WORK That Matters! (Sermon Audio)

WORK That Matters! (Sermon Audio)


This is the audio from the September 1, 2019 sermon, “WORK That Matters!”, shared by Tom Lemler at the North Wayne Mennonite Church.


Text: John 6:28-29

Here are the main points from the sermon:

When it comes to having work that matters, make sure these elements matter in your work:

  • Worship that matters:
    • Romans 12:1 — When you present your body to God as a living sacrifice, your work — the things you do with your body — ought to become a big part of the worship you offer God.  Seeing the work that you do as an element of worshiping God helps you to see  your work as something that matters to God.  Learning to have worship that matters within all of your daily activities will go a long way toward helping others see Jesus in the midst of your daily work.  In seeking to have work that matters, find ways in all circumstances to have worship that matters.
  • Occupation that matters: 
    • Colossians 3:23-24 — “Whatever you do.”  While there are some tasks done by mankind that I believe are sinful and therefore should not be done by Christians (or anyone else for that matter), God’s desire is that whatever you do would be done for Him.  In the Kingdom workforce, there is work “created in advance” for each one of us to do.  Just as we have been created uniquely, the work God has for us to do will rarely be identical to the work He has for someone else.  Having work that matters isn’t nearly as dependent on finding the right occupation as it is in working our occupation with the proper attitude.
  • Rest that matters:
    • Hebrews 4:9-11 — Having work that matters will require us to have rest that matters.  When God chose to rest after the six days of creation, it wasn’t so much that He was worn out and needed it but rather it was to serve as an example of our need for rest.  While there are times we must press on even when we’ve become weary, being able to stop and rest at appropriate intervals will generally improve our ability to work in such a way that we believe our work matters.  In our culture today, we often have a tendency to fill our “non-work” hours with so much activity that real rest is rather elusive.  When we learn to have rest that matters, I believe  we will grow in having work that matters.
  • Knowledge that matters:
    • 2 Timothy 2:15 — We live in a time that I think could well be described as information overload.  It seems we are constantly being bombarded with sound bites and headlines that contain talking points of information but very little actual knowledge.  When Paul instructs Timothy to “study to show yourself approved”, it is in the context of being a worker who won’t be ashamed.  While our culture prides itself on having an ever-increasing base of knowledge, any knowledge that does not have the Word of God as its foundation tend to make a prideful people rather than a humble worker.   When we spend time fully digesting and putting into practice the Word of God, we set our self up to have work that matters because we have knowledge that matters.

Having WORK that matters isn’t really so much about what you do as it is about how you do it and who you do it for.  I believe you will find that as you fill your life with worship, occupation, rest, and knowledge that matters, you will discover great growth in your understanding and practice of work that matters.

All In

Something I remembered
     while playing some ball.
I can’t go part way,
     I give nothing or all.
I know there are people
     who straddle the fence.
It’s not only painful,
     it doesn’t make sense.
Living with one foot
     upon either wall.
Creates a condition
     where you’re likely to fall. 

Sometimes the middle
     is where you will win.
That’s still not a problem
     if I can be all in.
This poem isn’t about
     choosing a side.
To build up your walls
     and find somewhere to hide.
It’s about convictions
     and standing your ground.
God’s placed you somewhere,
     is that where you’re found? 

How long will you waver
     between this or that?
I wasn’t too sure,
   so I stopped and just sat.
That’s not a bad thing
     if it helps you to find.
Just where you do stand,
     have you made up your mind?
When God defines clearly
     just who you should be.
Then live with a focus
     that the whole world can see. 

God tells us clearly
     to be of one mind.
To not be deterred
     by distractions we find.
To listen to God
     and answer His call.
In whatever we do,
     we give it our all.
If I can do that
     while playing a game.
Shouldn’t my life’s walk
     be focused the same? 

So how do you do this,
     when it might feel odd?
To keep your life focused
     completely on God?
To rest in His presence
     and work in His field.
Both do require,
     to Him you must yield.
To empty yourself
     of your own desire.
Then aim for God’s will,
     which is always much higher. 

Commit yourself fully
     to walk in His way.
Be bold and courageous
     as you live each day.
To give it your all
     even when you feel weak.
Knowing it’s His strength
     that helps you to speak.
To be convinced fully
     that God’s way is best.
And give Him your all,
     in work and in rest! 

© 2014 by Tom Lemler

I was thinking this morning about the way I play basketball with no intent of holding back no matter how tired I am.  It reminded me of how I live and how God wants all of us to live with an “all in” attitude.  Sometimes we tend to be cautious and hold back from a complete commitment in many areas of our life because we want options to remain open.  God wants us to everything as working for Him.  “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 (NIV)  I pray that you are “all in” when it comes to serving Jesus in all you do.


We work hard, we play hard;
     but what about rest.
God says we need it
     to be at our best.
Our life gets so busy
     at work and at play.
Our rest gets put off
     for at least one more day.
So many people
     work just to survive.
We don’t get the rest
     that would help us to thrive.

Go here and do this, 
     and what about that?
If you think you are done;
     well, here’s one more hat.
Some tasks are given,
     we think there’s no choice.
Others we call for
     in the loudest of voice.
We need this, we want that;
     we can’t fall behind.
To have all that we want
     takes the top of our mind.

If I don’t keep going,
     refusing to stop.
Then somebody else
     will climb to the top.
And as I am climbing,
     and taking each rod.
The ladder of this world
     takes me further from God.
The king of the mountain,
     the top of the hill.
Is not that important
     when God says, “Be still.”

Strength for the weary
     and hope for the tired.
Seems so out of reach,
     when you fear you’ll be fired.
So onward we press
     and give it our all.
We will never give up
     ‘til we can’t help but fall.
So many people
     who fall flat on their face.
Need a good chance to rest
     and experience grace.

So when you are tired,
     it seems with no end.
Examine your schedule,
     rest may be your friend.
And as you rest fully,
     as God said you should.
Look for the weary
     and do them some good.
Help carry their burden
     and show them the need.
God’s command to get rest,
     they really should heed.

It has been what some would call a “lazy day”, but I prefer to think of it as a “restful day”. As I was resting, falling in and out of sleep, God put this poem in my mind. I am thankful for a work environment that tries to protect my need for rest by valuing the work that I do. I pray that this poem encourages you to rest and to do what you can to help others to rest.

In prayer,

Work Day

We have had so many “Snow Days” this year that I think God gave me this poem just for fun as I spent a “Snow Day” working to get the building ready for school to resume.
The sun’s shining brightly
      so out I do go.
For somebody has to      
     shovel all of this snow.
I know most are tired
      of feeling they’re stuck.
So I head out the door
       and start up my truck.
To have all things ready,
      at least I do pray.
Should schools not be closed
      for at least one more day.
Praying for all those who are out today getting things ready for an eventual return to a somewhat normal schedule.