Vocational Discipleship

The Importance of Christian Vocational Mentoring In Discipleship.

Tim Lundy
Oct 31, 2021    53m
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Did you know that God designed us to work? The work we do is for His glory and the glory of His Kingdom? This important message reminds us of the importance of Christian vocational mentoring in the discipleship process. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

Transcription
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.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:37] Hey, Venture. Before we dive in the message today, I want to take a moment and call you again to your faith promise commitment. Now everybody should have received one of these cards, or you can go online. As I said last week, this is one of the few things that we ask every person in the church to do, because we believe it's vital both to your growth and also to what we're doing outwardly. I'll remind you, the faith promised commitment is the money that we use to support ministries, missionaries, it goes out from this church, both in the Bay Area and around the world. And we ask everybody to take some time, and either fill out the card or go online and do it, but you need to pray about what is God calling you to give next year by faith. It's going to be a commitment of what you'll give above your regular giving, and then you commit that amount, and you make that commitment and send it in.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:29] Now, some of you have asked, why do I need to send a card in, or why do I need to fill it out online? I might just give next year. I'd say a couple of reasons, one, it's good to make a commitment, that's part of that faith step. That's part of praying and going, God, where are you leading me, where are you stretching me? And really don't shortchange that part of the process, as a person, or a couple, or family, really pray together, God, what are you calling us to do by faith? And then secondly, by making the commitment and sending it in, it helps us because we take all of that and we set the budgets according to it, for each of the different regions, for the projects, for the missionary commitments that we have support to. It helps us to be able to align that out and go, OK, we know we can live up to those commitments because we're believing what people have said. And the great part about it is every year we see people send more money than was pledged, and so we're able to give that away as well. But it really is important, I think, both for you and also for us in the planning.

Tim Lundy: [00:02:34] And so I'm going to encourage you, I'm not going to let up on this, this will be something you'll be hearing about week after week because I do believe it is so important it will capture your heart for what God's doing around the world. So if you haven't sent it in, do so today, either send the card in or go online. Again, you can do it there, online makes it very simple, but take that time and pray, make a commitment, and together let's see what God's going to do through all of this in this coming year.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:02] Hey, why don't we take a moment and just pray to that end? Father, I thank you, I thank you for how this church is always faithfully given, always had a heart for giving outward for missionally giving. And Lord, we have every expectation that you're moving in hearts this year. I pray for each of us that we would, by faith, step out maybe further than we would on our own. But trusting you, we'd really step out by faith in this commitment. Lord, I pray for those, maybe they're frustrated right now, they feel like they don't have anything to give. I pray you'd give them the faith just to commit something, and to watch you show up in it. Lord, I pray for many of us who've been blessed with so much, I pray you capture our hearts to realize there's no greater investment then using our resources to share the gospel to meet tangible needs. Lord, we thank you that we get the privilege of being a part of what you're doing worldwide, and I pray that you would move in us beyond expectation. And we pray all these things in Christ's name, Amen.

Tim Lundy: [00:04:10] Well, I'm excited this week as we continue on with resilient faith, because I believe the topic we're talking about is one of the most important ones in anyone's life, not just next generation, in all of our lives, and yet it's one of the least addressed in the church, frankly, I think we've totally missed the mark in some ways when it comes to this area. I was thinking about it, I had a son this week who took his driver's exam, he took the final part of it and got his driver's license. And so I was excited for him, I mean, he just turned 16, wanted the license. I'm excited for him. I'm not really excited about adding another teenager onto my insurance policy, but that's a different story. But as I thought about all the training for him to drive, if you think about it, if you maybe had a child that's gone through this. I mean, they read the book and they study, and they study in the classroom, they study online. They have to learn about the car, they have to learn about the parts, they have to learn the different things, but most of all, you want them behind the wheel, and for many hours they have to drive. I mean, you're literally training them in that context. Now, could you imagine trying to teach someone how to drive, but you never turned on the car, you never addressed actually that part. Now there's a lot you could cover leading all the way up to that, but if you neglected what really is going to be the bulk of the training, you've totally missed the mark in some ways.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:46] Now, I say that because today we're going to talk about vocation. We're going to talk about work. We're going to talk about what you do, many of you for about sixty-five percent of your life is spent in those hours. And as you think about it as a church, I mean, one of our core things should be to train you in that bulk of what you're doing. And yet, so often we talk about work in passing, we talk about vocation every so often, but I think we missed the mark of really effectively training people to think, how does this impact my Christian life, and how does my Christian life impact the way that I see work?

