SEEK 2018 – Saturday Morning – Sunder Krishnan – The Holy Spirit in the Splendor of the Ordinary in our Work

July 17, 2018

41:17

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“David understood that as he found what was inside and took it to God, he was furthering the work of creation and countering the work of sin in his life.”

Transcript

The following is a raw, unedited transcript provided by a digital transcription service and may contain grammatical or spelling errors.

 

Speaker 1: In our first session, we began to establish the groundwork that the Holy Spirit’s work is often in those ordinary dimensions of life when we looked at marriage as perhaps encapsulating all of the dynamics that happen in every key relationship. Now, in that same section, he goes on to talk about slaves and masters. That filling of the spirit is to find that same kind of expression of relational harmony, but in the work settings. That’s what I want to talk about in the second session as we continue to look at the work of the spirit in the ordinary dimensions of life.

Speaker 1: I worked as an engineer for 11 years with Atomic Energy and then 36 years as a pastor. When I look back upon it, there are more similarities than differences and I ask myself the question, if after 36 years as a pastor, if I were going back into the work world or if it happened the other way around, what would I take back with me to the work place that I’ve now come to know as a result of being a pastor in a congregation ministering to people who are working at a regular job of all of their lives? That’s what I want to talk about this morning.

Speaker 1: The first and foremost thing I want to begin is the fact that we need to watch out for pride. Pride has an incredible opportunity to flourish in the work place. It’s the mindset of the enemy. The desert fathers, when they cataloged the seven deadly sins knew what they were talking about when they made pride the first of the seven deadliest of the seven deadly sins. We don’t have time to take a look at it, but Isaiah Chapter 14 is one of the two passages that scholars believe in the Old Testament gives us a little bit of a glimpse into the fall of Lucifer. It was characterized by the exact opposite of Jesus. The upward mobility. I will make myself like the most high god. I will sit in the throne with the most high.

Speaker 1: That self-promotion that we talked about is one that we avoid, the opposite of the mind of Jesus, with the essence of the mindset of the Devil. It was the essence of the first temptation that we saw. You will become like God. Exercise your independence. After all, what sin could be committed in a perfect environment with perfect people? Except that one of keeping myself equal as opposed to submitting. Doing something just because I had the power to do it. With no external stimulus at all. None of us live in that situation. We have all kinds of external stimuli to our sin. It doesn’t excuse it, but it explains it. “Oh, I’m angry because I was hungry.” Okay. It doesn’t excuse your anger, but I can understand why you might be less self-controlled when you’re hungry than when you’re not.

Speaker 1: The first temptation and the fall happened in a setting that was perfect, with absolutely no external stimuli, except the sheer possibility of exercising my independence of God. That’s what makes it quintessentially evil. It’s also ubiquitous. It’s everywhere. I think there are some sins that some of us can honestly say, “I don’t ever think I’ll do that.” There is one sin that affects all of us and that’s pride. CS Lewis illustrated in one of my most favorite ways when he simply said, “Imagine the last time you were in a group whose photograph was taken and the photograph was handed to you. Who did you look at first?” What usually determines whether the photographer has done a good job or not, right?

Speaker 1: It’s ubiquitous. Every one of us struggles with this issue. It has a tremendous opportunity to flourish in the work place. Remember the sin of Babel, Genesis Chapter. What was the essence of that? Look at what it says in Genesis 11:4. Then they said, “Come. Let us build ourselves a city and a tower. We’ll just stop at the Heavens. No problems with an architectural enterprise. Let us make a name for ourselves.” The command was to spread and populate and fill. They said, “No. We will consolidate and we will build a name for ourselves.”

Speaker 1: Today for the tower, we can substitute the corporate ladder, the academic ladder, the social ladder, the corner office. Making a name for myself, CIO, CEO, COO, CFO, VP, Executive VP. It goes on and on and on and on. I remember reading in Os Guiness’ book, No God But God, Breaking with the Idols of [inaudible 00:04:46]. He talked about an essay called the Demonization of Ministry.

