More Work

It doesn't matter what job you have, it's who you do it for.

Linn Winters
Oct 7, 2018    37m
In this sermon Pastor Winters talks about what we can learn from Solomon's quest for fulfillment when it comes to our job. Solomon taught us two important things that our work can never do for us. It can never determine our value, and it can never fulfill us. This is because it's not what we do, it's who we do it for. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Linn Winters: 00:18 Hey, cornerstone, how are you doing? Exciting and fun to see you today. We're in a series that is called More, and it's actually a study through the Book of Ecclesiastes, and the life of a guy by the name of Solomon who's purported to be the wisest man who ever walked the face of the earth. And as he was navigating life, he began to ask this question. I wonder if I would feel fulfilled if I had more? Which is an interesting question, because you and I have asked that very same thing. And so he began an epic, an epic journey, to find out which more he could accumulate, and find fulfillment in his life. And so he goes out, and just begins to chase more on every possible level. He begins to chase more in finances, he begins to chase more in sex, he begins to chase more in pleasure, he begins to chase more in accomplishment, hoping that at some level more would finally bring purpose and meaning to his life.

Linn Winters: 01:30 And guys, here's what you just need to know. That his more, what he was able to accumulate, what he was able to do, what he was able to accomplish, his more, is more, more, than any more that you will ever experience in your life. So he found the answer for more. Let me give you an example. Part of his journey, part of is chase, was, hey, maybe if I had more money, maybe if I had more money, I could buy the things that would make me happy and satisfied and fulfilled in my life. So I'll get more financially. How many of you are familiar with Bill Gates? Okay, so here's what you need to know about Solomon's more. Solomon acquired, are you ready for this, thirty-six times more wealth than Bill Gates. And when he did that, he came to the conclusion that more finances is not what's going to fulfill my life.

Linn Winters: 02:27 He then went after sex. He said okay, so maybe it's just about having more sex. Solomon ended up, you ready for this, with one thousand wives and concubines? There's some men in the room right now going, that sounds about right. One thousand wives and concubines. Think about this, if he visited a different room every single night, it would take him three years to make the cycle once. And yet at the end of the day, you ready for this, he said, and it was not fulfilling.

Linn WInters: 02:58 So then he said, well maybe pleasure. Maybe if I just do everything, so he went on exotic vacations, he ate at the best restaurants, he bought the very first Tesla chariot, and at the end of the day he said, you know what, there is not enough pleasure to bring fulfillment to my life.

Linn WInters: 03:17 So then he said, well, what about knowledge? Maybe if I just learned more and more, what if I knew every answer? What if I understood every single mystery? What if I had more information? Solomon was Siri before Siri was Siri. Solomon, what's the score of the ASU game last night? I mean, he knew that, he had it all.

Linn WInters: 03:36 Here's what's interesting for the conversation today. One of the places, one of the things, he chased more in was work. He said, maybe if I could accomplish more, maybe if I could have more success, maybe if I could do things that change the world and helped other lives, maybe if I did enough more, then that more would ultimately end up fulfilling me. And here was his conclusion, there is not enough success, there is nothing about work that has the ability to bring my life fulfillment and genuine meaning. And guys, that's unsettling for you and me, because many of us, especially living in the United States of America, especially with the emphasis we put on being a success. His answer begins to kind of unhinge some of the truths that we've believed about life. Because there's some of us men in this room, and this is where we have placed our more. This is the thing we thought, if I could just get the corner office, if I could land that deal, if I could simply get that promotion, that more would be enough to bring fulfillment to my life. And we're obsessed with more work.

Linn WInters: 05:06 Ladies, many of you have followed us into the workplace. You thought, hey, wait a minute, this seems to be the thing that drives my husband, this seems to be the thing that matters to them. Okay, maybe if I had a career, maybe if I did, maybe that more would be the thing that would bring me some fulfillment within my life, and you're telling me there is not enough more. Think about this, what do we say to our kids? Don't we say to our kids, hey, find something that you're passionate about, and do that. And isn't there a subtle, underlying, unspoken statement in there? If you find what you're passionate about, somehow by doing that thing, you would find fulfillment in work. And yet Solomon is going to have a completely different conversation with you and me about work.