Tim Lundy: [00:06:33] Tommy Nelson said these words, and I think they're appropriate, he said, "In the church, we often spend the majority of our time teaching people how to live the minority of their lives." We're often teaching people about the smaller part of their life, instead of that huge section every day with work. And the reason I point this out is, interestingly enough, when we think about these resilient disciples, this next generation, that group that as they enter adulthood, they pursue Christ, this is one of those core practices that actually make a difference in their life.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:14] Look at it, we've been looking at these five core practices, and you can see it here. The resilient disciples, they experience Jesus, they have a real relationship with him. They have cultural discernment, they're able to see what's going on in the world and filter that out, according to God's word. They have meaningful relationships, especially within the church, somebody has invested in them. Last week, we talked about this countercultural sense of mission, they know why they're here on the planet, there's a mission that they have here, and this one goes hand in hand with this fifth one, there's been vocational discipleship in their life, this huge area has not been neglected as part of their life.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:56] Now, this may be a term where you go, vocational discipleship, that's not even how I define discipleship. Although, when we say discipleship, we mean how to study the Bible, how to pray, spiritual disciplines, coming to church again, core parts of it. But we don't leave out, remember that bulk of their life, remember the core part of driving? Man, a huge part of all of our lives is vocation. Now, what do we mean when we say this?

Tim Lundy: [00:08:24] And again, I'm referencing here and the stats that you'll see out of this, and just even these five disciplines, come out of David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock's book Faith for Exiles. And look how they define that term, they would say vocational discipleship is knowing and living God's calling, understanding what we are made to do. So when they use the word calling, they're going for each of us to understand what we were made to do, especially, and this is the key part, in the arena of work.

Tim Lundy: [00:08:57] Now think about it, as a church, we will disciple people when it comes to spiritual disciplines, we disciple people often when it comes to marriage, marriage is a core thing that we want to train people in because we know that such an important arena. Parenting is a huge thing you'll hear about in church quite a bit because, again, it's so important. And then we come to this arena of work, and I just ask, do we spend nearly as much time in church talking about that arena as all those others, but surely, it's important in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:09:29] See, this vocational discipleship, especially in the arena of work and right sizing our ambitions to God's purposes. How do we shape those natural ambitions? And so I want to go in and say at the beginning of this, because some of you, as I talk about work, what you're hearing already, or you’re fearing already, is I just want you to tamp down your ambitions. You don't need to work so much. You don't need to strive so much. You don't need to want so much. And there's a certain part of it I go, man, those ambitions, that drive, part of that is how you're made some more than others, some in different arenas, more than others. I don't want to change any part of what God's placed in you, but I'd love for you to get it in perspective and priority, and truly discover what you're made to do. Because we may be missing it in ways.

Tim Lundy: [00:10:25] Now I told you, resilient disciples, they really value this. Look at some of the surveys around this, and the way that they think about their lives. And remember, we've got these four categories again, these prodigals, they've walked away from church and Christ. The nomads, they have a relationship with Christ, but they've walked away from church. Habituals, they come to church some, but when you look at the depth of what they believe, not as much.

Tim Lundy: [00:10:49] And then this is that last group that we're going for in it, and so look how they approach this topic. When asked do these strongly agree with this statement? I want to use my unique talents and gifts to honor God. It's lower, lower, and then, man, it jumps way over, ninety-four percent of resilient disciples go, yes, that's me. Christians are called to do their work with integrity, no matter the type of work. And again, you see, 17 percent over here, maybe, thirty-seven, fifty-three, eighty-nine percent. God designs each person with a unique calling for their life, again, notice the growth of it. Now again, all of these grew up in the church, but somewhere along the way, these categories, these things never connected. Now maybe it was something with them, but maybe it was a church that never talked about these things. Look at number four, I believe that all the work I do is important to God, man, that's a powerful statement. Wouldn't you want to know that about your life? Look at that, eighty-two percent of resilient disciples go, yeah, that's true in my life. My church does a good job of helping me understand how to live out my faith in the workplace. Man, only seven percent of prodigals would say that was true about them. Maybe that's part of the disconnect, I mean, as we start looking at these things. Maybe it's not always about culture, it's about other things, maybe at some point as a church we've got to own, were we ever speaking to the issues that really matter to them? Whereas resilient disciples, seventy two percent of them say, yeah, my church was a place for that. And then, I don't have to work in ministry to be working for God's Kingdom. They've got that kingdom mindset that we talked about last week, of being ambassadors for Christ, and so it's almost 70 percent of resilient disciples would say this is true.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:46] Are you seeing in those statements the difference in this mentality? And I think the question for us is how do we develop those kinds of resilient disciples? How do we do that? How could we be that kind of church? How could we talk about this more? And so I just want to take some time, and we're going to have to move pretty quickly to each of these as I look at this, every one of these points could be a sermon series in and of itself. And we're going to come back to it because it's so important to talk about this.

