Australia - Give, Save & Spend University, Instructor's Edition


Samples

Welcome to the sample page of the Give, Save & Spend Instructor's workbook. Below is a list of sample items for you to review or download to get a feel for the class.

The Give, Save & Spend Promo Video


Instructors have access to fourteen formatted PowerPoints that have a unified flow of material for the semester. The PowerPoints allow each campus to brand them institutionally. There are two types of videos that are within the PowerPoint presentation:

1. Testimonial videos need an Internet connection in order to be viewed. Click on the YouTube logo to link.

2. Animation videos are embedded in the Power Point Presentation and do not require an internet connection. If there are problems viewing the embedded format, you can link to each video by clicking on the YouTube logo.

Each module includes the following components within the PowerPoint presentation.

1.Foundational Scripture (5 minutes). Review and challenge for memorization.

2.Animated thesis video (10 minutes).

3.Current events review and discussion (15 minutes).

4.Teaching points (20 minutes). Present on PowerPoint.

5.Break (15 minutes).

6.Topical interview with possible questions (20 minutes). This can be live with a guest of your choice or viewed with the provided video links.

7.Discussion and application (10 minutes). See appendix of contrast between what society says and what Scripture says for each chapter.

8.Review assignments and challenges for next week (5 minutes). Close in prayer.

3. A Sample Animation (64 animations provided)

4. Sample Testimony Video (13 videos provided)

5. Student Homework- Income (below)

(12 Homework Lessons Provided)

*Student Homework is provided through the Give, Save & Spend Student Workbook (sold separately)

  • Read the Your Money Counts Notes
  • Memorize Colossians 3:23-24
  • Complete the Section F Small Group Study Homework
  • Pray for the students in your small group

Use the Quizlet memory verse tool.

Agenda to be used by facilitator during the Small Group meeting time.

1 (3 minutes) Open in Prayer
2 (5 minutes) Have each person recite Colossians 3:23-24
3 (40 minutes) Begin Homework Discussion
4 (5 minutes) Complete Prayer Logs
5 (2 minutes) Facilitator closes in Prayer

All students should complete prior to the small group meeting.

1. What was the most helpful information you learned from reading the Your Money Counts Notes?

2. What are some ways you can apply what you learned to every day life?

3. What were some things you learned from the results of this test? Was there anything that surprised you from these results?

Genesis 2:15 and Genesis 3:17-19

4. Why is it important to recognize that the Lord created work before sin entered the world?

5. What was the consequence of sin on work?

Genesis 39:2-5, Exodus 35:30-35 and Psalm 75:6-7

6. What do these verses tell us about the Lord’s involvement in our work?

7. How does this differ from the way most people view work?

Proverbs 6:6-11, Proverbs 18:9 and 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9

8. What do these verses communicate about working hard?

9. What was the hardest job or work you have had to do? What was the hardest thing about it?

Exodus 34:21

10. What does this verse communicate about rest?

11. How do you balance rest and working hard in your daily life?

Complete a resume and be prepared to share it with your small group.

12. What did you find most helpful about completing your resume?

13. What was the biggest challenge for you in completing the resume?

For electronic users- continue tracking and tweaking your spending plan using the Track & Tweak sheet.

(If you are using Mint, log into your Mint account, review and make any necessary adjustments.)

Download the Track & Tweak Spreadsheet

*Please Note- calculations of the Track & Tweak Spreadsheet may be slower on a tablet or smartphone.


Work

Who Is Your Real Boss?

At age 29 Allen Hitchcock felt trapped. For six years he had worked as a clerk in a large department store.

He was competent, and the job paid moderately well. He longed, however, for a future in management, and as he looked around, he saw that all those who were promoted to management positions had college educations. So, by taking night courses, he completed his college requirements and earned a degree in business administration. The company soon promoted Allen to a job at a much higher salary.

The first few years were just as he had imagined—reasonable hours, good wages and attractive fringe benefits. Then the unexpected happened. The company expanded to Florida, and the Hitchcocks were transferred. The expansion schedule called for strict deadlines, and Allen assumed major responsibilities as an assistant manager. At first he enjoyed the excitement of the challenge; however, his five-day week soon became six, and his normal eight-hour day grew to 14 hours. On top of that, his new boss was so demanding that Allen began to experience a great deal of tension at work.

He now had more work and more responsibility, but as an assistant manager he no longer could earn overtime. As a result he made the same pay as he would have before the promotion, and resentment toward his employer was building. Allen began to wonder if management was worth the stress.