Linn Winters: 06:07 So here we go, grab your bibles, and you and I have the opportunity to sit down for a few moments with the wisest man who ever walked the face of the earth and have a discussion about where work fits into our lives. And at the end of the day the answer will not be more, it'll be different. So here we go to the Book of Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiastes, chapter two. Now, if you're not familiar, here's the easiest way to get to this Book of Ecclesiastes. If you'll simply put your thumbs right dead center in the middle of your Bible, you're probably going to find the Book of Psalms, you start working in the right Book of Proverbs, and then this Book of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes, chapter two, starting in verse seventeen, here's what Solomon has to say to you and me about this topic of work, "So I hated life because the work that is done under the sun. Now, that phrase under the sun just simply means everything. The Sun shines on. What he wants you and me to know is, hey, look, it wasn't that I chose the wrong job. I'm telling you, I tried everything. I went after every, every, every, every, every possible thing, every type of work to try to find some level of fulfillment and meaning in my life.

Linn Winters: 07:23 I tried all that is under the sun, so I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to one who comes after me. And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless." Moral of the story, spend all of your money, do not leave it to your grandkids.

Linn Winters: 08:06 Verse Twenty, "So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all that they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless." Look, when you decide to make work the center of your universe, when you decide to make work the thing that's going to bring meaning and fulfillment to your life; even when you're not working, even when you're at home and supposed to be resting, you'll still be churning over work. And guys, here's my guess. There are some of us in this room, and you've been reasonably successful, some of us have been wildly successful, and my guess is you worry more about work and things related to work now than before you had success. What does that have to say, about work ability to bring you fulfillment? That the more you've got, the more you worry.

Linn Winters: 09:30 Back to the passage. Verse twenty-four, "A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? So Solomon says, look it's not that work is bad, work is actually a good thing, but here's how it becomes misunderstood, and even in some ways deceptive for our lives. You and I accomplished something, we graduate from, we get the promotion to, we get the quote, and in that moment there is a certain level of satisfaction that happens in that moment. And yet that satisfaction is short lived, and so what we begin to say is, hey, maybe if I could add satisfaction upon satisfaction upon satisfaction, maybe eventually that would accumulate to enough that it would actually transform into fulfillment for me. And so what we do is we say, well then the answer must be more work, more work, more work. If I could just accomplish, if I could just be promoted, if I could just be recognized for, if my salary could simply increase, and so we get into this thing of more and more and more and more and more, thinking that eventually, somehow, more will be enough to actually fulfill my heart, to actually quell the thing that feels undone and needed in me.

Linn WInters: 11:10 Now, here's the thing you need to hear. I'm not bagging work, Okay? Matter of fact, work is good, work is good. Matter of fact, think about this, when you and I first opened the scriptures, when you go to the very, very first page, and we are introduced to God, he is working. Genesis chapter one, He's creating the world. When God creates Adam, he sets him in the garden, and before the fall he puts him to work within the garden. Work is actually a good thing for our lives, and right now every teenager is disappointed in my sermon. It's a good thing, as a matter of fact there is part of us that was built to work, to contribute, to do something that brings value and helpfulness to this world that we're in. The problem comes, ready? The problem comes when we misuse work, when we try to make work fill something or do something that it was never intended to do for your life, and when we misuse work, that's when we get off track.

Linn Winters: 12:26 Years ago my son decided to set up our tent in the front yard. He was playing with some friends. The idea was, hey, this will be our clubhouse for the day. The dilemma was this, I had not watered the front yard for an extended period of time, the soil was hard as a rock. So they've put the tent up, but now they need to drive the stakes in, so they're grabbing dirt clods, they're grabbing anything they can find that's a little bit heavier and they're trying to put the stakes in, and to no avail. Nothing's happening. So Josh heads into the garage to find something to drive the stakes in. Guess what he finds? My sacred, never to be touched, lucky softball bat. He then takes my bat, and begins to drive in the stakes on the tent. Anybody have any notion of what my bat looked like when he got done? And here's the thing, there's nothing wrong with setting up a tent, the idea was a good idea. It's when you take something that wasn't made for that purpose, and misappropriate it and misuse it, then all of a sudden it becomes really expensive and really damaging. And guys, you ready for this? This is exactly the conversation that Solomon's having with us. Don't take work and make it something it was never intended to be. And the truth is, that longing in your soul, that thing that looks for meaning and fulfillment, can never be filled with more work. It wasn't built to do that in your life.