Speaker 1: Now, no offense to anybody here with a DMIN degree, but when they did the research, they found out that in 78% of the cases of people who went for a DMIN degree, it would increase their prestige amongst the congregations that they served in. That still meant 22% were okay, but that’s frightening. That’s frightening. This is a preoccupation with making a name for ourselves.

Speaker 1: It’s always divisive. Pride is always divisive. Dr. Tozer, I think, was the one who pointed it out, that other sins at least have the power to unite us for a little while. A group of thieves united together to rob a bank are united for a little while at least. Pride always divides. The reason for that is, pride is not content in being rich. It has to be richer than. Pride is not content in being beautiful. It has to be more beautiful than. Therein lies the problem. You’ve got two people. A wants to be richer than B. B wants to be richer than A. Sheer logic tells us both can’t happen at the same time because if A is richer than B, B is not richer than A, but wants to be. What does that do to the relationship between them? It puts [inaudible 00:05:57].

Speaker 1: Pride is ubiquitous. Pride is always divisive in its nature. It has the opportunity to function in the work place. What we are learning, once again we need to go back to the same thing, a work place is a place where we need to cultivate the mindset of Jesus. Just, your work is not different from your church. Where did the Bible begin? God at work. Not in the church. Hours and hours, a huge amount of your life is done in the work place. Well, where does Jesus want to express himself through you more than anywhere else? In the home we started and in the work places. It’s to surprising that this is an area where the Holy Spirit wants to take over and manifest the mind of Jesus.

Speaker 1: Guys, I want to go back and take a look at it again, but we’ll look inside [inaudible 00:06:40]. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours and Christ Jesus. Although he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped at, but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant and being born in the likeness of men and being found in the human form, he humbled himself. Therefore, God highly exalted him.

Speaker 1: I want to focus on that word ‘grasp.’ It occurs only here in the New Testament. Most likely a word that you almost manufacture. It’s not used anywhere else in the New Testament, so what exactly is the idea behind it? There were at least three different ways in which this particular word was used in contemporary Greek at that time. First of all, it was used to describe somebody holding onto something really tightly, clutching onto something. It’s amazing how quickly we learn that. Have you ever tried to pry a rattle out of a handle of an infant? They know how to grip something hard.

Speaker 1: The second way in which that word was used was not to clutch onto something that you have, but to grasp for something that you don’t have. Again, children are an amazing illustration. Have you ever seen two children playing in a room and there’s a toy in the corner that nobody’s wants until one of them goes after it? Then immediately, the other one wants it, right? That’s grasping for what you don’t have. The third way in which this word was used, probably the primary application here, is a little bit more complicated, so I’ll almost illustrate to what it means.

Speaker 1: Imagine someone in a group, maybe it’s your Homeowners Association, maybe in a church, maybe even in the office work place, any setting. Someone who isn’t particularly influential. Someone who is not charismatic. Someone who isn’t articulate and therefore somebody whose opinions aren’t valued very much when decisions are made and things like that.

Speaker 1: Now, all of a sudden imagine you discover that over the weekend, this man or woman wins the jackpot and becomes a millionaire. What happens to their influence status overnight? Now, they have something that they can use as a lever to leverage situations for their own advantage and for that self-promotion. That was the third way in which this word ‘grasping’ was used.

Speaker 1: Clutching onto something that is yours, grasping for something that isn’t yours, and thirdly, I coined the word ‘exploit.’ Exploit a personal advantage that you have, some leverage that you have, to promote yourself. This was the mindset of Jesus that he didn’t do these things. He didn’t clutch onto something that was already his. His status was equal with God. He held it loosely. He didn’t grasp for what he didn’t get. What was it that Jesus didn’t get to have? I don’t know. Can you just imagine for all the years, millennia, before Jesus came into this world, was there one song written to Jesus? Did anybody praise the name of Jesus? No. Was he any less deserving of that universal recognition? No.