Allen’s job frustrations are not unusual. Few people are completely satisfied with their jobs. Boredom, lack of fulfillment, fear of losing a job, inadequate wages, overwork and countless other pressures contribute to a high level of discontentment. Doctors, homemakers, secretaries, salespeople, blue-collar workers and managers—regardless of the profession, the frustrations are ­similar.

During a 50-year career the average person spends 100,000 hours working. Most of an adult’s life is involved in work. Unfortunately, many just endure their work while ignoring the fact that 25 percent of their lives is devoted to a distasteful job. On the other hand, some people like work too much and neglect the other priorities of life.

People usually lean to one of two extremes: they either work as little as possible because work is unpleasant, or they tend to work all the time because it becomes overwhelmingly important. The Bible affirms the value of work but teaches that we should have a balance in work. Work is designed to develop our character. While enabling us to provide for our material well-being, work is a pathway to experiencing a closer relationship with the Lord and with other people. In order to find satisfaction and balance in our work, we need to understand what the Bible teaches about it.

Biblical Perspective of Work

Even before the Fall, when sin entered the human race, God instituted work. “The Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). The very first thing the Lord did with Adam was to assign him work. Despite what many have come to think, work was initiated for our benefit in the sinless environment of the Garden of Eden. After the Fall, work was made more difficult. “Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” (Genesis 3:17-19).

Work is so important that in Exodus 34:21 God gives this command: “You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest.” The Old Testament believer was required to work six days. In the New Testament Paul is just as direct when he says, “If anyone will not work, neither let him eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Examine the verse carefully. It says, “If anyone will not work.” It did not say, “If anyone cannot work.” This principle does not apply to those who are mentally or physically unable to work. It is for those who are but choose not to work.

A primary purpose of work is to develop character. While the carpenter is building a house, the house is also building the carpenter. Skill, diligence, manual dexterity and judgment are refined. A job is not merely a task designed to earn money; it is also intended to produce godly character in the life of the worker.

A close friend has a sister who has been supported by her parents for more than 30 years. She has never had to face the responsibilities and hardships involved with a job. As a consequence, her character has not been properly developed and she is immature in many areas of her life.

Honorable Professions

Scripture does not elevate any honest profession above another. There is dignity in all types of work, and a wide variety of vocations are represented in the Bible.

David was a shepherd and a king. Luke was a doctor. Lydia was a retailer who sold purple fabric. Daniel was a government worker. Paul was a tentmaker. Jesus, the Savior of the world, was a carpenter. In God’s economy there is equal dignity in the labor of a salesperson and the president of a company, in the labor of a private and a general serving in the military.

God’s Part in Work

The Bible reveals three specific responsibilities the Lord has in connection with work.

1. God gives job skills.

Exodus 36:1-2 illustrates this truth: “And every skillful person in whom the Lord has put skill and understanding to know how to perform all the work.” God has given each of us unique skills. People have widely varied abilities, manual skills and intellectual capacities. It is not a matter of one person being better than ­another; it is simply a matter of having received different capabilities.

2. God gives success.

The life of Joseph is a perfect example. “The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man . . . his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand” (Genesis 39:2-3). As we have seen, you and I have certain responsibilities, but we need to recognize that it is ultimately God who gives success.

3. God controls promotion.

Psalm 75:6-7 reads, “For promotion and power come from nowhere on earth, but only from God” (TLB). As much as it may surprise you, your boss is not the one who controls whether or not you will be promoted. When you understand this, you will work with a different attitude. It should have a tremendous impact on the way you perform as an employee.

This perspective of God’s part in work is a remarkable contrast to the way most people think. Most leave God out of work and believe that they alone control their success and promotions. However, those with a biblical understanding will approach work with an entirely different frame of reference. They can avoid one of the major reasons people experience stress and frustration in their jobs because they understand God’s part in work.

Stop reading for a few minutes and think about that. God gives you your skills and controls your success and promotion. Think about how this change in perspective will influence you and your job.

Our Part in Work

All of us have certain responsibilities related to our work. Scripture reveals we are actually serving the Lord in our work and not people. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Colossians 3:23-24). This perspective has profound implications. Consider your attitude toward work. If you could see the person of Jesus Christ as your boss, would you try to be more faithful in your job? The most important question you need to answer every day as you begin your work is: For whom do I work? You work for Christ.

Work hard.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). “The precious possession of a man is diligence” (Proverbs 12:27). In the Bible hard work and diligence are encouraged while laziness is repeatedly condemned: “He also who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys” (Proverbs 18:9).