Tim Lundy: [00:13:17] But as we think about establishing vocational discipleship, maybe in your home, or in your life, or in this church, what are some of the things that we're going to have to do?

Tim Lundy: [00:13:27] Here's the first one I would say is, we must develop and teach a better theology of work and the gospel. Now again, that may be a term that we never even combine theology and work, because we always think of theology, well, that's just the study of God and what God does over here. And yet, think about work and how important it is, and especially how do we combine work and the gospel.

Tim Lundy: [00:13:50] Now I want to be real careful, again, because when I use that term gospel, we want to reduce it so quickly. So often, we think of the gospel as just this evangelistic presentation, that presentation that you tell somebody so that they can pray the prayer. And then once they've prayed the prayer, they receive Christ, and they receive the gospel. I would say that is part of the gospel. The gospel is actually this big story that God's telling throughout the whole Bible.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:16] And remember, I've told you in the past when you think about the gospel, you always want to think about the four parts. The gospel always is that God created the world. We talked about it last week, God is good, everything from him is good, and his creation was good, so he created this world with order, and meaning, and goodness.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:34] And then, because of our choice, humanity's choice, we sinned, and when we sinned that that corrupted everything, it literally impacted the whole world, impacted all of our lives, impacted all the parts of creation, they've been tainted by sin, so they feel the impact of that. And so this thing that was so good now, now there's separation in the world. And the worst part of it is we're separated from God, because remember he's good, and he can't be corrupted, even by our sin. There's a separation from God, separation from each other, separation from ourselves, separation from even understanding why we're here.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:15] And then, the good news is, God didn't leave us in that. He chose a plan of redemption, instead of rejecting us, he said, I'm going to provide a way, and Christ entered our world fully human without sin, and he took on all that sin on Himself on the cross, and he paid for the sin, and he rose from the dead, and he offers a way of forgiveness to every single one of us, a way to be adopted into his family, a way to see my life transformed from the inside out because of what Christ did. Yeah, that's that evangelistic part, but it's part of this whole story.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:55] And then the other part of the story we often leave out is, there's a restoration, he's making all things new, he's making me new as one of his children from the inside out, he's making my world new, he's expanding his kingdom here. One day he's going to have a new heaven and a new earth.

Tim Lundy: [00:16:12] And so when you think of the gospel, this is what I always want you to think about, you always have to think about all four of these parts. So let's come back to what we're talking on work. how does work fit with this? Well, honestly, if you look to scripture, it shows us exactly. Man, if you think about work, go back to creation in the very beginning. In Genesis 1, when God created Adam and Eve, "God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Look at Genesis 2, when Adam was placed in the garden, "The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it."

Tim Lundy: [00:16:59] Now, do you feel this commissioning from God? This is for all humanity, by the way, this is how we're hardwired within all of us, I love the way Scott Jasani goes through it, he says, "If you look at this, I mean, in these core commands, you see a heart of an entrepreneur, that you're to bring abundance, that you're to bring something new out. You see the heart of the engineer and those who are scientists, you're to bring order to the world. You see the heart of creators, here to create life, to create beauty." And all of that goes under this core command to work.

Tim Lundy: [00:17:39] Here's what I want you to see, work was there at the beginning because work is good, we were made to work, it's part of our core wiring in that. And we taste it in those moments when scientists talk about the flow, those moments where you hit where you're facing challenge, but you also have the expertise for that challenge. And when you live between those two things, maybe for some of you that's at your job, maybe it's in a sport, or something you can do, when you get in that flow where you're really being challenged and then you have the expertise to do it and you just have that sense of yourself, you go, yes, this is why I was put on this planet. You're in that flow. That was all part of that creation, that's what work was always supposed to feel like.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:27] And you go, man, it doesn't feel like that today. Why? Well, that's the second part of the gospel, the fall, because we sinned. And God said to Adam, look what he says, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you." Because you did the one thing I told you not to do, "You shall not eat of it." Here's the impact that you're going to feel, and he's connecting the dots, by the way. This is why you don't feel in the flow all the time. Do you know why? Because, "Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain, you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Man, you feel in that moment when I told you that sin corrupts everything. Do you know one of the worst things it did, it corrupted the world, it corrupted work, it corrupted what it was supposed to be. That it was supposed to be that life in the flow, that I get to taste from time to time, but do you know there's a lot of these days., work's hard, the thorns and the thistles and the pain of it.

