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Sunday English Service - 16 JUL 17 - Why work?

Transcript

As you know two weeks ago we began to teach on "work". And I said that we are going to cover this teaching onwork in three sections. The first one is going to be about: "Why work", the second one is about the difficulties that we face in the work today, where it comes from and what it is all about. And the third section is going to deal with how our relationship with Christ, our new life in Christ, helps us to overcome all these difficulties and do our work successfully. Right now we are talking about "Why work". Now, last two weeks I covered two things: the first thing I said about why work - I said we work because God works. God is presented to us in the very first pages of the bible as one who works: He works six days and rested the seventh day - the bible says. That is the way God is presented to us: very interestingly.

Now the second reason why we work is that work is designed by God to display His character and His glory in this world; because we are made in the image and likeness of God, when we work, we show forth God's glory and God's character - our work, our accomplishments show forth God glory and His character - that is the reason we work. We work, not just to make a living, we work for the glory of God, to show forth His character in this world. That is what we were talking about last week. Today I want to talk about how that work brings dignity - the reason why work brings dignity, work is a major component of dignity is this: we are made in the image and likeness of God; see, we always keep going back to chapter 1. That is why that statement about how God created man in His own image and likeness is probably one of the most important statements in the whole bible - because upon it rests all of man's life and activity - that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Everything about man must be interpreted in light of the fact that he is made - unlike any other creature he is made in the likeness and the image of God. So, that is why work is a major component of dignity for man. If God worked, there must be nothing wrong with work. We should not be ashamed about work. If God worked, we should not be shying away from work.

If God worked then He has ascribed by His own work - a dignity - a real dignity. And that is why the protestant teaching talks about the dignity of labour. It is a protestant teaching that is very well known; dignity of labour and the countries that have imbibed this protestant culture/teaching; I don't mean to say that everybody is a great spiritual Christian or something like that in these countries; but their culture comes from the protestant teaching background; and in those countries you find extraordinary prosperity; and a very positive attitude towards work - work of all kinds. And I am going to talk about it today. They see work as having some kind of dignity. Whatever the kind of work they do, they see it as a matter of dignity. And today in the world, lots of things have come from this background, from this protestant teaching - a lot of things have begun to spread now; because theysaw the prosperity and success that this kind of teaching has brought into those countries that received the protestant teachings. I already told one time that how 25 countries that followed the protestant doctrine basically, and brought it into their culture prospered; I mean simply prospered like anything; and so others begun to follow the thing also; even though they are not protestants, they begun to follow those principles; and as long it is God's principle it is going to work for you. Many of these principles are good for any country, any nation, any group of people and so many people have followed these things and found great benefits in it. So today, even in our world, all over the world, you will find that people agree, yea, work brings dignity. The thought nobody will really out rightly deny the fact work is good and that work brings dignity - this thing/this thought that has taken hold; but it has not been so always. In the centuries before the protestant movement, the attitude towards work was a whole lot different, and even before Jesus came and so on, the attitude was shaped and formed by another group of people, another kind of teaching, and I want to talk about it - the wrong kind of teaching concerning work, the wrong kind of attitude towards work - where it came from. And you see certain effects of it even in every society of world, even in the protestant countries that we are talking about. You will see people have these kinds of thoughts here and there, that this kind of approach and this kind of teaching is better - the teaching that came so many centuries ago through the Greeks, basically. So I want to talk about that, because we want to understand where the wrong teaching on work came from; how it came and what is that wrong teaching that is out there; and it is in the minds of some people, even today. When I talk about it you will immediately understand; yea that is right, I didn't realize where it came from; but let us talk about it.

You know the ancient Greeks; their thinking on work was very different from the Hebrew thinking. See the Hebrew thinking; the Jewish people's thinking was based on Genesis chapter 1 and 2; that we are focusing on - their thinking was based on that. And the Greeks thinking came from a different idea of God; see, everything starts with the idea of God; if you don't know God, then you don't know life; then you don't understand yourself. You don't even understand work, if you don't know God. See that is why when man wants to know himself, he must know God first, because he is made in the image and likeness of God. Only through God you can see what kind of a person you should be. And only through God you can see what kind of a world this is; only through seeing God and the truth about God you can see what work was meant to be. So, the Hebrew understanding of God came from the bible; came from the first two chapters of the bible - when God created everything and then created man in His image and likeness and gave him some responsibilities and so on. They base their teaching and beliefs about work on that.

