians 12:14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,”  it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
19 If they were all one part, where would the body be?
20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”
22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it,
25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

So now I'm going to blow your mind. What did Paul just say?

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

So you are the body of Christ. You are a part of it, and that can only mean one thing. If you are a follower of Christ, you are a minister! You have a ministry, and that ministry is more important than you could ever even imagine. God want's you to enjoy your calling and walk in His power, strength and joy. He doesn't want you miserable!

I'll close with these powerful words of Paul in the first part of his letter to the Colossians...

Colossians 1:9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
Let's pray!!