Paul’s life was an example of hard work. “With labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we might not be a burden to any of you . . . in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, that you might follow our example” (2 Thessalonians 3:8-9). Your work should be at such a level that people will never equate laziness and mediocrity with God.

But do not overwork! Working too hard has reached epidemic proportions. A frantic, breathless overcommitment to work pervades our culture. Hard work must be balanced with the other priorities of life. Clearly our first priority is our relationship with the Lord. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). The second priority is the family.

If your job demands so much of your time and energy that you neglect your relationship with Christ or your family, then you are working too hard; perhaps the job is too demanding or your work habits need changing. If you tend to be a “workaholic,” take extra precautions to guard against forsaking your other priorities.

Exodus 34:21 reads, “You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest.” I believe this Old Testament principle of resting one day out of seven has application for us today. This has been difficult for me, particularly when I am working under the pressure of a project deadline or financial pressure.

Rest can become an issue of faith. Is the Lord able to make our six days of work more productive than seven days? Yes! The Lord instituted this weekly rest for our physical, mental and spiritual health.

Employer’s Responsibilities

The godly employer must perform a balancing act. The employer is to love, serve and encourage the employee, but he or she must also provide leadership and hold employees accountable for their assigned tasks. Let’s examine several principles that should govern an employer’s conduct.

Serve your employees.

The basis for biblical leadership is servanthood: “Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 20:26). Too often employers have concentrated on producing a profit at the expense of their personnel. However, the Bible directs the employer to balance profit-making efforts with an unselfish concern for the employees. Employees are to be treated fairly and with genuine dignity. “Masters [employers], grant to your slaves [employees] justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven” (Colossians 4:1).

Employers should seek creative ways to serve their subordinates. For example, they should consider investing time and money to educate and upgrade their employees’ job skills. As employees become more capable, both employees and companies can earn more.

Be a good communicator.

The biblical account of building the Tower of Babel teaches the importance of good communication. At that time everyone spoke the same language and adopted a common goal of building the tower. The Lord makes this remarkable observation: “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them” (Genesis 11:6, NIV).

Since building the tower was not what the Lord wanted, He stopped construction. And how did the Lord do this? He disrupted their ability to communicate. “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other” (Genesis 11:7, NIV).

It is especially important to listen to employee complaints. “If I have despised the claim of my [employees] when they filed a complaint against me, what then could I do when God arises, and when He calls me to account, what will I answer Him?” (Job 31:13-14). A sensitive, listening ear is a tangible expression that you care about the other person. When a complaint is legitimate, the employer should take appropriate steps to solve the problem.

Hold employees accountable.

The employer is responsible for letting employees know what is expected of them on the job. The employer should regularly evaluate their performances and communicate this to them. If an employee is not performing satisfactorily and is unable or unwilling to change, a personnel change may be necessary.

Pay your employees a fair wage promptly.

Employers are warned to pay a fair wage. “[The Lord will judge] those who oppress the wage earner in his wages” (Malachi 3:5). They are also commanded to pay wages promptly when due. “You shall not oppress a hired [employee] . . . give him his wages on his day before the sun sets . . . so that he may not cry against you to the Lord and it become sin in you” (Deuteronomy 24:14-15).

Employee’s Responsibilities

We can identify the six major responsibilities of the godly employee by examining the well-known story of Daniel in the lions’ den. In Daniel chapter 6 we are told that Darius, the king of Babylon, appointed 120 men to administer the government and three men, one of whom was Daniel, to supervise these administrators. When King Darius decided to promote Daniel to the job of governing the entire kingdom, Daniel’s fellow employees tried to eliminate him. They first looked for an opportunity to discredit him in his job. After this failed, they persuaded King Darius to make a foolish decree. For a period of 30 days everyone in the kingdom would be required to worship the king only or suffer the punishment of death in the lions’ den. Daniel was thrown to the lions because he continued to worship the living God. The Lord then rescued this godly employee by sending His angel to shut the lions’ mouths.

Let’s examine the attributes of a godly employee as modeled by Daniel.

Honest

Daniel 6:4 tells us that Daniel’s fellow employees could find no grounds for accusation against him in regard to his work. “No evidence of corruption” could be found in Daniel’s work. He was absolutely honest. We studied the importance of honesty earlier in the book.

Faithful

In Daniel 6:4, Daniel is described as “faithful.” The godly employee needs to establish the goal of being faithful and excellent in work. Then he or she needs to work hard to attain that goal.

Prayerful

The godly employee is a person of prayer. “Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed [commanding worship of the king alone] . . . he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously” (Daniel 6:10).