Speaker 1: That’s what it says here. Therefore, God exalted him and gave him a name [inaudible 00:09:42] every other name. It was always his, but that universal recognition and acknowledgement wasn’t there. He didn’t grasp for that. He bided his time in the fullness of time he came. He didn’t clutch. He didn’t grasp. Jesus definitely did not exploit his powers to advance himself. Instead, he humbled himself. Instead, he served. Now, imagine what would happen if this was our characteristic in the work place. Imagine yourself back again with your colleagues in the work place, in that cubicle next door, in your boss’s office, doing the work when no one is watching you or whatever or as a boss treating people who work and report to you. What happens if these things begin to characterize yourself.

Speaker 1: I will never clutch onto something that is mine, but hold it loosely. Just recently, I came across a situation in my mentoring relationship where some person is struggling because one of the colleagues that has joined him in the work place is younger and obviously more charismatic. The same workers that used to hold him in high regard don’t hold him in any less regard, but are basically just coalescing around this new individual. He once asked somebody else, “How am I going to compete with this charisma?” He needs to hold it loosely. It was not his when it was given. It was not his when it was taken away. What if we were to treat any particular position of influence, authority that we have with looseness rather than clutching onto something. Then how about the other one? Grasping?

Speaker 1: Let me talk about refusing to exploit without us serving and developing those under you. My first 16 years as a pastor, I was not senior pastor of the church. I was a preaching pastor when Ross Ingram, the founding pastor of that church resigned to go overseas. His associate was appointed as the senior pastor. I, who was an elder in the church and with the gift of teaching and nothing else, they took a risky step and said, “Well, why don’t you come and join the staff as preaching pastor?”

Speaker 1: For 16 years, Bud was the senior pastor who didn’t preach and I was the preaching pastor who didn’t lead. Yet, the pulpit is inevitably an incredibly powerful position. For 16 years, I was blessed with a senior pastor who served me. He protected my time for study, made sure that if there was an opportunity to go to a seminary to get extra course, he was always my champion for that.

Speaker 1: Sometimes on a Sunday morning when it would snow, which happens quite often for four or five months in Toronto, I would see him outside my study shoveling the handicap access ramp while I was praying. When the time came for me to take my first sabbatical, he was my champion with the elders board even though he had never taken a sabbatical in his whole life. When I preached at the General Assembly, which is the equivalent of your Council here in 1992, Bud was my valet.

Speaker 1: We would come and pick me up at the hotel, make sure I got to places on time, drop me off. This was a senior pastor. Every Sunday morning, he had to step back and yield the power position, at least the perceived power position, over to someone who was 15 years younger than him and who had never been to Bible College and never had the church experience that he had. That’s the mindset that refuses to grasp, refuses to exploit, but instead serve. Then not grasping for what is so often in the work place, we don’t get the promotion that we deserve, somebody else gets it instead.

Speaker 1: We don’t get the recognition. Other people’s names are mentioned at the meeting and ours are forgotten or are left out or our name doesn’t make it to the report that we worked the hardest. What do we do then? Grasp for it? Fight for it? Get upset over it? Just let it come in his time if and when he wants because exaltation is his business, not ours. Just think of yourself in the workplace. Just imagine for a moment, what would the work place look like …

PART 1 OF 3 ENDS [00:14:04]

Speaker 1: Think of yourself in the workplace. Just imagine for a moment, what would the workplace look like? What would your church committee meetings look like? What would any group setting where you’re working look like, if this is what characterizes your life? Not clutching, not grasping, not exploiting. But developing and serving others. Now, this passage ends bu saying, “Therefore God highly exalted him.” What happens if in the workplace, the exaltation never comes. What if you work for 40 years, and you’re never promoted? What then?

Speaker 1: How do we handle obscurity? David is a good example. I should have come up to one at a time, but that’s okay. Just don’t look at that, listen to me. David in scripture is an interesting character. There are 44 chapters, oh sorry. 14 chapters in the Bible given to Abraham. 14 chapters given to Joseph, 11 I should say. 66 to Kind David. Abraham is our patriarch, right? 66 chapters in the Bible given to King David. His is the central story in the whole Bible. We know more about David than we know about anybody else in the Bible. And here is the interesting thing. He was a layman. He wasn’t a prophet, he wasn’t a priest. He was a king with a job to do. Don’t ever say to yourselves again, “I am only a layman. I am only a laywoman.”

