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April 4, 2018

Karen at Audrey's 4/3/18
Karen with the arrangement she made

"I'm Just A Florist"

Message summary: When our work is done as unto the Lord there is no such work as "I'm just a ____________."

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"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does" (Ephesians 6:7,8). "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving" (Colossians 3:23,24).

On Sunday hundreds of millions of believing Christians all around the world expressed faith as they worshipped the Risen Savior. Most returned to the daily grind of work on Monday. Jesus had taught His followers that they were to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). Our labor essentially distributes us as small grains of salt all through the world. If it wasn't for our work we may otherwise merely congregate amongst ourselves. Work is a God-ordained means of fulfilling the creation mandate to "subdue" (Genesis 1:28).

Karen at Audrey's 4/3/18Yesterday we visited "Audreys", a company that is a wholesale distributor of gift and home decor items. This company has a brief period each morning right after work starts where the employees, if they choose, can gather for a brief prayer time. On Tuesdays I also have the opportunity to share a brief devotional.

In our work as chaplains we walk through the company and visit briefly with the employees as they do their work. (If there is a need for a more extended visit we arrange to meet them off site and off hours.)

Following the prayer gathering yesterday I noticed Karen, who is also a decorator, arranging a succulent garden. Karen is a florist and has a real eye for making beautiful arrangements. When I watched her work I immediately recalled a video I had watched last week titled "The Florist". It's only two minutes long and is a touching reminder of how our work matters to God. Video (2:16 minutes)

In the video the florist feels she's not making much of a difference in the world and wished she could do something that really made a lasting impact in people's lives. Several times she expresses her sense of worth with the phrase, "But I'm just a florist".

But then there are various scenarios that reveal how her role as a florist is such a blessing to others. It shows that, as she does her work unto the Lord, she is making a difference in other's lives.

Many view their work with drudgery and little purpose. They may also feel, "I'm just a ________." But one of my missions is to remind people that what we do vocationally
in most cases honors God. If you're in a job that is potentially destructive to others find another type of work!

Today's two Bible texts express well a Christ-honoring view of work and can be applied to what we often call "secular" work. Several weeks ago I was at a conference that contends, "All work that honors God and is a benefit to mankind is 'sacred' work." I agree.

The Scriptural teaching in the daily texts is a call to honor God in our work, "Whatever you do". This is actually a teaching of the Apostle Paul to Christian slaves but this principle can easily be applied to what we often call "secular" work. Consider the phrases "Serve wholeheartedly" and "Work at it with all your heart."

In our work responsibilities we should indeed serve wholeheartedly. Christians should be diligent, and as a part of their testimony, should be among the most exemplary workers any company has! What kind of employee are you? I encourage you to consider the end use of the product you are making or service you are providing and the blessing it may be to so many people. You are not "just a ________."

"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does."

We should apply these same principles to our work ethic. In whatever we do, our work should be "as to the Lord." Our underlying motivation is the future inheritance we will receive "from the Lord". And what is that inheritance? It's our home in heaven that can "never perish, spoil or fade."

When we work with this attitude Scripture teaches us that in some remarkable way, "It is the Lord Christ we are serving," even more so than our employer. Perhaps that's because plenty of character building goes into our lives as we serve others in the workplace.

May the joy of the Lord accompany you in your work today.
Remember, when our work is done as unto the Lord there is no such work as "I'm just a ____________."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, when we're tempted to be halfhearted in our vocational work or find ourselves bored by monotonous repetition help us to find creative means that will make us even more productive and content in our work assignments. May our conduct and attitude reflect values set forth in Scripture. Make us a blessing so that we bring joy to our co-workers, supervisors, customers and to the workplace in general. During times of personality conflict or when disagreements arise bring to our memory the Scripture that reminds us our primary motivation for being a good worker is that we are serving You when we are diligent in our work.  Not only in our service do we want to do our best but we also ask You to keep our attitudes in check and our words uplifting in the work place. Help us to be quick to see another co-worker's need and respond accordingly. May we be slow to judge and finding fault with others. Prompt us to be faithful in prayer for our employers, supervisors, co-workers, customers and the business in which we serve. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Today's photos were taken by Steven Binkley, a young man in our neighborhood, who is developing his photographic skills. We are pleased to encourage him in his interests as well as blessing our readers with scenes from our neck of the woods!

Bird photo by Steven Binkley
Eastern Blue Bird

Bird photo by Steven Binkley
Canadian Goose

Bird photo by Steven Binkley
Mrs. Northern Cardinal

Bird photo by Steven Binkley
Mr. Northern Cardinal who stands out among the twigs.

Bird photo by Steven Binkley
Downy Woodpecker

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Before You I Kneel (A Worker's Prayer)"  Video   Keith & Kristyn Getty

"Here Are My Hands"  Video  Spring Harvest

"Hands and Feet"  Video 
The Brilliance

"Christ Be All Around Me"  Video  All Sons & Daughters

"Take My Life and Let It Be"  Video   Christ For The Nations, Kari Jobe and Klaus Kuehn

"The Florist"  Video  (2:16 minutes) This is the video we referred to in the message.

Audrey's   Our Story and Mission Statement  This company is sending employees down to Texas next month to serve in hurricane relief!

Last week I linked to this video but will do so again today since it's another reminder of recognizing how our work matters and the special opportunity a Kansas City pastor had to express that to a local company.
"Good Work Matters: The Surprising Story of the Oxygen Mask" Video (5:32 minutes) It's a very powerful lesson of how people so need and appreciate being reminded of the importance of their work.

Finally Today:
Lawn mowing in early April!
Early this morning I mowed a portion of my lawn, which surely seemed rather peculiar to anyone passing by or to my neighbors. Why would you assume I did this?
(I will share the answer tomorrow!)

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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