Tim Lundy: [00:19:44] And I think that the part that always stands out to me the most, that sense of futility, of just another day of work, a punch in the clock. And the reality for so many people, this is work for them, and they have no other picture of it. Man, work is literally just the drudgery of this, and so I just live for the weekend, and I live maybe to go party tonight, or I live for the next vacation, or I live for the day when, like Johnny Paycheck, I can walk in and tell my boss, take this job and shove it, I ain't working here no more. I mean, there's just this mentality of, I've just got to do this because this is the toil of humanity. And if you feel that, if you see that, you start to understand why God hates sin so much, you start to understand when you're talking about fall, it's not just about eating fruit, it's literally impacted every area of life. And for many of us, it's impacted the area where we spend the bulk of our life, and apart from God, we're trapped in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:21:05] See, that's why it's so good that next part of the gospel, there's redemption, there is redemption even for work. There's redemption, even for the world I live in, look how he puts it in Romans 8, Paul's talking about the whole creation groans for that redemption, the whole creation groans for what God's doing. And I love how he says, "The creation was subjected to futility." He's talking about when Adam, he's said, man, the world got harder, the world doesn't work the way it's supposed to, even the creation itself. "Not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God."

Tim Lundy: [00:21:51] See, part of what Christ is doing when we embrace that redemption, when we embrace that forgiveness from him, when we embrace that literally he's paid for all that was done wrong, it's not just a ticket to heaven, it's part of a process where he's redeeming me and I'm a part of redeeming this world because I'm expanding the Kingdom of God. And one of the main ways that we do that is to show people that work is more than futility, there's more to it beyond this. But if believers don't live any differently, how would anyone see this? In fact, I don't only think we have a mentality that the ultimate restoration that's to come, the ultimate new heaven and new earth actually includes work. If you look at it, the final part of restoration, I encourage you, read Revelation 21 and 22. It's not just about being around Christ, he says Jerusalem is like a new city that comes down. He says there will be ruling and reining, that authority that comes back.

Tim Lundy: [00:22:54] Isaiah 65, is a prophetic passage where Isaiah was talking about when the people would return to the land, but it's also pointing and it gives pointers to when we will return, ultimately, to the new heaven and new Earth. Look how he describes it, he says, "They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat." Do you feel the freedom there suddenly? Your work matters, it's not like I'm just working for someone else, and they get the fruit of it, he goes, no, it's going to actually matter to you. "For like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands." Oh, do you feel that? He says, man, my chosen people, my kids, are going to work and they're going to enjoy it, they're going to be in that flow of what they were meant to do.

Tim Lundy: [00:23:52] See, a lot of you, you got a picture of heaven coming one day and you sit on a cloud, and you play the harp, and you go, man, I would never want to do this. Here's what I'd want you to picture, I want you to picture your best day, I want you to picture when you're in the flow, I want you to picture those moments when you go, man, this is why I'm on the planet, this is what I was made to do, this is what I feel. And in that moment, you're tasting for a minute what God promises here. That, that ultimate restoration of a new heaven and a new Earth, you're going to do work every day in the way that you're made, and there are no more thorns, and thistles, and futility, it's absolute restoration.

Tim Lundy: [00:24:37] I mean, don't you long for that? Don't you want that? But if we don't talk about it, and we don't live it out, and we don't model that even what I'm doing today matters to God because I'm a part of that kingdom now. Remember when Jesus prayed, he says, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven." May my people start living this out now, may it be spread on this planet now. That's why your work matters so much to God, and that's why we have to have a full gospel presentation, that's why we've got to be the people that help the ones who are caught in that futility.

Tim Lundy: [00:25:20] You know, I love the books and the movies, The Chronicles of Narnia. And I don't know if you remember in the first book, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, when the White Witch reigned, it was winter all the time, everything's frozen. And as Aslan, the Lion, who's representative of Christ, as his kingdom starts expanding, everything starts thawing, the ice melts away, there's new life. And I always picture that, because when I think of this, when I think of the people trapped in jobs, trapped in toil, trapped in futility, trapped living every day from paycheck by paycheck, and just work means nothing more than something to escape, it just feels like a whole world where work is winter. And Christ has come with the gospel, and it starts thawing. and there's meaning, and there's purpose, and the people who are to be the agents of that are the people of his church. See, that's why it's so important that we talk about this, that we think about this, that we actually have a theology that approaches our work.