Speaker 1: You are the central story of the Bible, you are the untapped resource for the kingdom, not the pastors. We are there to help you become that we should see ourselves to be. The importance of your calling is unbelievable. It’s a holy, sacred calling where you are at. The other interesting thing, and I’m indebted to Eugene Peterson for pointing this out. There isn’t a single miracle recorded in David’s life. Yet at the end of his life, in second [inaudible 00:16:00], he spoke of himself as a man who was filled with the spirit of God, speaking God’s words. The life of David trains us to see the splendor of the ordinary. Os Guinness in his book The Call, tells an amazing story of a young woman in the 17th century, I think it was, who’s husband and somebody else had died in a duel, and she was just all ready to kill herself.

Speaker 1: She was sitting on the banks of a river ready to drown herself, and then across the river, on the other side, she saw a young plowman plowing his field. And she watched him go up and down, making those rows absolutely parallel to one another. And he was singing while he was working. And she said, if he can take that much pleasure in just getting the furrows right and the field, I still have a child to raise, and she turned back. The splendor of the ordinary. A plowman plowing furrows straight, led to Os Guinness being born five generations later. That’s how important your work is.

Speaker 1: So what did we learn from the life of David? David in the Valley of Obscurity, he spent a lot of time in obscurity. And remember what David was doing when Samuel came, he was watching after sheep. What did he do immediately after that? He went back to the sheep. He went back into the Valley of Obscurity. A future king was anointing upon him. And why did he do that? Well we know that David wrote songs, David sang. Bedded down the sheep at night. Psalm 8 suggests to us that he was looking at the sky, he was meditating. He was seeing the grandeur of God outside, oh Lord, oh Lord, how excellent is your name.

Speaker 1: Now who is this man that you are mindful of? Who am I? What do you care for me? You just made me a little lower than yourself. You’ve made me ruler over all things. He thought big thoughts about himself. But in submission to God. David got in touch with his soul. Not only do we know so much about the exterior life of this man, we know more about his interior life than anybody else as well. So many of the Psalms were written by him. All of the emotions from the ugly ones, you know, dashed their babies to pieces, and bashed the teeth in their mouth. What’s that doing in the Psalms?

Speaker 1: That’s human. We feel things like that. All the way to just unbelievable exaltation and God’s greatness. I love you with my whole heart, I seek your commandments. The full gamut of human emotion, in David’s story. We know more about the external life of this man, and we know more about the internal life. David spent time in the Valley of Obscurity getting in touch with his soul; what was on the inside. You know, if you’re familiar with the writings of Peter Scazaro, picture that we’re all like icebergs, 10/11ths of our volume is below the surface. And most of us are afraid to look below the surface to see what’s inside. It is such a crucial part, the work of the Holy Spirit is to make us look inward.

Speaker 1: David spent time getting in touch with his soul. And secondly, he took what he found to God. He didn’t hide it. He took what he found to God. Search me, oh God, see there be any harmful way in me. Lead me the way everlasting. He prayed his emotions, he prayed his hatred, he prayed his anger, he lamented in God’s presence. How long ago, why oh God? Don’t let anybody tell you you shouldn’t be asking God how long and why. They are there. We have a long training in asking how long. We just don’t park there, he also trains us how to come out of it. But he did no rush to get there. The other thing of course, what he found there, he set to music.

Speaker 1: Not all of us can do that. I can’t sing, I can’t write music, but what was he doing? He was furthering the work of creation. In Genesis Chapter one, what did God do? He shaped and he created and he shaped, and he filled. And then he created people in his own image, and he blessed them. Then, now you go do the same thing. You go shape and fill the rest of humanity, to bless them. So that’s what David was doing. Music was one of the ways in which you bring order out of chaos. Music brings order to the imagination and puts things together that we cannot do otherwise. That’s what the best of literature, and art, and all of things do. They integrate. People like me, who are engineers, know how to break things apart. You need the artist to put things together once again.