Daniel governed the most powerful nation of his day. Few of us will ever be faced with the magnitude of his responsibilities and the time demands that must have been required. Yet this man knew the importance and priority of prayer. If you are not praying consistently, your work is suffering.

Honors Employer

“Daniel spoke to the king, ‘O king, live forever!’” (Daniel 6:21). What a remarkable response! The king, his employer, had been deceived and was forced into sentencing Daniel to the lions’ den. But Daniel’s reaction was to honor his boss. Think how natural it would have been to say something like, “You dummy! The God who sent His angel to shut the lions’ mouths is going to punish you!” Instead, he honored his employer.

The godly employee always honors his superior. In 1 Peter 2:18 we read, “Servants [employees], be submissive to your masters [employers] with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.” One way to honor your employer is never to participate in gossip behind your employer’s back—even if he or she is not an ideal person.

Honors Fellow Employees

People will play “office politics” and may attempt to secure a promotion over you. They might even have you terminated from your job. Daniel’s peers tried to murder him. Despite this, no evidence exists that Daniel did anything but honor his fellow employees. Never slander a fellow employee. “Do not slander a servant [employee] to his master [employer], or he will curse you and you will pay for it” (Proverbs 30:10, NIV).

The godly person should avoid office politics and manipulation to secure a promotion. Your superior does not control your promotion. The Lord Himself makes that determination. We can be content in our jobs by striving for faithfulness, honoring superiors, loving and encouraging our fellow employees. Christ will promote us if and when He chooses.

Verbalizes His or Her Faith

At the appropriate time Daniel spoke of his faith in God to those around him. “The king spoke and said to Daniel, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?’” (Daniel 6:20).

King Darius would never have known about the living God if Daniel had not communicated his faith at appropriate moments during the normal conduct of his job. King Darius would not have been as powerfully influenced by Daniel’s profession of faith in God if he had not observed how he did his work. Daniel fulfilled his responsibilities with honesty and faithfulness while honoring those around him. Because of this demonstration, coupled with Daniel’s deliverance from the lions, Darius became a believer: “I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel; for He is the living God and enduring forever, and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, and His dominion will be forever” (Daniel 6:26).

Daniel influenced his employer, one of the most powerful people in the world, to believe in the only true God. You have that same opportunity in your own God-given sphere of work. Let me say this another way. A job well done earns you the right to tell others with whom you work about the reality of Christ. As we view our work from God’s perspective, dissatisfaction will turn to contentment from a job well done, and drudgery will be replaced with excitement over the prospect of introducing others to the Savior.

Retirement

The dictionary defines retirement as “withdrawal from an occupation or business, to give up or retreat from an active life.” The goal of retirement is deeply ingrained in our culture. Many people retire at an arbitrary, predetermined age and cease all labor in the pursuit of a life filled with leisure.

The Bible gives no examples of people retiring. Only one direct reference to retirement is found in the Bible. It is in Numbers 8:24-26; the instruction there applied exclusively to the Levites who worked on the tabernacle. As long as one is physically and mentally capable, no scriptural basis exists for retiring and becoming unproductive. The concept of putting an older but able person “out to pasture” is unbiblical. Age is no obstacle to finishing the work the Lord has for you to accomplish. For example, Moses was 80 years old when he began his 40-year task of leading the children of Israel.

Scripture does indicate that the type and intensity of work may change as we grow older—shifting gears to a less demanding pace and to becoming an “elder at the gate.” During this season of life we can actively employ the experience and wisdom gained over a lifetime. I believe this should be the most rewarding and productive time of life. God has invested years in grooming us, and often we have more discretionary time.

Forget retirement. Grasp the opportunity to help build God’s kingdom!

Calling

Each of us has a specific calling or purpose which the Lord intends for us to fulfill in our work. Ephesians 2:10 reads, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Study this passage carefully. “We are His workmanship.” Each of us has been created uniquely and given special physical, emotional and mental characteristics and abilities. You probably have heard the expression, “After the Lord made you, He threw away the mold!” It’s true. You are gifted uniquely. No one in all of history—past, present or future—is like you.

The passage continues, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” The Lord created each of us for a particular job, and He endowed us with the necessary skills, aptitudes and desires to accomplish this work. This calling may be full-time Christian service or a secular job. Often people struggle to know whether God wants them to continue in business once they have committed their lives to Christ. Many feel they are not serving the Lord in a significant way if they remain in a secular job. Nothing could be further from the truth. The key is for each person to determine God’s call on his or her life.

Past experiences prepare us for our calling.

