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4 more reasons your job matters to God

| by Bob Russell

In my last blog, I talked about the inherent value of work. One of its primary benefits is enhancing our self-esteem. When we work hard, we experience a sense of accomplishment.

That’s one reason God gave Adam and Eve work to do in the Garden of Eden: trees to trim, fruit and vegetables to pick, grass to cut and cows to milk. God gave them responsibilities, in part so that they could feel fulfilled.

Created in God’s image

We are created in the image of God. And God works! God continues to regenerate, oversee, grow, prune and sustain the world that He created. The Lord designed us also to be productive.

As I study Scripture, I don’t get the impression that building up our self-image is God’s leading priority. Obedience and holiness are more important. However, when we live according to God’s will, we feel a lot better about ourselves.

An acquaintance sold his business for $8 million-plus at age 34. He remarked, “I don’t have to work another day in my life.” Less than six months later, he bought another business. He said, “I don’t need the money, but I need the job.”

Work beats nothing

I received a sad comment in response to my previous blog. A fellow believer told of being unemployed for over two years. He admitted to feelings of personal frustration and even anger at God. “I know work is beneficial and I want to work, but no one is hiring in my field, he moaned.

That’s the tragic experience of too many in a sluggish economy. However, I think it’s wiser for unemployed people to take a job in a different field. It’s better than sitting idle, waiting for something to open up. 

A young relative with a college degree is temporarily delivering pizza. I admire that. That’s humbling, but it’s always easier to find a job if you have a job. And he feels a lot better than if he played video games all day.

A lot of retirees struggle with low self-esteem because they don’t think they are making a contribution anymore. Many of us have witnessed an active person retire and then shrivel up and die within months. Every person needs three things to survive: someone to love, something to hope for, and something to do.

A time to retire

Don’t get me wrong. There is a time to retire. It’s biblical. Old Testament priests were to step away from their priestly duties at age 50 and move on to other things. (See Numbers 8:25.)

There is a time to retire and turn over primary responsibilities to the next, more energetic generation. But retirement should not be regarded as a time of self-indulgence, but a time of service.

When we were finalizing plans to build an 800,000-square-foot church campus in Louisville, we needed a skilled construction manager. The best we found was Clark Esser from Anaheim, California.

Clark had construction experience and a good relationship with our architect. A committed Christian with high morals, he was enthusiastic and easy to work with, and yet could be firm when needed. Yet, he was 78. Could we hire an elderly man to oversee a massive, five-year project?

The best man

The building committee decided that Clark was the right choice. But they didn’t know if the church’s elders would approve his hiring.

So, they decided not to say anything about his age when Clark was introduced to them. They hoped that maybe the elders would conclude, like most who witnessed his vitality and appearance, that Clark was in his late 60s.

However, an elder’s first question was, “Tell us about your family.” Clark responded,

“Well, my oldest son is retired.” That spilled the beans! This guy was no spring chicken.

When asked why he was willing to work so hard at his age, he replied, “Honestly, I don’t need the money, but I get such a sense of satisfaction out of being active and contributing. I want every day of my life to count for the Lord. That’s what keeps me young.”

Clark got the job. He was so good and saved us so much money that we hired him again when he was in his mid-80s.

Clark Esser died full of contentment at age 95. His story reminds me of Proverbs 13:4: “The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.”

In other words, get to work!

Bob Russell

At just twenty-two years of age, Bob became the pastor of Southeast Christian Church. That small congregation of 120 members became one of the largest churches in America, with 18,000 people attending the four worship services every weekend in 2006 when Bob retired. Now through Bob Russell Ministries, Bob continues to preach at churches & conferences throughout the United States, provide guidance for church leadership, mentor other ministers and author Bible study videos for use in small groups.

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Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2 (NIV)
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