Tim Lundy: [00:26:32] With that as well, we must break down the sacred and secular divide, we've got to break down this sacred and secular mentality. And the church, in church history, has been one of the people that kind of put up this divide, especially when there was a priestly class, and then regular people, their sacred people, priests. We still do it today, there are pastors, and people in ministry, people that we consider sacred, their sacred time in your week that you go to church and that, and then they're secular and you've got to get back to work, or we say, you've got to get back to the real world, go back to your job. And what we're doing in that is, you hear it, we're creating this divide of, OK, here's this important part we'll train you in, and then there's the rest of your week that you just got to get through. And so you've got to go to a job, and you've got to do whatever you're going to do in life, hopefully, you earn a paycheck, and maybe you could use some of that money to support the sacred things. So your job matters because you get a paycheck, and you can support sacred things.

Tim Lundy: [00:27:33] Guys, that's not how God set it up, that's not how God looks at it, by the way. I mean, why is something considered sacred to begin with? It's only sacred because God's a part of it. And so when God looks at the planet, do you think he just looks and says, oh, I only get Sunday, I only get churches, I only get these people? Actually, look how he describes it, he says, "The Lord owns the earth and all it contains, the world and all who live in it." He literally looks at it and says, yeah, if being connected to me makes it sacred, then it's all mine, and there's no category, there's no divide, there's nothing that doesn't matter to him.

Tim Lundy: [00:28:19] And so we, and as Christians, we can do this, whether we mean or not, because probably up to this point, you'd go, yes, I agree with that. But I think we have to be careful in ways, sometimes even as we talk about it as pastors, or missionaries, have you ever heard this term? You know, they were called into the ministry. We kind of reserve that category for people who's a pastor, and they were called into ministry. And I was called by God to the ministry, so I believe in that because I wouldn't have come, I was kicking and screaming, didn't want to do it, but I knew it was an absolute call of God on my life. But here's where I want to break the categories down, he doesn't just do that for pastors, or missionaries, or special categories. Like the only people God's concerned of making sure they get it right is, oh, I've got to make sure I get pastors, I've got to make sure I get missionaries.

Tim Lundy: [00:29:10] Guys, everyone has a calling of God on your life, everybody it matters. And when you think about the purpose of your life, and you think about what he's called you to do...The word vocation itself, it's interesting, because we always say, oh yeah, I have a vocation. Do you know what that comes from? Is from the Latin, voca, to call. Literally, the word vocation means a calling. And so it's not just pastors and these people, God looks at, remember because everybody's his and the whole planet is his, and he wants to see his kingdom spread to the whole planet, don't you think God's going to be strategic and where he wired people and places people? And so he actually calls them, and what they do matters as much as what church people do, and pastors do, that's what scripture teaches.

Tim Lundy: [00:30:02] I mean, even when we think about the term good works, when I say good works, what do you think? Immediately, I think, OK, well, it's serving the poor, and it's helping somebody, and being there. All of that's true, but did you ever think good works might include your good work? I mean, take the s off and suddenly go, when I talk about good work, well, good work could include my job and it could include my home. When Jesus called us to be salt and light he said, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works." I don't think he's talking about here just those special things you do to go serve on this day and at that time, in just one category. I think he's talking about, man, as they look at your whole life, those things that you do and the good work that you do, "Give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

Tim Lundy: [00:30:56] You go, well, Tim, I think you're stretching. Look how Ephesians puts it, and this is such an important verse because it combines that gospel with our work. He says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast." So when you think about having a relationship with God, remember, we talked about that separation because of sin? So many religions, and so many people, think if I do enough good things, I can have a relationship with God, I can overcome that problem. And Paul says, you actually can't, it's too far of a divide, you're too far gone. And so it was by grace, it was this act of God, He's the one that sent Christ. So you're never going to do enough to be right with God, but in Christ, you can be right with him. See, you'll stay frustrated if you're trying to earn a relationship with God.

Tim Lundy: [00:31:48] But here's the second part of the equation, and this is where I think a lot of Christians are frustrated, they don't continue on with the verse. Yeah, I was saved by grace, by Christ, but it's not so that I can just push pause on my life and wait around until one day I get to go to heaven. Man, that's a recipe for frustration. No, look what he says, "You've been saved, no one can boast, for we are his workmanship." Literally, God crafted you, he made you exactly like you are, "Created in Christ Jesus for good works." So you are made to do good works, "Which God prepared beforehand." So God's been designing this from before the universe ever even existed, "That we should walk in them." And that term there, that walk in them, it's not like, oh, this good thing I do every so often, he literally is talking about the core of your life is this good work that you're doing. The core of your life is based on how God crafted you, and where God placed you, and what God's calling you to do, and you're meant to do that every single day.