God providentially allows us to experience circumstances to prepare us for our calling. You might find it difficult to believe that God was molding you through your family, your education, your work and your relationships, especially if these were not godly influences. Nonetheless, He was preparing you even in the difficult experiences. For example, the Lord might use a painful, unwanted divorce to give someone the empathy and desire to serve others in a similar situation.

Knowing our calling allows us to focus.

Most of us struggle with too many things to do and too little time in which to do them. The good can become the enemy of the best. Once you have a clear vision of God’s call on your life, it becomes much easier to evaluate opportunities and say “no” to those that would distract you from what the Lord wants you to accomplish.

I have two close friends. One has only average ability, but because he has been singled-minded in his focus he has had an enormous impact. The other man is much more capable but has scattered his energies pursuing numerous projects with limited success. Knowing your calling helps you focus and become more productive.

Someone has said, “Work as unto the Lord . . . the pay’s not always great, but the retirement benefits are out of this world!” This is true and you will find an additional benefit—increased satisfaction of a job done to the best of your ability.

Contrast

Society says: Work as little as possible because labor is distasteful; or work as much as possible because your job is all-important.

Scripture says: Work as unto the Lord with faithfulness as your standard. Work hard, but do not overwork.

Commitment

Prayerfully evaluate your attitudes toward work and your job performance in light of what the Bible teaches. To help you discover any areas that need changing, ask yourself these questions:

1. Would I work more conscientiously if Jesus were my boss?

2. Would I think more highly of a president of an oil company than a gas station attendant?

3. How is my relationship with my employer, employees and fellow workers?

4. Am I trying to do too much?

5. Am I performing my job at a level of excellence?

6. Am I lazy? Do I work hard?

Work

Who Is Your Real Boss?

At age 29 Allen Hitchcock felt trapped. For six years he had worked as a clerk in a large department store.

He was competent, and the job paid moderately well. He longed, however, for a future in management, and as he looked around, he saw that all those who were promoted to management positions had college educations. So, by taking night courses, he completed his college requirements and earned a degree in business administration. The company soon promoted Allen to a job at a much higher salary.

The first few years were just as he had imagined—reasonable hours, good wages and attractive fringe benefits. Then the unexpected happened. The company expanded to Florida, and the Hitchcocks were transferred. The expansion schedule called for strict deadlines, and Allen assumed major responsibilities as an assistant manager. At first he enjoyed the excitement of the challenge; however, his five-day week soon became six, and his normal eight-hour day grew to 14 hours. On top of that, his new boss was so demanding that Allen began to experience a great deal of tension at work.

He now had more work and more responsibility, but as an assistant manager he no longer could earn overtime. As a result he made the same pay as he would have before the promotion, and resentment toward his employer was building. Allen began to wonder if management was worth the stress.

Allen’s job frustrations are not unusual. Few people are completely satisfied with their jobs. Boredom, lack of fulfillment, fear of losing a job, inadequate wages, overwork and countless other pressures contribute to a high level of discontentment. Doctors, homemakers, secretaries, salespeople, blue-collar workers and managers—regardless of the profession, the frustrations are ­similar.

During a 50-year career the average person spends 100,000 hours working. Most of an adult’s life is involved in work. Unfortunately, many just endure their work while ignoring the fact that 25 percent of their lives is devoted to a distasteful job. On the other hand, some people like work too much and neglect the other priorities of life.

People usually lean to one of two extremes: they either work as little as possible because work is unpleasant, or they tend to work all the time because it becomes overwhelmingly important. The Bible affirms the value of work but teaches that we should have a balance in work. Work is designed to develop our character. While enabling us to provide for our material well-being, work is a pathway to experiencing a closer relationship with the Lord and with other people. In order to find satisfaction and balance in our work, we need to understand what the Bible teaches about it.

Biblical Perspective of Work

Even before the Fall, when sin entered the human race, God instituted work. “The Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). The very first thing the Lord did with Adam was to assign him work. Despite what many have come to think, work was initiated for our benefit in the sinless environment of the Garden of Eden. After the Fall, work was made more difficult. “Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” (Genesis 3:17-19).

Work is so important that in Exodus 34:21 God gives this command: “You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest.” The Old Testament believer was required to work six days. In the New Testament Paul is just as direct when he says, “If anyone will not work, neither let him eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Examine the verse carefully. It says, “If anyone will not work.” It did not say, “If anyone cannot work.” This principle does not apply to those who are mentally or physically unable to work. It is for those who are but choose not to work.

