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  • Writer's pictureJim Hays

Who Do You Work For?

We’ve been talking a lot lately (sermons, devos, and ZOOM Bible classes) about “fulfilling God’s purposes in the world,” especially as this relates to Joseph. I believe that this is our very reason for being in this world. It’s what it means to be fully human. We were not put here by our Creator to gratify ourselves. We were not put here by God to be seen as “great” in the eyes of others.

So, what is our purpose? Why were we put here? I think Rick Warren gets it right in his best-selling book The Purpose-Driven Life: Our purpose in this world is to glorify God. Or as I’ve put it countless times in sermons—we exist to make God look good to others.

We are not made for ourselves. Paul writes in Colossians 1:16, “For by Christ all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”

Jesus made everything and everything is for Him. That includes you and me. We were made by Christ for Christ—for His good purposes. It’s all about Him. It’s not about us at all.

Peter says that in our hearts, we should honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

Speaking of Abraham, Paul says that “no unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God(Romans 4:20).

To the church in Corinth, he writes, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20).

We belong to God. Therefore, we submit ourselves under His authority and allow Him to transform us into what He wants us to be so that He can use us for His own good purposes. Doing this brings glory to God. The scriptures are full of people who lived submitted lives to the glory of God! Noah, Abraham, David, Josiah, Hezekiah, the prophets, John the baptizer, and, of course, Jesus!

And what about Joseph? When others look at him—at his words, his behaviors, his attitudes—can they see God?

Genesis gives us a resounding YES! Remember Genesis 37:3, “His master Potiphar saw that the Lord was with Joseph and that the Lord caused all that Joseph did to succeed in His hands.” Joseph glorified God in everything he did. Through his integrity, attention to detail, preparation, and hard work, people could see the Lord!

Let me ask you a question. Can your employer see God at work in you by how you do your job? We’ve all worked with slackers—people who do the minimum requirement just to keep the boss happy.

I love the story of the boss who walks up to the slacker’s desk and asks, “How come you’re not working?”

The employee replies, “Because I didn’t see you coming.” Are we somebody who only works when the boss is watching?

In this time when so many are working and learning from home, self-motivation is vital! There’s no boss or teacher hovering over us to make sure we’re not slacking off. Many have found that they’re actually more productive working from home because there are fewer interruptions. But it takes a lot of self-discipline to focus on the job at hand and not fall to the temptation to do everything half-heartedly.

Allow me to remind you that even if your boss is not watching you, your Creator is. In context, Colossians 3 is talking to masters and slaves in a first-century Roman world. But application to our world can be made rather easily. Listen to verses 22-25 from the Message paraphrase, “Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ.”

One of the questions on next Wednesday’s ZOOM Bible class is: What kind of man did Joseph show himself to be? We’re not going to skip that question on Wednesday, because it’s an important question. Please come to the class with an answer. There are many.

Here’s my summary answer: Joseph was a man who made God look good to others. He brought glory to God by how he did his job—through his words, his actions, and his attitudes.

Joseph was someone who, through suffering, learned how to submit himself to God so God could shape him into the person God wanted him to be. When it came time for Joseph to step up and do the job, he was ready. He was simply God’s vessel, working to fulfill the will and purposes of his Creator.

God chooses to accomplish His will through people like Joseph and Paul and Jesus. And through people like you and me.

You are not your own. You were bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God.

"We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body" (2 Corinthians 4:10-11).

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