Linn Winters: 14:15 So, that leads us then logically to the question that says, well, okay, well then what is work good for? What can work do for me? And the answer. I think, Solomon gives us in the passage. Jump with me really quickly to verse 24, here's what he says about work that's positive, "A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their toil." And guys, you can find great satisfaction in your work, just not fulfillment and meaning. But the truth is when you do a good job, when you do something that makes a difference, you can be deeply satisfied that you were part of that, that you contributed to that. Years ago, I'm trying to work my way through Bible College, I end up working on a freight dock. Now here's what you need to know. Freight dock is not an exciting job, and I knew that freight dock was not my end all to end all. I knew it was an in-between job, it was something that was getting me financially through to the next thing. Matter of fact, there was a lot about the freight dock that wasn't fun at all. If you've ever seen one, usually there's a roof, a huge slab where all the freight is on, all the sides are open because you've got to be able to pull trucks up to all the bays, and load up the trucks. Which means in the summertime, when humidity is 80 percent and it's 109, you are cooking on the freight dock. When it's wintertime and there's ice storms, you are freezing your [inaudible] in the winter. There's a lot that's not exciting. And there was a moment in which my friend and I, my roommate, who was working with me on the dock, we said, you know what? Here's what we're going to do, we're going to be the best freight loaders on the freight dock. We're going to take every single truck, and we're going to load every bit, every ounce in that you can load, and still have a safe load. Because the fuller the truck, the more money the company makes, as long as we keep it safe. And then there's times when you've got a couple of really heavy things that go in, so you can't load a lot else in. But if you don't pack it right, if you don't make it stable, while that truck is traveling and turning corners it's all going to fall. So we're going to load the most stable trucks on the dock, and we're going to load them quicker than anybody else loads trucks. That way they could get them out, they can get to the destination that much faster. We're going to be the best freight workers on the dock. Matter of fact, we would have contests almost every night. Can I empty my load? Get it to the right truck, to the right destination, quicker than you can.

Linn WInters: 17:02 There came an evening when the supervisor walked up to us and said, hey, anymore bible boys back where you guys come from? And we said, well, yeah, there's a bunch, why? He says, we got a couple openings, do you want to tell your friends to come. Now think about this. Think about probably one of the most non-Christian environments you can imagine, freight dock. These truck drivers were not coming in going, praise Jesus, they weren't doing that right? Bible boys were kind of outcast on the freight dock, and yet here they were kind of saying, do you have any more like you? By the time we were done, you ready for this? By the time we were done, the vast, vast, vast majority of guys working on the freight dock loading trucks, all Bible college student. And I will you that to this day, I take deep satisfaction that in doing a reasonably mundane job, we decided to do it with such excellence and create such a reputation, that they purposely hired other Christians to come work on that job. That's exactly what Solomon is talking about. You can do your job in such a profound way, in such a strong and powerful way, that you can find deep satisfaction in how you do your job.

Linn WInters: 18:18 It's the teacher who says, hey, look, I have a chance to help students, help young kids, get prepared for life, and learn skills that are going to benefit the rest of their life, and I can take deep satisfaction in that. It's the engineer who can say, hey, I was part of that project, and matter of fact it was my solution, it was by design that made a significant difference. It was a major contribution to the whole team being successful, and I feel deep satisfaction in that.

Linn WInters: 18:48 And Solomon says, that's exactly what work was intended to do for your life, but there's some things that work can never do for you, namely two. Here are the things that work can never bring to you and me. Number one, my work, no matter how well I do it, my work can never establish my worth. And you go, well Linn, of course not, I mean everybody knows that. Really? Let me say it again. Your work can never establish your worth. Because you realize, what I just said to you is very anti-cultural. Our culture says what job you have, and how successful you are at that job, determines your value as a person. You doubt me? Men, men, men, men, men, you walk into a room with people you don't know, never mind the fact that it feels like a junior high dance all over again. Right? And now all these men are, you know, we're kind of standing back against the wall. It begins with grunts, and then eventually we actually move to audible words with one another. But what's the first thing that every man asks another man? What do you do? And here's what you and I know, although we don't say it out loud, that the minute you answer, the minute you say, hey, this is my employment, this is what I do. That the man who asked the question mentally walks over to a hidden chart, and places you somewhere on that chart, it's what we've been culturally trained to do. So in that moment you go, well, hey, I'm a doctor. And we go, oh wow. You say, I'm a lawyer. Oomph. You say, hey, I'm an independent businessman, and I've actually opened up three locations. Whoa. And immediately value is established for you, based on your employment, it's what our culture does. You don't think I don't know that? Try being a pastor, try being that, sitting on an airplane next to
somebody and they go, hey, what do you do? Oh, I'm a pastor. And in that moment the lawyers go, ooh. We place value on people, based on their employment.

Linn Winters: 21:28 Ladies, you've experienced some of this, you've caught some of this. It's interesting though that within femaledom, the conversation gets slightly different. Here's the conversation, here's what every woman says to every other young woman, are you married? And if she has to say, well no, I'm not. She intuitively has a sense of her value, especially if she's an old maid. I mean if she's gotten past twenty-three, than what's wrong with you? All right ladies, ladies, ladies, once you're married, what's the second question? Do you have children? And if she doesn't have children, there is something into it that says, ohhhh.