A primary purpose of work is to develop character. While the carpenter is building a house, the house is also building the carpenter. Skill, diligence, manual dexterity and judgment are refined. A job is not merely a task designed to earn money; it is also intended to produce godly character in the life of the worker.

A close friend has a sister who has been supported by her parents for more than 30 years. She has never had to face the responsibilities and hardships involved with a job. As a consequence, her character has not been properly developed and she is immature in many areas of her life.

Honorable Professions

Scripture does not elevate any honest profession above another. There is dignity in all types of work, and a wide variety of vocations are represented in the Bible.

David was a shepherd and a king. Luke was a doctor. Lydia was a retailer who sold purple fabric. Daniel was a government worker. Paul was a tentmaker. Jesus, the Savior of the world, was a carpenter. In God’s economy there is equal dignity in the labor of a salesperson and the president of a company, in the labor of a private and a general serving in the military.

God’s Part in Work

The Bible reveals three specific responsibilities the Lord has in connection with work.

1. God gives job skills.

Exodus 36:1-2 illustrates this truth: “And every skillful person in whom the Lord has put skill and understanding to know how to perform all the work.” God has given each of us unique skills. People have widely varied abilities, manual skills and intellectual capacities. It is not a matter of one person being better than ­another; it is simply a matter of having received different capabilities.

2. God gives success.

The life of Joseph is a perfect example. “The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man . . . his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand” (Genesis 39:2-3). As we have seen, you and I have certain responsibilities, but we need to recognize that it is ultimately God who gives success.

3. God controls promotion.

Psalm 75:6-7 reads, “For promotion and power come from nowhere on earth, but only from God” (TLB). As much as it may surprise you, your boss is not the one who controls whether or not you will be promoted. When you understand this, you will work with a different attitude. It should have a tremendous impact on the way you perform as an employee.

This perspective of God’s part in work is a remarkable contrast to the way most people think. Most leave God out of work and believe that they alone control their success and promotions. However, those with a biblical understanding will approach work with an entirely different frame of reference. They can avoid one of the major reasons people experience stress and frustration in their jobs because they understand God’s part in work.

Stop reading for a few minutes and think about that. God gives you your skills and controls your success and promotion. Think about how this change in perspective will influence you and your job.

Our Part in Work

All of us have certain responsibilities related to our work. Scripture reveals we are actually serving the Lord in our work and not people. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Colossians 3:23-24). This perspective has profound implications. Consider your attitude toward work. If you could see the person of Jesus Christ as your boss, would you try to be more faithful in your job? The most important question you need to answer every day as you begin your work is: For whom do I work? You work for Christ.

Work hard.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). “The precious possession of a man is diligence” (Proverbs 12:27). In the Bible hard work and diligence are encouraged while laziness is repeatedly condemned: “He also who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys” (Proverbs 18:9).

Paul’s life was an example of hard work. “With labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we might not be a burden to any of you . . . in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, that you might follow our example” (2 Thessalonians 3:8-9). Your work should be at such a level that people will never equate laziness and mediocrity with God.

But do not overwork! Working too hard has reached epidemic proportions. A frantic, breathless overcommitment to work pervades our culture. Hard work must be balanced with the other priorities of life. Clearly our first priority is our relationship with the Lord. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). The second priority is the family.

If your job demands so much of your time and energy that you neglect your relationship with Christ or your family, then you are working too hard; perhaps the job is too demanding or your work habits need changing. If you tend to be a “workaholic,” take extra precautions to guard against forsaking your other priorities.

Exodus 34:21 reads, “You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest.” I believe this Old Testament principle of resting one day out of seven has application for us today. This has been difficult for me, particularly when I am working under the pressure of a project deadline or financial pressure.

Rest can become an issue of faith. Is the Lord able to make our six days of work more productive than seven days? Yes! The Lord instituted this weekly rest for our physical, mental and spiritual health.

Employer’s Responsibilities

The godly employer must perform a balancing act. The employer is to love, serve and encourage the employee, but he or she must also provide leadership and hold employees accountable for their assigned tasks. Let’s examine several principles that should govern an employer’s conduct.

Serve your employees.

The basis for biblical leadership is servanthood: “Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 20:26). Too often employers have concentrated on producing a profit at the expense of their personnel. However, the Bible directs the employer to balance profit-making efforts with an unselfish concern for the employees. Employees are to be treated fairly and with genuine dignity. “Masters [employers], grant to your slaves [employees] justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven” (Colossians 4:1).

Employers should seek creative ways to serve their subordinates. For example, they should consider investing time and money to educate and upgrade their employees’ job skills. As employees become more capable, both employees and companies can earn more.