But later on came the Greeks; as you know, a few centuries before Jesus came, the Greeks ruled the world; and wherever they went, they build big libraries. They were very much into literature, and spreading their language. And because they spread their language very widely, the ideas that were Greek ideas also begun to spread and take root among various people of the world, and so they spread their ideas. Their idea about God is this - that God made human beings for work; because gods don't want to work. They basically don't want to get down to work. So they believed God made human beings for work. Therefore you are made like a servant or like a slave, to work - to slave away. So they saw no blessing in work. They thought their work was demeaning, work was a low class thing and work was a curse, according to them; and nothing but a curse. You know, you heard about Aristotle and Aristotle is known to have said that unemployment - by which he meant the ability to live without having to work. Unemployment he said, was the primary qualifications for a genuinely worthwhile life - can you believe that? Unemployment is a mark of a genuinely worthwhile life - that you are able to sit down and eat and not bother about working; that is the genuinely worthwhile life - that is the first qualification he said. Now, what led the Greeks to believe in something like this? Two basics things: Please understand this, because and then you can compare the bible with the Greek's thoughts. Two things - one, they separated the spiritual from the material. And they believed they brought this idea into the world that has damaged a lot of Christians today; even Christians and just about everybody. They brought this idea that the spiritual is better and good and the physical and the material is bad. To them they divided this; there was a division between the spiritual and the material - which division you will never find among the Hebrews/among the Jews; they never saw it like that. They saw according to chapter 1 of Genesis. They said, "Well, God is a good God". And what about the world? They didn't say like the Greeks, "Oh the world is bad; God is good but the world is bad - spiritual is good and the world is bad; the physical is .... No, no, they said, "God is good and the earth is good". Everything that God made is good. In fact it is very good; it is wonderful.

They believed that only after the fall things got ruined, but there is nothing wrong with the earth. God made a good earth, they believed. But these guys believed that work was a curse, and not only that - they believed these basic two things. One is that the spiritual and material are two different things - you must clearly mark the difference between the two. The spiritual is good and the material is bad. If they said the material is bad then the involvement with work and worldly work was also bad, because material is bad. They saw gods like this: they said gods are distant beings. When I say "Distant"....You know in Tamil world we used the word kadavul for God. A very meaningful word. What know what kadavulmeans. It means transcended one - that He transcends all the worldly problems, difficulties and all these things. In fact it literally means that He is beyond all these things. He has no connection with the suffering that we go through, with the problems that we face, with all our worries and difficulties and the challenges that we face - He is distant from it. He may have made the world but He removed Himself, far from it - allowed the world to function on it'sown and removes Himself from it, does not get involved in this world. Keeps Himself as a distant person - so He does not feel our pain and does not know our suffering. He is God, what does He know? I am here on this earth, I am going through these things but He doesn't know anything. He is a distant being - kadavul).

In Tamil we say ellaavatraiyumkadanthavar... That means these things make no sense to Him. Our suffering and our pain doesn't make any difference to Him. That is the waythese people taught about God - a distant being. Not only a distant being, He is a solitary being. That He likes to stay alone by Himself. He does not like a community life. He is distant, He is alone by Himself. He is a solitary being and He is uninvolved being - uninvolved in the humdrum of daily life that we go through. Don't take your cares to Him and your problems to Him and trouble Him with all that. He does not want to be bothered with anything that you are going through. What a picture of God. So different from what the bible teaches. And therefore they said, "If God is like that and you want to become like God, then you also have to be uninvolved with the world. Come away be distant from all the problems of this life. Don't put your hand too much into the worldly things and get involved too much; because then you will become a worldly person. You will get into the world, and you will feel the world's problems and all. Come away, be a distance person, be a solitary person, be an uninvolved person. That is the way to live. They believe that contemplation - if you just sat and thought about it deeply - the Greeks believed in deep thinking and all that philosophy. If you thought about it, you will really understand that the material world is evil and bad and the spiritual is far better and good. In fact the material world is temporary and unreal. Unreal means "illusory". It is deceptive, it is misleading, everything is wrong about this material world. And being over-involved or emotionally attached to it will pull you down into a kind of animal existence where you have fear now, as a result of it, anger now as a result of it, you will have anxiety now. You become like an animal. You will begin to have all this feelings, they said.

The true way of peace and happiness is to learn non-attachment. Now you hear in a lot of religious philosophies in the world today - non-attachment. This has gotten into Christianity also. No attachment to the world - don't own anything, don't have anything, don't even have too many clothes - have only two pieces: one hanging on the clothes line, the other one hanging on your body. And some of you even decided, two is too much - only one is enough. And some have decided even one is not necessary - you know about that. And we think these guys are great wise guys. "Oh My God, he is a saint" You know how he lives, you know where he lives; he doesn't live in town, he is in the mountains. He is away from everybody. See the idea of distant. He is a distant person - he doesn't have any cares of the world. He does not deal with family life. He doesn't have a wife, he doesn't have children. Lo, and behold we do not even think. They claim they have thought about it, contemplated about it, and arrived at this kind of thing and if we really think about it...this is the problem.