Speaker 1: They don’t do it through linear logic, they just integrate everything in a whole picture, that grips us. And they know how to hook our imaginations. And imagination is so important, Stanley Howervoss, I think it said, when it comes to the Christian life, acquiring the right image is even more important than will power. Will power is a notoriously sputtery engine in which to rely on for energy. But the right image, which means a Biblically disciplined image, pulls us into the field of energy and reality. Energy is power, reality is truth. Truth and power are what it’s all about. And imagination is so important. So those of you who are artists, poets, musicians, sculptors, you are so important. You further the work of creation.

Speaker 1: But you also account of the work of sin in his life. David not only said, “Your law is so wonderful, Lord.” He said, “By them is your servant warned.” Who can discern his elders, keep me back from presumptuous sin, then will I not be guilty of the great transgression. David understood that as he found what was inside and he took it to God, two things were happening. He was furthering the work of creation, and he was countering the work of sin in his life. What a beautiful calling, that was to be a call for every one of us. In the places that you go into, you’re called to do those things. Remember, it was his music that took him to the palace. It was this work that took him to the palace.

Speaker 1: Your preparation in obscurity, is preparation for whatever palace work may lie ahead for you. Whether the exaltation comes or not is not your business. The best way to prepare for that exaltation is to do your present work of shaping and filling to the best of your ability, wherever you are. So that’s the first thing you need to do. Deep in your intimacy, first with self and then with God. Don’t forget, deep in your intimacy, you need to know yourself. This is where the courageous explanation comes in. It’s related to what we talked about this morning, because that’s one of the goals, the purpose that God has for us in marriage. I learned more about my inside after I got married than ever before.

Speaker 1: Because I had someone who’s facial expression would reflect the ugliness in me. Walter Rangerin calls our spouses mirrors of dangerous grace. So are other human beings in their relationships with us. The work place is a place where all kinds of things can be revealed about yourself. Learn to look inside. Sometimes the way we react at work, what happens when we don’t get the credit that we deserve? What happens when somebody else gets promoted instead of us? What happens when there’s a 360 review, and the review isn’t as good as we thought it would be. Take some time to look at why you are reacting the way you are. She was not very good at asking some questions. We have to react in a certain way, but we never stopped to ask, why did I react that way?

Speaker 1: What was going on inside of me when I reacted that waY? Those are absolutely crucial to understanding yourself. So the workplace is constantly throwing up, because of relationships, it’s throwing up stuff like that for us to take a look at. And then take what you find to God, exactly the same thing as David did. Everything is legitimate stuff for your prayer life. In fact, that’s what God wants you to pray about. Remember what Jesus said, he quoted Isaiah, these people come near to me with their lips while their lips are far from me. No, no. God wants our hearts. So what is going on inside of us, that is revealed to us in the workplaces, by what happens, is the stuff that he wants us to take to him.

Speaker 1: You’re furthering the work of creation in your work, and you’re also countering the work of sin, exactly what David did. Then secondly, adopt a mindset of serving others in the workplace. David’s first task as the future king was to serve the present king. And by the way, isn’t it interesting that that’s exactly what he had to do for Saul? He had to further the work of creation, and counter the work of sin in Saul’s land. Because Saul would be possessed by demonic spirits. What did David’s music do? It calmed him down. It drove away the evil spirit. It brought order where there was chaos. That was countering the work of sin, but he was also David’s alms bearer for a while. So he was protecting as king, as well. So that exactly same work of furthering the work of creation and conquering the work of sin in us, is exactly what we do in the lives of other people as well.

Speaker 1:It’s always interesting, you know. The Bible tells us that the spirit departed from Saul, so it was gone from the palace, but the spirit showed up again when David showed up. Have you ever thought of yourself, every Monday through Friday, when you go to the workplace, the Holy Spirit is showing up in your workplaces? You are the temple, they don’t come to church. You are the church to them. Your offices all of the sudden become church. But we don’t think of it like that, right? Long ago someone gave me a calendar was based on cartoons, that cartoon character Ziggy. And in one of these, it was a big calendar. So Ziggy is standing in front of a full length mirror.

