Doing work that glorifies God

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By Al Earley

A local fitness center offered $1,000 to anyone who could demonstrate that they were stronger than the owner of the center. The owner would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and then hand the lemon to the next challenger. Anyone who could squeeze just one more drop of juice out would win the money. Weightlifters, construction workers, even professional athletes all tried, but nobody could win the prize.

One day a short and skinny guy came in and signed up for the contest. After the laughter died down, the owner grabbed a lemon and squeezed away. Then he handed the wrinkled remains to the little man. The crowd’s laughter turned to silence as the man clenched his fist around the lemon and six drops fell into the glass. As the crowd cheered, the manager paid out the winning prize and asked the short guy what he did for a living. The man replied, “I work for the IRS.”

Last week I started a series on God’s desire for us to be blessed by our work. We start by remembering God is a worker. In Genesis 1 God created everything, and everything God created He saw that it was good. God clearly gained a deep sense of satisfaction from His work, and God wants us to do the same. In Ephesians 2:10, God created us to do good works in Jesus’ name.

The Bible has a story about a tax collector named Zaccheaus (Luke 19:1-10). He wanted to see Jesus, though no reason is given why this was so important to him. Perhaps he hoped the miracle worker could work a miracle in his empty life. So he ran ahead of Jesus and climbed a sycamore tree because he was short. This picture is a bit amusing, isn’t it? First of all, it would have been considered undignified for a rich man to run. Secondly, it seems funny to me that this wealthy man would climb a tree to see Jesus. He probably snagged his cloak on some branches but it didn’t slow him down. He was determined to see Jesus and frankly didn’t care what others thought of his sprinting or his climbing.

In verse five we see that while Zacchaeus may have been searching, it was really Jesus who was seeking him. When Jesus and Zacchaeus encounter each other Jesus calls him from the tree, and invites himself over to Zacchaeus’ house to share a meal. After the meal and conversation with Jesus, we see in verse 8 that Zacchaeus was greatly impacted by the call on his life. Because of what he is about to say, I think we can safely conclude that Zacchaeus was converted during the meal. He knew he was a sinner and had come to the Savior for salvation. His conversion is clear because of the life-change we see.

Zacchaeus declares that he will give half of his possessions to the poor and pay anyone he has cheated four times whatever he cheated them. Whenever Jesus meets someone there is change. If you’ve never changed, it may be because you haven’t truly accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

After the life change Jesus brought into Zacchaeus’ life he wanted to glorify God with his work. Last week I challenged us to see our work as a calling from God. This week I challenge us to glorify God with our work. Is there anything you have done in the work place specifically chosen to glorify God? This would be something you didn’t have to do, but knew you wanted to do as an expression of your faith. How does that change the way you work if/when you act in this way? Have you decided to dedicate your work to God, that all you do in the work place will glorify God? What impact does it have on us when we do things to glorify God?

Al Earley is pastor of La Grange Presbyterian Church. To read previous articles visit, www.LaGrangePres.org. The views in this column are those of the writer.