Christianity thinking is not thinking in vacuum. Christian thinking is thinking the thoughts of God. If you start thinking in vacuum, these are the kinds of destinations you will be arriving at. That is the kind of conclusions you will come with. But if you think biblically, you will find that it is totally wrong. Then why did God make the world? Why did He put you in the world? Why did God make... intend a society? Why did God put a man there and told him to multiply, be fruitful,fill the earth with human beings and so on? Why did God create a community life? Why did God have this idea about family? Some people reject the whole idea about marriage and family... and without even thinking, we decide that they are great saints. Oh brother, the beard is all the way here, and he looks so saintly. He doesn't sleep in a bed, he doesn't enjoy all the facilities. What have you left? I mean, he doesn't have anything, and you, you have everything. You have a wife, children, you have a house, you have cars - you have all these things, but look at that man, saint. He doesn't have anything. He doesn't have to do with anything; he is not attached to anything in this world. He is absolutely unattached. "That is the sign of sainthood", they say. You see where everything comes from. This is the Greek thinking - they brought this kind of philosophy into this world. Non-attachment to the things of this world is the thing that will make you a real worthwhile human being - genuinely worthwhile human being.

So, the basic essence of their teaching is this: that you have to live a life that is stripped of both hopes and fears. I can understand getting rid of fears - fear is bad. But even hope is bad they say. That is the problem. Even hope is bad - that is a sad thing about this. I got up this morning because of hope. Otherwise I will still be in bed. That bed is a pretty good bed. I got up because of hope. I thought a lot of people are going to come today; and I am going to be preaching and people from all over the world are going to be listening. And people in deep problems and troubles and cares, and worries and anxieties - I want to feed hope through the media that God has given to us. And I want to speak words of hope so that they will lift up their heads out again unto God and receive some hope for their future, and continue to strive, to go forward even in spite of all that. I came with all hope, for myself and for the world and for the people that I am preaching. Hope is a good thing - without hope, you are finished. If you lose everything, still you can gain it back; but if you lose hope, then everything is lost - then only everything is lost. If don't have anything today, and you have lost everything, and you have hope today - I will tell you, hope is a wonderful thing. That is the light that is burning in your life, and it will take you places. Your tomorrow will be better than today if you have hope. And these people are trying to put that light out. You can't have hope or fear. So what that means is that if you say you don't have hope - what they are basically saying is, accept everything in life as they are. If you don't have anything: you have only one meal a day, and you can't afford to eat anything more than that, then accept it. This is what God has given to you. Why hope to be able to eat anything you like tomorrow. Why entertain this hope. You will be disappointed tomorrow. You will become unhappy. This is what makes you unhappy. So, accept it. Now, this kind of philosophy, you will see it all the time in this world. Un attachment, accepting life as it is - this is the way the whole thing went.

The second this is....see the first thing is separating spiritual and from the material, which the Hebrews never did, but the Greeks brought that idea and even today people do that. In Christianity they do it very much. The Christian teaching has been affected by this idea - the Greek idea of separating the spiritual and the material - calling the spiritual good and the material bad. It has resulted in failure in Christian life - failure when it comes to work, failure in the way we look at things in this world, failure in how we have things and manage things; this is total failure. Failure in our earthly life as a result of this division between the spiritual and the material. It is wrong. The Hebrews never entertained that kind of thinking. And in their mind, both are important, both are good - that is the way they were taught, because material was made by God; and if it is made by God...if God is good, then what He made is also good, that is their logic - big difference.

The second thing is: they made a difference between different kinds of work. And called some work good and some work bad. You have heard of division of labour: they divided work into two different kinds - the good kind of work and the bad kind of work. So the work that is done with the brain, mind. If it is the brain-oriented work - you got to think, you go to plan; and other type of work - that is higher than the kind of work that you do with your body, with your strength in your body. This was a big idea that these people brought and that has influenced a lot of people also. The work is now looked upon in the world even today - that has affected people. They look up some kinds of jobs where you sit on a table and a chair and work from there to a manual type of job where you get involved and get dirty; and consider that the one who is sits on a chair and table is better and good, and the one that you get yourself dirty, is bad. But you will see in the societies in the world, where protestant teaching have taken hold, they don't basically, they don't have division of labour. They have dignity of labour - what is called dignity of labour. That has transformed societies. That's a Christian teaching, that is protestant teaching. Some of you, looking at me talking about work you may think: "Well, is this Christian teaching?" Yea, it is Christian teaching - read John Calvin, read Luther, read all the protestant reformers - they talked about the dignity of work. That whatever kind of work you do - every kind of work has value and every kind of work is good in sight of God. Every kind of work brings dignity. Any kind of work - whatever it is, is good according to them. See how it has affected our society. You see it everywhere. Certain kinds of work are considered very bad and certain kinds very good. So, they thought like if you are into philosophy and politics and that type of work, it is great. But if you are into digging holes and you know, brick layer and stuff like that, that is bad. That is worthless work, you know, you just sweat and do a lot of straining yourself, your body - God does not consider that as anything, this is more, this is better - that kind of idea. So these two things have come in and totally taken us away from the biblical idea of work.