Linn WInters: 22:25 And here's what you need hear me say. Your value, it's what Solomon was trying to help us with, your value is never, ever, ever, ever, ever determined by what you do. Whether that's being a wife, or being a mother, or being an electrical engineer, or being a neurosurgeon, or cleaning trash cans, your value is never determined by what you do. It is an absolute misconception about work. Your, and my, value has already been predetermined by a cross. The fact that Jesus was willing to pay that price, set your price. And guys, you want to hear something just radical? If you were the only person in the world who would ever accept Jesus, if you were going to be the only follower of Jesus ever, Jesus still would have gone to the same cross and paid the same price for you, that established your worth. Which means when Jesus went to the Cross, and all of us came as believers, Jesus thought he struck a bargain. Your value is never determined by what you do.

Linn Winters: 23:43 Second thing, work can ever do for you, that's bringing fulfillment. It can bring satisfaction, but it can never bring true fulfillment to your life. You can never get to the other end of work and say, my work made my life worth living, and I am fulfilled by my work. You can be satisfied, but never fulfilled, it's not possible. Because work was never built to do that. You know how we get confused with this? We get confused with this because in our work we say, hey, that was pretty good and I really enjoyed that, and I feel like I accomplished something. Maybe if I did more, and maybe if I did more, and maybe if I accomplished more, and maybe if I got promoted. And because, you ready for this? Because we never quite catch it, because we never quite accomplish it, we are fooling ourselves into believing that if we simply did more, if we could get to more in our work life, that somehow we would find fulfillment at more. But the only reason you believe that is because you've never gotten it.

Linn WInters: 24:57 How many of you are familiar with dog racing? Okay, how many of you bet on dog racing? No. All right. So here's the concept of dog racing, it's a little bit like horse racing. So you take a bunch of Greyhounds, you put them in some chutes, and then you've got a rabbit on a track that you send out, and then you open the chutes. The dogs, seeing the rabbit, take off after the rabbit. But here's the deal, you've got to make sure the rabbit stays ahead of the dogs. And the dogs, running as hard and fast as they can, go around the track and people bet on the dogs to see who's going to finish at the finish line. Here's the thing, you can never, never, never, never, never let happen if your dog racing, you can never let the dog catch the rabbit. Because here's the deal, it's not a real rabbit, it's metal in the shape of a rabbit, painted white. And if the dog ever catches the rabbit, the dog is never good for racing again. Here's why. Dogs are not dumb like cats. No, no. You can give a cat a piece of yarn and the cat will go, ohhhhh, I know it's just a piece of yarn, I can't stop, I can't stop. But a dog, a dog, if he catches that metal rabbit, he goes, whatttt? What am I chasing that for? And now the gates go open, the other dogs start running, that dog will sit there and go, I think I'm just going to sniff a couple other dogs. I'm not chasing the rabbit, it is not a real

Linn WInters: 26:34 Do you know why you and I are still chasing the rabbit? Do you know why you and I still think work might
bring fulfillment? Because you've never caught the rabbit. Here's what you need to get. Solomon caught the rabbit. See, Solomon did more and more and more and more, and he did more than you and I will ever do. And he got it, and he goes, oh, it's a metal rabbit and it doesn't fulfill.

Linn Winters: 27:06 You want to hear the secret? You want to hear the conversation about work that'll change work forever for you? If you don't get anything else that we've said together today, get this. It is not about what you do. I don't care if you work on the janitorial team here at church, wiping up vomit when little kids throw up. I don't care if you're an electrical engineer, I don't care if you own five car dealerships, it is not about what you do, it's about who you do it for. See if you go after work and say, hey, this is about me getting my sense of accomplishment, and my sense of worth, and my sense of fulfillment, and I'm doing this for me to be filled, you'll never get the rabbit. It's not about what you do, it's about who you do it for.

Linn WInters: 28:09 Grab your bibles, go with me to Colossians chapter three. If you're not familiar, just go to the back of your Bible, start working to the left, don't go too fast. If you get to Philippians, you've gone too far. Colossians chapter three, verse twenty-three. Here's the answer to work, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for yourself, not for your own food, for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as your reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." It's not about what you do, it's about who you do it for.