Tim Lundy: [00:32:57] Guy's I hope you're embracing this, here's what I'm saying, it all matters to God. It matters when you clock in, it matters the work that you do if you're an automotive mechanic, it matters the diagnosis you make as a doctor, it matters the sale that you make, it matters the business that you open, it matters the expense reports that you do, it matters the diapers that you change, or the house you may clean, or the meal that you prepare, it matters the homework that you do, or the time in your class, all of it matters to God. And you were uniquely crafted and called to walk in it because you are part of expanding his kingdom, and as you do those good works, it brings him glory. Can you see how this is so important to every part of our life?

Tim Lundy: [00:33:52] And so I would just say on number three then, you've got to decide who or what you're working for, you get to decide who or what you're working for. And we could do a lot of categories, the big ones, I mean, a lot of people are working for money, let's just be honest, and any of us can drift into this pretty quickly. Where as much as we would like to say as Christian, well, I'm working for God, if you really sat back and said, you know, what is my core motivation here? Is it paycheck-driven, is it as soon as that IPO comes, or the next bonus, or the next thing, and you suddenly start making choices, not because you don't want money, but when it becomes the governing factor of all of it? Jesus knew this well, I love this verse, it's convicting for me, he says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other." And at the core of it, he says, man, "You can't serve God and money." And I would just say to you, I think work is one of the most distinguishing ways on how this first shows up. It doesn't mean that God's against money, in fact, Scripture never says that there's anything wrong with money. It's always the love of money, the desire for money, it's the things that we can throw ourselves in that. And how you conduct yourself at work, it's just a great way to evaluate, why am I doing this, and do I do this strictly for money? Now, if you're like me, I need a paycheck because I got bills to pay, and money's an important part of that. But I would encourage you, man, money is a terrible master, it's a great tool, a terrible master.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:40] For a lot of people, it's not money, actually, it's power. It's kind of the power that comes with it, it's the getting ahead, it's the competing. I remember years ago my brother was very successful in the tech industry until alcoholism not only took his career but also his life. But he was switching jobs at one point, and he told me about his new job, and he told me what they had offered him, and I was amazed at the salary, honestly. And even as he said, oh, I'll do that for a year, and then I'll have to leave this one, I'm going to go over to this one. And, finally, I just kind of laughingly said to him, I said, when is it ever enough? And he kind of laughed and he goes, you don't get it, it's not about the money, he goes money is just a marker to know if you're winning. And I would say a core part that drove his life is, man, I've got to know that I'm getting ahead, I've got to know I'm ahead of that person, I've got to know that I'm getting on top, I've got to know that I'm in control of my life. And work is one of the key areas that we can do this, that we work so hard because we're trying to get in control of our life and control of our world.

Tim Lundy: [00:36:46] And a lot of times for those of us that are wired a certain way, we throw ourselves into it, and there's a certain power that comes with it. Remember when Jesus' disciples, James and John, they pulled Jesus aside, they said, hey, in the kingdom, can we get the corner offices? Can we get the best spot? And the rest of the disciples hear about it, and they start grumbling, who are they to get ahead in it? Jesus says you got my kingdom wrong, "He called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all." Now, he's not saying we're powerless people, he's saying, how will you use it? How will you use your influence? And so just like money, and just like power, you may be in a career that's given you both of those. The question is not whether you have them, it's what's driving you, and are they the main thing that you're serving in it?

Tim Lundy: [00:37:54] You know a third one is prestige, and it's interesting, especially with the next generation, more of the next generation would rather be famous than rich. Gen Z, all the surveys they're going, if I had to choose between the two, I'd rather be known than rich, I mean, and you can do anything. And all of us can like this in a way, I want to be known in my company, I want to be known by my boss, I want people to notice what I'm doing out of that. And again, I love how Paul puts it, he says, "For am I now seeking the approval of man or of God? It's a great question to go, am I doing all this just for the approval of others? Am I doing all this for the likes? Am I doing all this so I can get a big Instagram following? Who am I really doing what I'm doing for? Am I trying to please man? If I were trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Tim Lundy: [00:38:47] Guy's here's the core category around that, the core category is, am I going to serve Christ first of all? And I love how Colossians puts it, he says, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." See, it's not that we're against anything, I hope that God blesses you with money, I hope you grow in influence in whatever field that you're in, man, I hope that your name would be known. See, all those things can fall in line if I put Him first.

Tim Lundy: [00:39:23] That's what Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." God knows what you need, God knows what's there, the key is, am I placing him first in priority in the process? And when we don't do it, listen to this, The Atlantic, the magazine, had an article. They wrote these words, it says, "The best-educated and highest-earning Americans, who can have whatever they want, have chosen the office for the same reason that devout Christians attend church on Sundays, it's where they feel most themselves. But our desks were never meant to be our alters, this mismatch between expectation and reality is a recipe for severe disappointment, if not outright misery. It might explain why the rates of depression and anxiety in the U.S. are substantially higher than they were in any generation." And unfortunately, because we don't talk about it, we don't think about it, we don't challenge ourselves, man, is this really why I'm working, is he who I'm working for, we can lose sight of that.