Now through this kind of thinking we have now among us a set of pervasive ideas that gotten into societies of the world, gotten into their system, into their brain, into their thinking, and basically, I can say one or two things about this: what has gotten into society? One is, people think that work is a necessary evil. Have you heard about that expression, "necessary evil"? That means it is necessary, but it is evil. They don't believe that work is not necessary, they believe it is necessary because you have got to eat, you have got to pay rent, you got to pay your children's fees and all that; therefore it is necessary... what to do? - that kind of attitude. What to do? - you got to work, you got to do something. Otherwise you won't have food on the table, you won't be able to pay rent. So it is necessary, but it is necessary evil. It is not good, it is evil.

The only we you can say it is good is because if it brings you enough money to pay all your obligation and living a comfortable life and more importantly be able to pay to the servants who do the menial job out of that much money that you make, then that work maybe somewhat good. It must deliver you from these manual jobs. You must not get dirty - not get your hands dirty. As long as you can make enough money to pay your bills and pay some guy to attend to some other stuff then you are fine. So we actually shy away from certain kind of work.

When I went to study abroad, when I was a young man, 20 years old. Some of the things shocked me, the way they did things: a found a man who built his own house. Anytime you go see him, he will be dirty from head to toe. "Hey Sam, how are you doing?" You don't want to come anywhere near him. He is so dirty because he has been into work. "You want to help me around today?" I always shied away from him, boy he is going to get me. What will everybody think if they saw me working and building a house? And some of his neighbours came to help him. His brother came to help him, some of his other people came down the streets there; because he goes there and helps them, do things - built aportico or add another room, or something like that. He just buys a book and the book shows him how to do it. And they get down to it and do it. They don't shy away from that at all. Now you ask a fellow to do that here: First of all you will get laughed at and they will tell you this guy is kanjoos. He doesn't want to pay anybody. Look at him, he is himself taking the bricks and laying it, and he just goes, "If you can just pay 600 rupees some guy will come and do it. Why do you do it?" - That kind not thinking. But this guy says, "I enjoy it. I create my house, I built my house, I put my hand to work, this is my pride and joy. I love it". That attitude was so different to me, I remember. But that is biblical. So they believe work is a necessary evil.

Another thing they believed is that work is only about status and money. What is your status in work? What are you called? General Manager, C.E.O or something like that. Status and money, and how much you get paid. That is all you think about when you think about work. Now this has prevailed even until today. These are under-current people have - these kinds of ideas running into their mind. That is why most people end up studying what they don't even like. You think about that. Why they end up studying that? Because, for example in our country we believe that everyone must either be a doctor or engineer - only that. I imagine, if my parents had told me, "You must become a doctor" and if I had no other option, then it would have been a disaster or engineer. Just think of me as an engineer. My God, you won't want to live in a world like that. The day I was born my parents took to me to God and dedicated me to ministry - they believed this is the first child I give to ministry. I even thought, "Why did they even do it without asking me first". They should have asking me first. They shouldn't have done it like this. But it worked out alright. They believed it and they raised me up for it. And you know what? I love it now. I just started liking it and I found out that God gave me the abilities and gifts related to that as the days went by, and I got much exposure to it; because I was raised up in that way. There is nothing wrong with that. You will find many times the children growing up in a certain home, with certain professions they will naturally get into that profession and that thing, because they are also gifted the same way. There is a biological connection also, right? They will also get into that, that way; because they have the similar talents. If somebody is in business, the children want to get in business also, they are constantly exposed to it, they see it and they live with it, and naturally, you know they are born to those parents, they get into it like that. In other professions also it happens.

But I hear some people say, if you are a father is a pastor, you should not be a pastor. Who said so? That is the way it happens usually because you get influenced by them. But the thing is, what I am talking about is: sometimes we force people - I have seen this lately. If you go down the street, there is no place to put all the engineering colleges. They are so many. There are more engineering colleges than people. Because everybody wants their children to be engineer. And so there is no chance for the kid to think about why did God bring me to this world? What kind of talent or ability has God given to me? What should I do? God wants me to do something in this world. I am God's extension. I am made in the image and likeness of God - I am God's extension. I am here in this world as a representative of God - doing His work. What shall I do? What kind of work does He want me to do? I know what kind of work He wants the other person to do, but what kind of work does He want me to do? Very important. That is why a person must know God. That is why the bible says in Ecclesiastes 12:1. It says: Remember your creator in the days of your youth. - Why remember the creator in the days of your youth? Because by the time you get old, you will be retired. When you remember your creator - know God when you are young, then you can know what to study? You can know what direction you want to go. You can know what kinds of gifts and abilities God has given to you - what He has called you for. See, when we talk in terms of only status and money to these young people that want to study - only we emphasize status and money and nothing else. Then they have no chance to think about God, the call of God, the gifts and talents - none of that comes into picture; only status and money. What do you study? To get good status and money. That's all. So they miss the mark in their life - they never get to go in the direction of what they want. Suppose you said, "I would like to study music". First of all the parent will tell you, "Hey, study something else, not music". I want to become a musician. Then immediately worry comes about: what is your status. When they go to look for a girl for you, they will ask: "What are you doing?" Musician. They would say, "Keep going". If you say "artist"... See sometimes people come and give their profiles, biodatas, for their daughter, son and so on; and people even from outside, everywhere they would come - people write to us, ask us. One guy wrote to us from somewhere, and said, "I want girl for my son. You have got pretty girls in your church, you know" So I get a lot of requests like that. So I am not into this business; but we do try to help people. That is not my profession but we do try to help people as Christians you know; help other believers to do these things. So we are interested in people, basically, and them getting the right thing in life.