Speaker 1: He says, “Well, it’s you and me against the world today, and frankly, I think we’re going to get creamed.” You keep going to work with that kind of a mindset, you could say, “No, no. I’m taking the Holy Spirit into the workplace.” The Holy Spirit is re-entering my workplace, Monday morning, to serve. There will always be opportunity to serve. Because you see service can speak to us by its absence in the workplace. I remember, many many years ago, when I was working with atomic energy of Canada, at lunchtime, some guys would love to play chess. And everybody else kind of gathered around them and give their ideas and what not. So this was happening one day, and I was sitting on side of the office, and I just finished eating a banana. And there was no trash cans nearby. So one of my friends, one of the workers on the other side, said, “Hey Ken, can you just pass the trash can.”

Speaker 1: He kicked it over. He said, “Nothing like service, is there?” All I requested that he passed the service, but people don’t like to serve. So servants are irresistible by divine design. They get noted. That was the mindset of Jesus, to refuse to clutch, to refuse to grasp, to refuse to exploit, but serve in the power of the Holy Spirit. You’ll get noticed. You don’t do it because of that, but you will get noticed. Because a servant has shown up in our middle. And nobody can stop you from that. You don’t need titles, you don’t need the corner office. You don’t need positive reviews to serve. But you need the Spirit. You need the mindset of Jesus. You need something supernatural.

Speaker 1: And again, it’ll happen exactly the same way that we talked about this morning. The Spirit will magnify the mindset of Jesus. And that’s what you fall in love with. It’s Jesus. I love Jesus. He is worth it. He is worthy, and I will follow him. I will learn from him.

PART 2 OF 3 ENDS [00:28:04]

Speaker 1: He is worthy and I will follow him. I will learn from him. I will follow him. And this requires a deliberate focus on relationships and being private. If you rethink your work in terms of relationships. In his book on earth and alter Eugene Peterson says work is not a means of making money. It’s a work of being creative in your relationships at work. Recast your entire approach to your work in terms of the relational matrices that are in work. Yes, there’s work to be done but think of it primarily in the context of your relationships.

Speaker 1: Now, you’ll have to help me. I’ve lost track of my time here. I think I … give me a few more minutes, okay? Yeah. What’s gonna enable us to do this? Certainly part of the spirit … to coming to Jesus. Those things are basically the same no matter what topic I’m talking about. It’s gonna be in the part of the spirit. It’s gonna be out of reverence for Jesus so you come to Jesus.

Speaker 1: But the kind of coming that I want to specifically talk about is in relation to work place. This is where … This has stopped working for some reason. Can you just move it to the next slide please and maybe just follow me as I move on?

Speaker 1: Sabbath. This was such an important part, the whole sermon and stuff like … a whole couple of sermons in itself, but I just want to take a few minutes to walk you through it. The practice of Sabbath is so crucial if we’re going to be working the way God wants us to work and Psalm 127 verse says, unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise up early and stay up late toiling for food to eat for he grants sleep to those he loves. In fact, I think the literal translation says he gives to his beloved in his sleep.

Speaker 1: Remember we talked about eight hours in the workplace. Eight hours home and eight hours of sleeping. God’s at work even when you’re sleeping. That’s why sleep is important. Burning the candle at both … that’s what Psalm 127 says. In vain you get up early, in vain you stay up late. Vanity, it’s not going to accomplish what you want beyond a certain point.

Speaker 1: In the book, ‘Earth and all-‘ … working the angles, Peterson said once, he said, sleep is God’s way of getting us out of the way for at least eight hours so we don’t mess up his work. He just forced us to get out of the way for a period of time. Probably a lot more truth in it than we might accept. But then we awaken. We awaken into a world where God has been at work. He never sleeps. He never slumbers. He’s always at work and I think that’s one important function of sleep. We then rest our … awaken into a world … we haven’t started anything.