Be a good communicator.

The biblical account of building the Tower of Babel teaches the importance of good communication. At that time everyone spoke the same language and adopted a common goal of building the tower. The Lord makes this remarkable observation: “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them” (Genesis 11:6, NIV).

Since building the tower was not what the Lord wanted, He stopped construction. And how did the Lord do this? He disrupted their ability to communicate. “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other” (Genesis 11:7, NIV).

It is especially important to listen to employee complaints. “If I have despised the claim of my [employees] when they filed a complaint against me, what then could I do when God arises, and when He calls me to account, what will I answer Him?” (Job 31:13-14). A sensitive, listening ear is a tangible expression that you care about the other person. When a complaint is legitimate, the employer should take appropriate steps to solve the problem.

Hold employees accountable.

The employer is responsible for letting employees know what is expected of them on the job. The employer should regularly evaluate their performances and communicate this to them. If an employee is not performing satisfactorily and is unable or unwilling to change, a personnel change may be necessary.

Pay your employees a fair wage promptly.

Employers are warned to pay a fair wage. “[The Lord will judge] those who oppress the wage earner in his wages” (Malachi 3:5). They are also commanded to pay wages promptly when due. “You shall not oppress a hired [employee] . . . give him his wages on his day before the sun sets . . . so that he may not cry against you to the Lord and it become sin in you” (Deuteronomy 24:14-15).

Employee’s Responsibilities

We can identify the six major responsibilities of the godly employee by examining the well-known story of Daniel in the lions’ den. In Daniel chapter 6 we are told that Darius, the king of Babylon, appointed 120 men to administer the government and three men, one of whom was Daniel, to supervise these administrators. When King Darius decided to promote Daniel to the job of governing the entire kingdom, Daniel’s fellow employees tried to eliminate him. They first looked for an opportunity to discredit him in his job. After this failed, they persuaded King Darius to make a foolish decree. For a period of 30 days everyone in the kingdom would be required to worship the king only or suffer the punishment of death in the lions’ den. Daniel was thrown to the lions because he continued to worship the living God. The Lord then rescued this godly employee by sending His angel to shut the lions’ mouths.

Let’s examine the attributes of a godly employee as modeled by Daniel.

Honest

Daniel 6:4 tells us that Daniel’s fellow employees could find no grounds for accusation against him in regard to his work. “No evidence of corruption” could be found in Daniel’s work. He was absolutely honest. We studied the importance of honesty earlier in the book.

Faithful

In Daniel 6:4, Daniel is described as “faithful.” The godly employee needs to establish the goal of being faithful and excellent in work. Then he or she needs to work hard to attain that goal.

Prayerful

The godly employee is a person of prayer. “Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed [commanding worship of the king alone] . . . he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously” (Daniel 6:10).

Daniel governed the most powerful nation of his day. Few of us will ever be faced with the magnitude of his responsibilities and the time demands that must have been required. Yet this man knew the importance and priority of prayer. If you are not praying consistently, your work is suffering.

Honors Employer

“Daniel spoke to the king, ‘O king, live forever!’” (Daniel 6:21). What a remarkable response! The king, his employer, had been deceived and was forced into sentencing Daniel to the lions’ den. But Daniel’s reaction was to honor his boss. Think how natural it would have been to say something like, “You dummy! The God who sent His angel to shut the lions’ mouths is going to punish you!” Instead, he honored his employer.

The godly employee always honors his superior. In 1 Peter 2:18 we read, “Servants [employees], be submissive to your masters [employers] with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.” One way to honor your employer is never to participate in gossip behind your employer’s back—even if he or she is not an ideal person.

Honors Fellow Employees

People will play “office politics” and may attempt to secure a promotion over you. They might even have you terminated from your job. Daniel’s peers tried to murder him. Despite this, no evidence exists that Daniel did anything but honor his fellow employees. Never slander a fellow employee. “Do not slander a servant [employee] to his master [employer], or he will curse you and you will pay for it” (Proverbs 30:10, NIV).

The godly person should avoid office politics and manipulation to secure a promotion. Your superior does not control your promotion. The Lord Himself makes that determination. We can be content in our jobs by striving for faithfulness, honoring superiors, loving and encouraging our fellow employees. Christ will promote us if and when He chooses.

Verbalizes His or Her Faith

At the appropriate time Daniel spoke of his faith in God to those around him. “The king spoke and said to Daniel, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?’” (Daniel 6:20).