So I looked at one of the profiles and it really shocked me. They came and actually handed it over to me. They are standing there and I looked at it, underneath, the last item it says, "Anything, but someone in ministry". That is what it said, exactly what it said, "Anything, but someone in ministry". They are ready to take any guy - we should appreciate them for that; not just engineer or something like that. They are ready to take anybody, but not in ministry. I guess I know why they are worried about ministry. They are immediately thinking: status and money. Who is going to give them money? How are you going to attain any kind of status in ministry? How are you going to get money? So today a lot of people do not come into ministry because they have considered what would happen to their status and money; that is why they don't want ministry. And you end up with the worst sometimes. You got four children - one became a doctor, the other became an engineer, the other became an MBA, the fourth one failed, plus 2. And they say, you think you can become a preacher, brother - brother, by the grace of God somehow. You can take this boy and if you can shape him and do something, and I got to take this guy and do something with him. So there is plenty like that now.

But sometimes you know, God is great because He takes the useless ones and use them mightily. That is a different story, but I think you need to keep your best to God. When you give to God, you need to give your best to God. And young people always have to think about, "Why am I here in this world. I am God's representative here to do a work for God, whatever profession I am in. Work for God does not mean I take the bible, go and preach. No! I am here to work for God out of the whole project. What is God's work: chaos, emptiness and darkness was there, and God set everything right - made a beautiful world, then made man in His image and likeness, and then said, "Let them rule" - meaning let them get to work just like me. Take the chaos, emptiness and darkness, work at it - make everything good. That is work. Look at your work, are you making something good in some way. When your car doesn't run, you take it to a mechanic, well you think, "Well, he is not preacher, he is just a mechanic". No! He is fixing your chaos. A chaos has happened in your family, in your life. Your car is not running - it will cause you a lot of problems, when the car that you have does not run. It is very important that somebody with a good brain fixes it; good skill fixes it. And when the man fixes that, he has contributed to this big project that God had when He put men in this world - told them to fill this world with human beings; doing all kinds of work without which we cannot successfully live in this world. But the Greeks have got us into thinking that work is to make you sure that you don't get down to jobs where you have to use your body and your strength. You know, work is where you can sit down and do the more comfortable ones and let the other manual jobs to be done by others. As long as you earn enough to do that, then your work is good. Otherwise the work cannot be good at all. That is the way that they saw it. But what the bible teaches is this: Let me read to you Chapter 1 verse 26: Then God said let's make man - see, I know that when I say Genesis 1:26, you are saying, "Well, I have studied this so many times". I know this: I have learned after 40 years of preaching and being in the ministry, I have learnt that you should never say that. Even today if I saw something on Genesis 1 and 2, I would read it or any passage for that matter. If I know it thoroughly also, If I read so much on it also, I still again read it; because I constantly keep learning from it.

So listen, Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. - So God created man in His own image and in the image of God, He created him, male and female He created them. So what does the bible teach? Now we are looking at the bible. We know what the Greeks taught and how the Greeks have spread their culture, all over the world, by ruling the world and by spreading their language they have disseminated these ideas - these wrong ideas all over the world about work. What does the bible teach? Because this is the truth - that is not truth. This is the truth - what does the bible teach about work? Just two or three things: One, the bible teaches that work has dignity because it reflects the image of God and the likeness of God, our Creator in and through us. Why it is a dignified thing? Why with such dignity? Because work reflects God's image; without working I cannot be said to be in the image and likeness of God. If I don't work, if I don't respect work, if I shy away from work, if I think of work as something negative, evil and so on; then such a person cannot portray God in this world. It is impossible. With that attitude you can be a Christian but you cannot really display God's image in this world. Our work is important. God has many ways of displaying His character, His glory and His character and His image particularly in this world. And one of the things is work.

Now if you look at this passage, there is something very special in it. Before this passage you see God creating all kinds of things - God made herbs, and fruit bearing trees and all of that. You read about it. And He made them how? So that they can have the seeds within them and through the seeds that are within them, you can produce more. So everything that was created with a... even the non-living things are created with an ability to multiply and reproduce, with the seeds. Then you come to the living beings: the fish of the seas, the birds of the air - you read about in verse 21 and 22 in chapter 1. Just before this passage here, you read about how God created the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and blessed them and said: "be fruitful, multiply and fill". And then He made animals - in verse 25, the bible says, God made the beasts of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind and everything that creeps to the earth according to its kind, and God saw that it was good. And before that he said, And then God said )in verse 24) "Let the earth )if you are reading Tamil, you should read verse 25, but if you are reading in English, you should read verse 24) then God said let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind"; and it was so. - So God made the beasts to bring forth and multiply and increase. And then in verse 26, God says: Let us make man in our image and likeness. Let them rule. So, the statement about image and likeness is very important. "And let them rule". What is let them rule? What is let them have dominion? That shows that animals, and non-living things were created to reproduce, multiplied and increase but never were given a job.