Speaker 1: Our job is not initiative, but response. It teaches us a rhythm of moving from rest to work, not from work to rest. We’re busy, busy, busy, busy, working so hard. We desperately have to down tools for a while as opposed to a mindset that says, no, I rest first. Get out of the way first, so that God is doing his work and then I am entering a work that he has already begun. Add that to the fact that the spirit has been brooding over the darkness. The spirit’s been brooding, God been at work. That’s what Jesus said, right? My father is always at work and so I am at work. He understood that and he awoken into a world in which the father was at work and he joins Him in that work.

Speaker 1: It’s always interesting to me on that. Man’s first full day, what did he do? Nothing. God created man on day six and he said you’d be fruitful and multiply. There’s lots of work to do, but you begin by doing nothing. One full day. It just trains us again in that rhythm, right? Rest to work, rest to work.

Speaker 1: Remember how Genesis one restructured evening and morning, day one. Evening and morning, day two. If you and I were writing, it would be morning and evening, day one. Morning and evening, day two. We think everything begins when we get up. Actually everything begins when we sleep, when we stopped doing something. The biblical rhythm is from rest to work, not from work to rest.

Speaker 1: Also, if you read the Psalm, you’ll find fairly early on … Psalm four and five. One is a morning prayer, ones an evening prayer. I put the psalms together, I put the morning prayer first and then the evening prayer, right? It’s the other way around in the Bible. Psalm four is the evening prayer, Psalm five is the morning prayer. What’s all this mean? It’s just training us in a completely counter cultural mindset when it comes to work. We don’t move from rest to work and from work to rest. We moved from rest to work, so we enter into God’s work. And this is not just semantics. This is a way of approaching life, and so it makes a lot of difference. From sleep we move to the importance of weekly Sabbath.

Speaker 1: And Genesis and Deuteronomy, give two different reasons for that Sabbath. Genesis says your work … Exodus, sorry. Should say Exodus and Deuteronomy. Exodus says, God rested. You enter into creation and enjoy that. But Deuteronomy says, observed the Sabbath because you were slaves in Egypt for 400 years. They had been reduced to brick making units, and we live in a society where people would reduce to the hour of our products. Even a grocery store clerks don’t have any time to chat with us because their keystrokes are being monitored by computers and they actually discouraged from building relationships. The workplace has become inimical to exactly how we were supposed to live and so we need to regularly make sure that we’re not defined by our work.

Speaker 1:  Sabbath is one day in seven to stop looking at our work and say, you don’t define me, God does. When John shared his story last night, when all of a sudden, for two years, he couldn’t do what he did. And it’s more than just the physical limitation that come up at that time. It just helps us to ask ourselves again. Issues of identity questions. where am I getting my identity from?

Speaker 1: It’s also humbling because it’s a way of saying work and get along without me for one day. I’m not indispensable. Gordon Macdonald, his book, ‘Rebuilding a Broken World’, says when he had his moral failure and he was out of ministry for awhile, he said the church didn’t even flip. He said God continued to carry on with his work. I’m not indispensable to anything. These are all the illusions that are broken down by Sabbath.

Speaker 1: And very quickly, prayer. That coming to Jesus that I talked about everyday. But this time in the context of the workplace. Yeah, you’d think, of course the pastor has to pray about his or her preaching and teaching. Yeah. You do too. Your work is foundational importance. Your work is genesis work, the cultural mandate of shaping and filling. You are shepherds in the workplace. You’re the only Christian. Remember the Holy Spirit is re-entering the workplace with you. The workplace content needs to become a key part of your brain so that you’re entering into a place where God is already at work.

Speaker 1: I had a school teacher in our church. Every morning he used to go half an hour earlier than he needed to before anybody came to the classroom and he would pray at every desk for the students by name. Every day of his ministry. This is a world in which there’s a lot of pain. You can take it for granted that your colleagues are suffering from pain of some kind or another. Make yourself aware of it and courageously speak words of blessing and praise into it. That’s how your Sabbath will spill over into your workplace. Let me stop. Okay. I’m fine.