Linn WInters: 29:14 I've got a friend, he too was working his way through college. He would go to the office there at the school, and he would grab little odd jobs. They had a post it thing, and you'd grab a little odd job, make a few bucks. And on this particular day there was a note from an elderly gal who needed some guys to come lift, and move, some things around her house. So the note said, hey, I need three good, strong. young men to come and do some work. They show up at this woman's house, and elderly woman, she's a hoarder. Her garage is filled to the...I mean there is not an...And then there was a tiny, little, narrow path going through. You get to the house, it's worse. It is just stacks, and stacks, of worthless stuff in her house, and it smells. So my friend thinks to himself, well, hey, wait, wait, wait, this may actually be a positive thing. You know, we're going to be able to kind of sort through some things, we'll get rid of some things it will change her life for the better. I'm glad I'm here. So her first assignment is, hey, all this stuff on this wall, take it and move it over here to this tiny little niche, where there's a little bit of space. So they begin to take all of this stuff, and they load it over to the site, and they keep moving it. When they finally clear that wall, and they say, okay, what next? She then says, take everything on this wall, and put it back on the wall you just cleaned. And suddenly it is real, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, all we're doing is shuffling junk. Then when they got done, she had them take the first pile, and move it to the second wall they had just cleaned. And by the time they got to the end, all they had done was moved junk from one place to the other. Not one thing had been removed. They'd been there for five hours, they started to collect their paycheck. They walked up to the woman, she handed each of them five dollars, a dollar an hour for every hour they'd been there. And then she looked at them with little old lady, puppy dog eyes, and said, will you come back next Saturday please? To which all three of them said, yeah, yeah, we'll come back next Saturday. So next Saturday comes around, my friend shows up. His other two friends, nowhere to be found. He calls him up on the phone and goes, dude's, where are you at? We're supposed to be here moving some stuff. They go, we're not coming back. You told the lady you were coming back? Yeah, we just didn't want to disappoint her, but we're not coming. You bunch of jerks. So now he's there by himself, and you guessed it, moving junk to this pile, moving this pile back where the other pile came from. Talk about the most brain numbing, non-beneficial work you could possibly do, just shuffling junk. Gets to the end, here's what he thinks to himself. Hey, the other two guys didn't come. Maybe she'll give me their five dollars, I'll get fifteen dollars today. Five dollars, and then she looks at him with puppy dog eyes and says, would you please, please, please come next Saturday. Okay.

Linn Winters: 32:26 For the rest of the week, he starts memorizing his, this is the last time speech. This is why I'm not, I'm going to do today, and then I'm not back. On the third Saturday, same deal. He's just, he's shuffling junk. Nothing's changing, moving piles. He gets to the end. He standing there waiting for her to come and pay him, ready to give his speech, and as she comes around the corner, she brings a black suit. She hands it to my friend, and she says, I want you to have this. It belonged to my husband, he died about a year ago. He was about your size, and his spirit was kind like yours. I want you to have it. And then you're ready? He was the hoarder. And the whole time that I was married to him, I couldn't wait. I said to myself, when he dies, I'm going to empty this house. But since he's died, I haven't been able to give anything. I haven't been able to move anything, every bit of it reminds me of him. This suit is the first thing I've been able to give away. And you coming on weekends has been the joy of my life, because the truth is I have been home bound for the last year, and you really are almost the only human contact I've had in a year. And here's what my friend said in that moment, in that moment, I realized that God had used me to minister to the heart of a widow. And he said, Linn, here's the deal, nothing had changed about how ludicrous that was. I mean, that work was still moving junk to junk. The pay still stank. Nothing had changed, but when I realized why I was doing it, everything suddenly was different.

Linn Winters: 34:41 So here's the truth. You're going to go back to your job on Monday. You're going to have that same crummy supervisor, the same tediousness, the same things that aren't fulfilling about your job still won't be fulfilling. The pay still won't be enough, you'll be underappreciated, nothing will change, most likely. But if you went back on Monday, not doing that work for you and for the fulfillment, but instead working as unto the Lord. Allowing God to use you, and just maybe make himself famous, and have other people. If you would go back on Monday, working unto him, nothing would probably change. But everything would be different. It's not about what you do, it's about who you do it for. That's the secret of work.

Linn WInters: 35:46 Let's pray. Dear Lord Jesus, we've been a little caught up in more. Some of us thought if we just had more money, or more pleasure, more knowledge. Some of us, this conversation today was our conversation, because we thought if we could simply succeed at work, if we could move forward, and get the promotion, and accomplish the task, that somehow on the other side of that we would find fulfillment. God, it's not about what we do, it's about who we do it for. And God, I'm asking that you literally would take every one of us, and make us different on Monday. As we go back to the same supervisors, in the same job, and the same tasks that we're not fulfilling for us, and instead this time, instead of doing them for ourselves, we would do them unto you. Nothing would change, but everything would be different on Monday. This is our prayer, in Jesus' name, Amen.

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
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Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
Chandler, Arizona 85286