Tim Lundy: [00:40:33] A couple more things in it as close out, I'd say that we need to discover not only your what but also your why. Discover, and I say this to young people when maybe you're starting your career, discover not only what you're going to do with your life, what are you going to be when you grow up? It's one of the key questions. What are you going to major in? What's your job going to be? I mean, you have to discover the what in life, do you know we often fail to talk about, though, is why do you want to do that? Does that match at all who you really are?

Tim Lundy: [00:41:09] And one of the things I love about these resilient disciples, they connect the dots on these things. Look at a few more things that they say, they're living out this Ephesians 2, of being God's workmanship. Look how they talk about it; I conduct myself in the workplace knowing that others are watching me. Look at that, eighty percent of them would say, yeah, that's true, so how I do this matters. God has called me to my current work, two thirds of them will go, yeah, I've made that connection. The work I do at my job aligns with the person God has made me to be, look at that 63 percent of them. The work I do at my job is making a positive impact on the world, sixty percent of them say, yeah, that's what I've discovered. And remember, this is a younger group, they're still in their 20s. I'm excited about my career path.

Tim Lundy: [00:41:57] Now, I've been noticing how higher these are, but it makes my heart sad when I look at how low these are. And again, I have to ask myself if some of the prodigals that walked away from the church, it wasn't just maybe an issue of doctrine or faith, maybe it was an issue we weren't talking about, these core areas that they live every day, and they never connected the dots.

Tim Lundy: [00:42:21] See, I would challenge us as parents, I challenge you, you need to not only know what you want to do in life, but why am I going to do this? You know, one of the places I saw this lived out the most was I was in Rwanda; I've been there several times. And in this little country of Rwanda that has been through genocide and so much trouble, there’s a school called Cornerstone Leadership Academy, it's a boarding school. All the kids in it, especially when I was there, were kids who had been impacted by the genocide, many of them were orphans, very poor. But you go onto that campus and the distinct just feel of it of as these kids come out and greet you, and they shake your hand, and they look you in the eye, as you're greeted by all of them. And they've got a motto there that they would say, man, we are at Cornerstone Academy, and we're here to be men of integrity and women of virtue. And for every single one of them, this is my favorite part because they would do different presentations, but you could talk to any of the kids that were there. And you go, hey, tell me about your vision for life. They've been taught, man, you have to have a vision. What do you want to be? And over and over, you hear different ones, one would come forward and go, I'm going to be a doctor because the people in my village do not have good medical care, and so I want to be a part of bringing and establishing medical care in the village. I want to go to law school because I want to be a member of parliament in my country, because I feel like I can help shape laws that will help people for their good. One little boy, he goes, I want to be, and he was saying pilot, but because of the language, it sounded like he was saying, I want to be a pirate. He goes, I want to be a pirate. I was like a pirate? And he goes, a pirate. I was like, oh, OK, this one's a little bit different. And then he said, yeah, a pirate and fly planes. And I said, oh, a pilot? He goes, yes. He goes, because transportation is growing in my country, and it will be important that we have leaders and pilots who can fly around the world. I mean, over and over again, they not only told you what, but there was always a way. And as I looked at, you know what, none of them said to a person? I never heard, one of them say, I want to be this because I can make a lot of money. There was a core part of their discipleship program is, not only discovering what you're put on the planet to do, but man, why are you doing this?

Tim Lundy: [00:44:56] It's interesting as well, just one of the girls that we met, even though she was a high school student there who had no means, she'd started at her own orphanage and adopted 13 street children and was funding their food and support and livelihood. There's another group of students, they collected the little money they had to make sure some of the neighborhood kids could go to school, because they didn't have the school fees to even go. And I'm looking at these kids, they don't have anything, but they're giving this away. And I said to them, I said, man, what motivates you? And they all said, oh, to whom much is given, much is required? And we at Cornerstone Academy, we have been so blessed, we have to bless the world. Guys, I heard that, and I thought, man, our kids need this. And I would just challenge you if you're a parent, I challenge you if you're an educator, I challenge you if you're thinking about your own life, not just what, but why. Why do you want to do what you want to do? How is it going to be to bless the world and expand God's kingdom?