Speaker 1: Let me just quickly summarize God’s blueprint in the workplace. Watch out for pride. Handle obscurity like David. Practice Sabbath, and be a blessing. Let’s pray again.

Speaker 1: Once again, Lord, we just stand completely helpless and say again, who is sufficient? It’s so easy to preach all this stuff. That’s why we need your spirit of God. That’s why we need you to flow into all of those crevices that we sang in that beautiful song. And I want to ask them very specifically for everyone here as they think about their workplaces. Just seize their imagination once again. What might my workplace be like, what might my heart be like, if I don’t clutch, if I don’t grasp, if I don’t exploit, but if inside, if I serve and develop others?

Speaker 1: What if I used my work experiences to get more in touch with myself on the inside? Bring it to you and take what I learned from that and spill it over into other places. What if I dare to practice even small islands of Sabbath until it grows into these massive coral islands of rest in my life? Holy Spirit of God, answer those what ifs in the days and the weeks to come. Give them specific, single next steps of faith to take and as they begin to sense the fruit that comes from that kind of a life may you encourage them to take the next step. May they begin a journey that will not stop until the day they are promoted into glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Speaker 2: Was there something practical in that for your world? Brother, two questions. One, if we had known you as a 25 year old MIT graduate entering the workplace, what difference would we have seen in you then versus now that you’ve walked with the spirit, opening the word of God on a daily basis to seek again, a fresh and the filling of the spirit? What would have been some of the … Because we just know you now at this stage as a bible expositor and leader in that kind of way, but if we had known you then, what would we have seen that’s been changed in your life now?

Speaker 1: Very good question. Let me mention one from East Bay that are … talked about marriage first. I think that’d be the biggest change in my life. We had a crisis 12 years into our marriage. I was not a crisis that involved any moral issues, anything like that. But I suddenly awoke to the fact that I was not emotionally nurturing my wife. I was a good husband, I was a good father, I was a good provider, I was a spiritual leader in our home. We had a stable marriage. How … and I wasn’t depleting her emotional energies in any way, but I discovered, I wasn’t building anything. And it happened because she won a gold medal at a singing competition and didn’t tell me. And three days later when I asked her why, she said, “You’re not interested.”. I said, “I am.”, she said, “No, you’re not.”. And she just proceeded to prove how I’d shown no interest in that.

Speaker 1: Well, that was a wake up call to me. That was a wake up call. And so I said, “Okay, you’re going to have to teach me, honey, how to do this.”. It took about four years for me to start beginning to win her back emotionally as well. I’m just … would be terrified today where I will be in my marriage if that hadn’t happened. That would be one of the biggest changes I think she would say happened in our marriage.

Speaker 1: In terms of the workplace, I think, I certainly knew nothing of this understanding of the power of blessing. That’s probably the single biggest thing that happened that … I had it up here a lot, but I didn’t know how to go into people’s hearts so that if people came to me for advice, I would probably give them good advice, but it will be very much at the surface. I didn’t know how to ask questions. I wasn’t a good listener at all. And now I’m primarily in a framework of, Lord, I don’t know any answers at all to this person.

Speaker 1: I just had lunch yesterday with someone who owned … a very successful executive. Two days ago. Very successful executive. Happened to meet him through my son’s association and we had lunch together and he started talking and I began to realize it was all this drivenness inside of him. Whereas 35 years ago I’d probably say, you need to do this, this, and this. This time I said, “Okay, Lord, I have no idea what to say. You’re gonna have to show this to me.”, and by the end of the conversation we got to someplace.

Speaker 1: That would’ve been the two biggest differences in not knowing how to go inside peoples and to look at the interior. I get maybe skimming more on the surface, good stuff, but all sorts of stuff. Those would be the two biggest changes, I think.

Speaker 2: And what you just implied is there’s a greater dependence upon the spirit, now. Rather than tapping into, “Well, I know what to say. I got an answer.”, and say, “I need you. I need you.”.

PART 3 OF 3 ENDS [00:41:16]

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