Only man was ever given a job description. He was told to rule - only man. He never told that to animals and beasts. He told them to multiply, so they multiply - fish multiply, goats multiply. That is not work. They multiply. To some people that is work. But they just multiply. Told some to just multiply; but for man He says rule, and then that is even more explained in verse 28, where it says, Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth)same three things that He told birds and the fish). Now fourth and fifth things are very special: Subdue it and have dominion over everything - subdue and have dominion. So man has a clear job description. When you joined work, they give you a job description: do this, do that. They listed so many things that you are supposed to do. God made man and He gives him job description. And He never gave any created thing a job description - only to man. That is what makes the man so special. That is one of the things that makes the difference between an animal and man. I am not an animal, I am a man. I am made for working. Work is to bring me great honour and dignity. I am in the image and likeness of God, and therefore I cannot be the man the God made me to be without working. God said rule, God said subdue. And chapter 2 verse 19, look at that: Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. - Now we bring them to Adam? He is the creator, He should have named them. He should have taken care of them. Why ask Adam anything? Because Adam is supposed to rule, he is supposed to subdue and all these things must be under his authority. They must exist and operate and live and have their being under his authority. As he says so, they must do it.

So God brings them to Adam. He says, "You name them". So, in verse 19 we read like this: go on reading. And brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature that was its name. Now this is not about giving names like Jack or Jill or something like that. Most scholars say that this is about what they will be like: what kind of nature they will have and what kind of an animal that would be. That Adam specified. What a great responsibility. What an honorable job - whatever you say that it is what they would be, God says. And whatever Adam said, that is what it was. He is the decision maker. He is like God; He is another little creator under God. God creates and this man names. Whatever he said, that was it. That the animal became - such honor. Work is not some cursed thing that God has given to us. Work came before the fall. This is before the fall. Fall came only in chapter 3. This is when everything was fine and everything was perfect. God gives us a responsibility; a very high responsibility - great responsibility, and honor of doing work.

Alright another verse: Chapter 8 of Psalm. Psalm chapter 8. Let me just read to you just for 2 verses - verse 4 to 6:What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. - This is man. Psalmist is astonished at how man is created. He said: You have made him little lower than the angels, And you have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet. - Here is man's responsibility. God creates everything and keeps everything under man - gives him total control over everything. Now he has got a job, a big job. He is in the place of God, that is why he has the image and likeness of God. The image and likeness given to him relates to the work - the kind of work, the nature of work that God has given to him. Because of the nature of work; such a lofty work, such a high class work, such a work where he really dominates everything and determines everything and decides everything, removes all chaos, emptiness and darkness, makes everything function well. That is the nature of the work - that is why the image of God was given to him and the likeness of God was given to him; because he can bring about positive change in any situation.

So whatever profession you are in, you are doing that kind of job. You are an agent of change; you are fixing things that are broken. A doctor is fixing the body that is not functioning well; he is doing the work of God. If God works, that is what He would do. So no doctor should think, "Well, I am not a preacher". Don't aspire to be a preacher. You can preach by being a doctor better than you know, a preacher can preach basically. And to the kind of audience that probably that would never come to a church and listen, by your work. By the sincere effort that you make and by the expert work that you do, by all the knowledge and everything that you have at your disposal. When you do your work well - and you do it for the glory of God. That shows the image of God to the world. People see that. James chapter 3 verse 7. Turn to the book of James: the image of God is given to man because of the nature of the work. It is work by nature, is the kind of work that God would do. Therefore by nature the man has to be in the image and likeness of God, otherwise he wouldn't be able to do it. 3:7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. - It is talking about how you cannot tame a man's tongue. You can tame everything but not the man's tongue. Only God can do it. And he is making a very important point here: he says, every beast, every bird, every reptile, every creature of the sea is tamed and has been tamed. It shows that man has been exercising authority - a God-kind ofauthority over all the creatures.

So man is given a specific work to do and all our work, whatever profession you are in, small or great, whatever it is, it is directly related to that work of ruling. And that ruling has to do with fixing chaos, emptiness and darkness - that is how it works. The close association in verse 26 of the statement about how man is made in the image and likeness of God, and he is to rule and immediately the rule is explained as subduing and dominating )in verse 28) shows that man's image and likeness is to enable him to do the rule of this kind and do the work of this kind and walk and whatever work we do relates to that, whether you are amechanic, painter, you are an engineer, computer man or whatever it is. You are always removing some chaos, emptiness and darkness bringing something under your control so that it can function well, and therefore every job is important.