King Darius would never have known about the living God if Daniel had not communicated his faith at appropriate moments during the normal conduct of his job. King Darius would not have been as powerfully influenced by Daniel’s profession of faith in God if he had not observed how he did his work. Daniel fulfilled his responsibilities with honesty and faithfulness while honoring those around him. Because of this demonstration, coupled with Daniel’s deliverance from the lions, Darius became a believer: “I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel; for He is the living God and enduring forever, and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, and His dominion will be forever” (Daniel 6:26).

Daniel influenced his employer, one of the most powerful people in the world, to believe in the only true God. You have that same opportunity in your own God-given sphere of work. Let me say this another way. A job well done earns you the right to tell others with whom you work about the reality of Christ. As we view our work from God’s perspective, dissatisfaction will turn to contentment from a job well done, and drudgery will be replaced with excitement over the prospect of introducing others to the Savior.

Retirement

The dictionary defines retirement as “withdrawal from an occupation or business, to give up or retreat from an active life.” The goal of retirement is deeply ingrained in our culture. Many people retire at an arbitrary, predetermined age and cease all labor in the pursuit of a life filled with leisure.

The Bible gives no examples of people retiring. Only one direct reference to retirement is found in the Bible. It is in Numbers 8:24-26; the instruction there applied exclusively to the Levites who worked on the tabernacle. As long as one is physically and mentally capable, no scriptural basis exists for retiring and becoming unproductive. The concept of putting an older but able person “out to pasture” is unbiblical. Age is no obstacle to finishing the work the Lord has for you to accomplish. For example, Moses was 80 years old when he began his 40-year task of leading the children of Israel.

Scripture does indicate that the type and intensity of work may change as we grow older—shifting gears to a less demanding pace and to becoming an “elder at the gate.” During this season of life we can actively employ the experience and wisdom gained over a lifetime. I believe this should be the most rewarding and productive time of life. God has invested years in grooming us, and often we have more discretionary time.

Forget retirement. Grasp the opportunity to help build God’s kingdom!

Calling

Each of us has a specific calling or purpose which the Lord intends for us to fulfill in our work. Ephesians 2:10 reads, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Study this passage carefully. “We are His workmanship.” Each of us has been created uniquely and given special physical, emotional and mental characteristics and abilities. You probably have heard the expression, “After the Lord made you, He threw away the mold!” It’s true. You are gifted uniquely. No one in all of history—past, present or future—is like you.

The passage continues, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” The Lord created each of us for a particular job, and He endowed us with the necessary skills, aptitudes and desires to accomplish this work. This calling may be full-time Christian service or a secular job. Often people struggle to know whether God wants them to continue in business once they have committed their lives to Christ. Many feel they are not serving the Lord in a significant way if they remain in a secular job. Nothing could be further from the truth. The key is for each person to determine God’s call on his or her life.

Past experiences prepare us for our calling.

God providentially allows us to experience circumstances to prepare us for our calling. You might find it difficult to believe that God was molding you through your family, your education, your work and your relationships, especially if these were not godly influences. Nonetheless, He was preparing you even in the difficult experiences. For example, the Lord might use a painful, unwanted divorce to give someone the empathy and desire to serve others in a similar situation.

Knowing our calling allows us to focus.

Most of us struggle with too many things to do and too little time in which to do them. The good can become the enemy of the best. Once you have a clear vision of God’s call on your life, it becomes much easier to evaluate opportunities and say “no” to those that would distract you from what the Lord wants you to accomplish.

I have two close friends. One has only average ability, but because he has been singled-minded in his focus he has had an enormous impact. The other man is much more capable but has scattered his energies pursuing numerous projects with limited success. Knowing your calling helps you focus and become more productive.

Someone has said, “Work as unto the Lord . . . the pay’s not always great, but the retirement benefits are out of this world!” This is true and you will find an additional benefit—increased satisfaction of a job done to the best of your ability.

Contrast

Society says: Work as little as possible because labor is distasteful; or work as much as possible because your job is all-important.

Scripture says: Work as unto the Lord with faithfulness as your standard. Work hard, but do not overwork.

Commitment

Prayerfully evaluate your attitudes toward work and your job performance in light of what the Bible teaches. To help you discover any areas that need changing, ask yourself these questions:

1. Would I work more conscientiously if Jesus were my boss?

2. Would I think more highly of a president of an oil company than a gas station attendant?

3. How is my relationship with my employer, employees and fellow workers?

4. Am I trying to do too much?

5. Am I performing my job at a level of excellence?

6. Am I lazy? Do I work hard?

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