Tim Lundy: [00:46:01] The final thing I just say to us, is we need to foster vocational mentoring in the church and the home, we need to foster this kind of talk and mentoring. And so maybe if you're young in your career, Proverb says, "Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm." And it's interesting to me when you talk about people getting their career or making money, there's a thousand YouTube videos, there's a thousand experts, there's umpteen books on it that will tell you how to do it. But do you ever stop and ask yourself, man, is this person doing it in a way that brings God glory? Is this person doing it in a way that the Gospel actually informed it?

Tim Lundy: [00:46:43] And so if you're a business leader, man, where are you mentoring young people in this, and helping them become wise? Where are we talking to our high schoolers about not just their walk with Christ, but their walk with Christ in their job? Where are we talking about it in our homes? Where are we applying this, Colossians 3, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another." But notice what he says, and this is about how to use scripture, and you need to teach and admonish in all wisdom. In all wisdom, how is the Bible informing every part of life, especially our work? And do we talk about it and do we engage in it, because it's absolutely fundamental for those in a resilient faith?

Tim Lundy: [00:47:31] So maybe as you're thinking about it as a small group, you go, hey, what are we going to study as a small group? Maybe you've studied marriage, maybe you've studied parenting, and you've studied spiritual growth. Have you ever studied, what does it mean at our work, have we ever looked at the scriptures around that? Maybe you're starting out in the business, and you need to go find a Christian mentor. If you want to ask, let us know and we'll try to connect you with somebody in this church that we'd go, man, this person, they'll never say they did it perfectly, but God has informed how they walked in life.

Tim Lundy: [00:48:03] You know, there is a resource that has just come out from our church. Henry Kaestner, who's a part of our church, has written a book with JD Greer, who is pastor over on the East Coast, and Chip Ingram, my predecessor, the Faith Driven Entrepreneur. So maybe you're an entrepreneur, and you go, yeah...And here in the valley, I mean, there's a lot of entrepreneurs, and you're going, how do I do this well? Man, this is a great book, I'm about halfway through it, it's a great resource to walk how to do that. In fact, I know Henry has a real desire, at Venture, man, if they're entrepreneurs, if you're a leader and a company and you're leading and starting something like that, and you'd like to be in a discipleship group to really walk through this material, let us know we'd love to connect you in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:48:49] Guys, it's so important that we talk about this now, because I'll tell you this as a pastor, one thing that I've seen when people get to the end of their life, one of the greatest regrets is they never got this area of work right, and they realized then how much it shaped their life.

Tim Lundy: [00:49:07] In fact, I'll close with the story of the CEO, Eugene O'Kelly, he was a 53-year-old CEO of a major accounting firm, and then he got inoperable brain cancer. And he wrote the book Chasing Daylight, and as he describes it as written by a man once described as controlling, orderly, privileged, and powerful, a man who sometimes felt like he was an eagle on a mountaintop, then to his astonishment, the mountaintop disappeared. And in the final months of his life, listen to his words. He wrote, "What if I hadn't worked so hard? Or what if aside from doing my job and doing it well, had actually used the bully pulpit of my position to be a role model for balance? Had I done so intentionally, who's to say that besides having more time with my family, I wouldn't also have been even more focused at work, more creative, more productive?" He died shortly after writing those words. He never got to answer his own question.

Tim Lundy: [00:50:17] Folks, I'm not telling you that you shouldn't care about your work, you're going to be passionate about it, it's a core part of it because God cares about it and he made you that way. I'm not telling you you shouldn't want to succeed, you shouldn't want to accomplish and to go after it, there's a part of your drive and competitiveness, and some of us are wired in that way, men to be in the flow, that's part of it. I'm not telling you that the fallen world just magically disappears for Christians, and everything becomes easy. But I am telling you that God uniquely designed you, he uniquely called you, he wants to see you use your gifts and your ability to do good work that is a part of his good works that bring Him glory. And we need to study this, and focus on this, and teach this, and disciple in this, because it's just such a fundamental part of who we are.

Tim Lundy: [00:51:21] Here's the good news, when Jesus came and the gospel redeemed, it redeemed this part of our lives as well. And if anybody should be discovering it, it should be those who are his children.

Tim Lundy: [00:51:35] Let's pray. Father, thank you, thank you for work, thank you for your word, thank you for how these two come together. I pray for Venture, we have so many gifted people in this church, I pray that we would be people who put you first and then all those other things fall in place. I pray that we would be people who mentor each other in this. I would pray that we would be people that are talking to our kids and the next generation, and not just talking about what they're going to do in life, but why. Lord, I pray that for anybody, maybe they're hearing this today and they feel stuck in the futility of work, stuck in the futility of life, I pray for redemption, not just in that part of their life they would call spiritual, but in all of their life that you call sacred. Lord, we thank you and we praise you, and pray this in Christ's name. Amen.



Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032
408.997.4600