Now I told you last Sunday that all the kings made their statues and put them all over their domain, because of the areas where they ruled they never went, people never saw them. So they wanted to make sure they knew who ruled. So what was the image all about? They made their images and placed them there in the city square or some important place so that everybody can see. So everybody has in one way, seen the king, at least in that image. And I told you that God didn't place images, He placed human beings - living human beings to represent Him all over the world instead of placing images. People are made in the image and likeness of God. But that image of God, that people saw, you know what it represented? When they saw that image, they respected that image - the village people, the town people. They have never seen the king, but they would bow, and they will call upon that image and garland that image, they would pay respect to that image. You know why? Because that image showed who is in authority under who they are functioning; and who has power and authority over them - who would protect them, who would feed them, who will take care of them. Protect them from the....the image meant a lot to them. That is what the image meant. So they paid a lot of respect. They knew that that it is a symbol of his presence and power. That is what the image was all about.

Now we are the image of God. God didn't put statues and when people see us they must see the presence of God and the authority and the power of God through us. That is how God wants us to convert our work in this world into. Our work, our business and our enterprise, our profession must reflect God's image. People that have never seen God must say, "That is God. That is godly. That is good. This is what God would be like". People must see that. In those days when the bible was written in the biblical times, there were countries like Egypt and areas like Mesopotamia and all that, in those places - only the king's image was put up and the king's image meant to people that He is almost equal to God. They looked at kings as God appointed. So they paid - the same kind of respect they paid to God to the king. This is the whole idea in the ancient world. They treated the king like God's representative - that is what it meant to them. That he is God's representative; but the bible does not teach that only very few people, you know, carried the image of God. The bible does not teach that only a few people are like kings, they have the authority and they carried the image of God. You know how the bible teaches - the bible says that man; that includes every one of us; you and I, all kinds of people everywhere. No matter was caste, what colour, what nationality, whatever background you come from... man.

God said, "Let us make man in our image and in our likeness". God did not just make kings as images of Himself. He made man - every man, every last man as His image and His likeness; that is the bible. The concept of the king being in the image of God is an ancient concept, but more ancient than that, more established than that by God is this concept that every man is in the image of God. So when you go home look at yourself in the mirror - you are the image of God. Not just some king of the country. You are the image of God.


Secondly, work has dignity. Not just some work, but all work has dignity. All kinds of work have dignity. Let me quickly say this: in Genesis chapter 2 weread inverse 8, about God making a garden for Adam. It says: "God literally planted a garden" Have you ever read that? God planted a garden )2:8). Here God in the very first chapters of the bible presented Himself as a gardener. And we think "gardener" is a cheap thing. Just call some gardener paying him some 3 or 4 hundred rupees per day, he will come and do the gardening that is a cheap kind of job, and we will never get out hands dirty sometimes. God presents Himself as a gardener. And then in the New Testament - we come to the New Testament, you know if you asked the Greeks of that time if God ever came into the world as a man, how would He come? What kind of form will He take? They will say, "Well, He will come as a great philosopher, a brainy guy, who can talk about anything and so on. He will be a philosopher king, and Romans would have said, "Well, he would be a Nobel statesman" - that is their concept of God. And Jesus came, He is word made flesh - He is God in flesh and He came as carpenter.

So,all carpenters sit up straight. This is how God presents Himself. That shows that in the sight of God, every job has dignity. Think of the person that is sweeping the floor, sweeping our house. Sometimes we pay people to do that, you know. The thing is: if they don't show up, which they often times, don't. What happens? We ourselves get to sweeping and mopping. Why? Because you can't live in the dirt. If you lived long enough in the dirt, then you will be living no more. Some infection will come, some germs will get into you. You get killed by all these things. So you want to get down and scrub the floor, get it clean.

I lived as a bachelor for many years - I cleaned. I remember first time I cooked, I left all the stuff in the kitchen sink. Let it sit there till tomorrow. I cooked and ate and I was so tired, and I got to clean it myself, I left it there. And then it started stinking. I couldn't stand it. So I cleaned it. I learned how to clean, wash pots and cans, cleaned it. And then I started cleaning as soon as I ate. Because you got to keep it clean. Somebody may come. You can have servants there. Now was that bad, is that a demeaning job? Is that something that we shy away from? If they don't come, we do it. That shows that, it is in no way demeaning. If you can do it, then the other person can also do it - then it is a respectable job. It is not something bad; it is not something, you know, that takes you down in status or something like that.

