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Nick’s sermon on ” back to work” August 30th at Little Paxton

Benefice Songs of Praise today at Little Paxton and Nick shared his thoughts with us on ” Back To Work” – as a lot of us might be going back to work this week after time off of some sort   ( even if you havent had time off or dont ” go out to work” – its still a good homily on a Christian take on work)   So, with Nick’s permission here it is:

Theme: Back to Work


Ephesians 6: 5 – 9

Slaves and Masters

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favour when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 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, whether he is slave or free.

And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favouritism with him.


May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight O God, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.

Last week, one of the lectionary readings was – from Ephesians – about the Armour of God. If you flick just a few verses back – you get the reading we heard this morning – slaves and masters.

I’m sorry to be the one to say it, but this late summer holiday weekend means that the holidays are nearly over. Next week it’s back to school for some, work for others and ‘normality’ for those who’ve been looking after grandchildren or just enjoying the summer. As my granny used to say, back to ‘auld claes and porridge’.

That happened for me last Monday when I went back to work after two weeks holiday and it’s often a difficult step to take after the freedom of the beach at Southwold or the Sub Tropical Swimming Paradise at Center Parcs.

As Dolly Parton once said:

Workin’ 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin’
Barely gettin’ by
It’s all takin’
And no givin’
They just use your mind
And they never give you credit
It’s enough to drive you
Crazy if you let it

And Tennessee Ernie Ford sang, “You load 16 tons, & what do you get, another day older & deeper in debt.”

Perhaps I can ask you a question or two – “Do you like your job? How many of you look forward to going to work on Monday mornings because you really miss seeing the boss? How many of you miss your colleagues so much that you can hardly wait to get back to see how they’re doing?”

Now if you answered “YES” to any of those questions, then I think you’re in the minority. Surveys show that about 60% of us unhappy in our jobs.  But on this, the Bible as you would expect is way ahead of us. Proverbs 28:14 says: “Happy is the one who is never without fear, but one who is hard-hearted will fall into calamity.”

So that’s alright then, but what’s going to be in the in tray when we get back to work?

No doubt there’ll be the easy things, and the things we like to do as well as those more mundane or difficult tasks. After a couple of weeks off, it’s sometimes difficult to know where to start and what the most important things are. That’s why many employers have mission statements and company values to keep us focussed on the reasons we’re really there – over and above the obvious ones such as mortgages and electricity bills. Some of them really work and others may sound like jargon, but – if I may draw from the corporate jargon for a moment – let me run this idea up the flag-pole to see who salutes it.

As Christians, we have another job to do, another mission statement to help us to focus – to know Christ and make him known.

If we ever feel bad about going back to work tomorrow, imagine how Jesus – who was every bit as human as you and me – must have felt the night before he went to work on the cross. He knew he had a lonely, painful and difficult job to do – much worse than wading through hundred of emails and voicemails will ever be – but he was ready to do it. And he sets no conditions – he doesn’t say, I’ll only do it if I get a pay rise or a promotion. He just asks his disciples to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” (Mark 16:15)

And that’s something we can take with us when we go back to work on Monday – or whenever we go and whatever we do. As Christians we can be the ones who can be trusted, who are not seeking our own ends but who are seen to care about the people we work with and who sometimes are willing to stir things up a bit.

How can we do it? Well, it is really important that we put some time aside for prayer and to enjoy the company of God and experience God’s love. He’ll show us what we need to do. Take the trials and tribulations, as well as the joys of each day to God and whenever the pressures get to you, talk to him about them.

In Romans 1: 14-16, Paul says that God had given him the job of making sure the world hears about Jesus. It’s a job that all of us should be proud to do because while many of the world’s religions depend on what our employers might call a ‘performance review’ before we are saved; with Jesus we get the gift of eternal life completely free. No interview, no induction, no probationary period, no personal development plan or objectives and no disciplinary hearings.

So wherever we work, if we’re still at school or retired, as we prepare for the end of the holiday season let’s resolve to take God with us wherever we go and make him part of everything we do. If there was ever a job worth doing, here’s one that’s worth doing well.

Let us pray.

Prayer for the Work Day

Almighty God, thank Thee for the job of this day.
May we find gladness in all its toil and difficulty,
its pleasure and success,
and even in its failure and sorrow.
We would look always away from ourselves,
and behold the glory and the need of the world
that we may have the will and the strength to bring
the gift of gladness to others;
that with them we stand to bear
the burden and heat of the day
and offer Thee the praise of work well done.  (Bishop Charles Lewis Slattery 1867-1930)

As it was in the beginning, is now and forever more shall be. Amen.

Lp tower in sunlight aug 25th 09

August 30, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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