Thirdly, work has dignity because the material creation that we are called to take care of and to administer is called as good and very good by God. Totally opposite by the Greek's thinking. They called it bad, God called it good. The thing, the world that we are supposed to care of is good according to the bible. They said material is bad, spiritual is good. But look at the doctrine of incarnation - the coming of Christ into the world. Word became flesh - immediately the Greek say, "Oh that is bad". How can God become flesh? This became a big controversy in the first century. If God became flesh then He would lose His godliness by becoming flesh. If He took on human flesh then how can He remain God? The Hebrews had no problem with that. But you they had other problems, you know like God is one and God doesn't have a son and all those things they have. But they don't have problem with human body; being bad or anything like that. But they Greeks had a real problem. So they starting bringing those kinds of ideas like Jesus appeared like He was in the flesh, but He was not really there. It is some kind of a ghost-like thing. All these ideas spread in the world at that time because they could not just believe of how God can take on human flesh. That is because human flesh is believed to be bad. But God comes in incarnation, in flesh, takes upon Himself a human body and then they kill him and bury that human body and when we die...when he got killed and buried, God raised upthat body; and his resurrection is proof that our bodies also will be raised one day. When they bury us in the ground, people that bury us may forget us. But God, who redeemed us, has redeemed our body also. He has paid for it. He has fully paid for it and he is coming to get it. And when that trumpets sounds and the angels of God, Jesus descends from heaven, the dead in Christ will rise first, the bible says: All graves will be opened and people buried there will come out, the bible says. Nothing wrong with the body; God is interested in the body - He is the owner of the body. The body is for the Lord, 1 Corinthians 6 says. Body is for the Lord, it belongs to the Lord. Why did God create a body? So that it can become the temple of God. So God is coming for it. This is the way the bible teaches it. Totally opposite of what the Greeks taught. They taught that it is bad, but the bible says, it is good.

Plus Christians think that the earth is basically ... basically we are here temporarily on this earth, and it's like a theatre, where we display our individual salvation stories here. And after our life is over here, we will go away and live in disembodied bodies; without body we will live somewhere else - kind of floating like angels. This is the kind of picture some Christians have, will be in heaven, you know, like angels. But if you really read the bible, it says that God is going to raise our body, and give it back to us as a better body. Same body, but as an imperishable body, that cannot be destroyed, and then He is going to bring us in the same world, but He is going to purify it, cleanse it, renew it so that there'll be new heaven and new earth. See, we are not going to go anywhere from the earth. So we need to quit calling the earth bad, and always wait to just get away from the earth. If we go also He is going to bring us right back here and establish us here after He gets rid of all the blemishes on this earth that came as a result of sin and so on.

Finally, let me read just read one verse and close. In Psalm 65 verse 9 and 10. I am just trying to show you that there nothing is wrong with the earth. God called it good, therefore, don't shy away from work in this earth, don't think that it is of less value when you are work in this world; that earthly life and the work thereof is bad. That is wrong idea. Psalm 65 verses 9 and 10: You visit the earth and water it )that means he is talking about God),You greatly enrich it )See God is still doing His gardener job) You visit the earth and water it,You greatly enrich it.The river of God is full of water.You provide their grain,for so You have prepared it.- God is interested in how your fields, where you are growing things are doing. He is interested in it getting enough water. He is interested in having things grow there - the grain that is growing there. And it says: You water itsridges abundantly,You settle its furrows;You make it soft with showers and You bless it with growth. - And it goes on. And you count the year, with your goodness, your paths drip with abundance. What is it all about? It is talking about earthly work, where a farmer is attending to his work - watering the garden, preparing the earth to plant his seed and to receive a great harvest and God is involved with him in this. Great effort, God blesses him. Pours His rain in season and helps the thing to grow and flourish and creates abundance out of it. God is interested. Now how can you ever think that God is not interested in your job? Some people think that God is only interested in you when you sit with the bible and pray. No, He is interesting in you when you are at your work and your struggles at your work. Just like when it is not raining and when things are not working out well. When you are at work and nothing is working-out, God is interested in making everything work out. God is looking to help you. God says, "I will command a blessing" Why a blessing is needed? Blessing is a power. What kind of power? Power to change things. God says, "I will command a blessing upon your work, so that things that don't work, will work". You can change things. So I am telling you my friend, God is interested in your work. Your work as far as God is concerned - God thinks your work is very important. You are doing something as a representative of God. You are doing God's work. Now here it talks about God preparing the earth, making it grow and watering it and all that. If you read John chapter 16 verse 8, there you read about how the same God, convicts a sinner and draws Him to Christ, and convinces the sinner about the coming judgement and drawing people to Christ.

This God is going two things: One is watering the garden, causing the fields to grow the grain well. He is interested in that; and at the same time, He is interested in the souls - in the salvation of people that don't know Christ, that are lost. He is convicting, convincing the sinner. See to God, He doesn't divide the spiritual and the material. He says that is not important, let Him starve. If food doesn't come, it is fine. No, that is material, that is bad or that is... No, God doesn't do things like that. God says I will make it work. I will help him in that, so that there is abundance, the parts drip with butter literally. That is what it is talking about. Such prosperity He causes in that man's work is important to God. And here, on the other hand, He brings conviction, convincing the sinner to come to Christ, because He is interested to the soul. I tell you God is interested in spiritual and material side of your life. Do not think work is a material thing and not important. Look at it as a godly thing and do it as unto God so that through your work the image of God shines forth in this world. People say be a testimony: your work is a way that you can be a testimony before the world - the kind of products that you produce, the kind of service you give, the kind of work you do is a testimony that there is a God who is a good God.

Amen, shall we all stand together.

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