Work is Not a Curse

New Philly Hongdae (video streamed to Sillim, Itaewon, Busan, Sydney)
Preached by Christian Lee on December 7, 2014, Sunday.
Duration: 65 minutes (audio)
Part 3 of the sermon series: Wisdom with Work


NP Hongdae

 

Discussion Questions

 
Share Your Experiences of Work

  1. What has been your experience of work been thus far (college students: your studies)? Do you find it inspiring, energizing, frustrating, or tiring? Do you tend to do the minimum or are you more of a workaholic?
  2. Before receiving this sermon, what was your view of work? Did you see it as a curse, a means of serving your self-interests (i.e., career advancement, saving money, feeding your family), a means of engaging the church or philanthropy, a means of receiving affirmation, etc.?
  3. There are people who think work is a curse and dread it and then there are people who are obsessed with work. Can you identify any negative effects of either view?
  4.  
    The Goodness of Work

  5. The sermon covered the Greek account of creation which included a golden age when human beings and gods co-existed in peace and harmony. How did the Greeks view work as a result of this creation account? As you glance over Genesis 2:2, 1:31, 2:8, 2:6, and 1:28, how is the Greek account of creation different from the Genesis account?
  6. Read aloud this quote from Tim Keller:
    “The fact that God put work in paradise is startling to us because we so often think of work as a necessary evil or even punishment. Yet we do not see work brought into our human story after the fall of Adam, as part of the resulting brokenness and curse; it is part of the blessedness of the garden of God.” [1]

  7. Work is fundamental to God’s design of mankind. Read aloud this quote from Tim Keller:
    “Work is as much a basic human need as food, beauty, rest, friendship, prayer, and sexuality; it is not simply medicine but food for our soul. Without meaningful work we sense significant inner loss and emptiness. People who are cut off from work because of physical or other reasons quickly discover how much they need work to thrive emotionally, physically, and spiritually… The loss of work is deeply disturbing because we were designed for it… According to the Bible, we don’t merely need the money from work to survive; we need the work itself to survive and live fully human lives.” [2]

    Do you know of anyone who could not work for a prolonged period of time and what effect it had on them? As our church community is renewed to uphold a more biblical, positive view of work, what effects can this have toward our future?

  8.  
    The Limits of Work

  9. Read Exodus 20:9 together. What are the two components of this commandment?
  10. We often think that God commanded a weekly Sabbath rest so we can rest and recharge but Pastor Christian argued that there are purposes much deeper than that. Read aloud this quote from Josef Pieper, 20th century German Catholic philosopher:
    “Leisure is not the mere absence of work, but an attitude of mind or soul in which you are able to contemplate and enjoy things as they are in themselves, without regard to their value or their immediate utility.”

    Why does God put limits on our work and why is it important to take time for leisure, rest, and Sabbath delight?

  11. Read aloud this quote from Tim Keller:
    “Work is not all there is to life… If you make any work the purpose of your life – even if that work is church ministry – you create an idol that rivals God. Your relationship with God is the most important foundation for your life, and indeed it keeps all the other factors – work, friendships and family, leisure and pleasure – from becoming so important to you that they become addicting and distorted.”

  12. In light of your experiences and views of work, how did this sermon challenge or encourage you?

 
Homework

  • Make a list of 3 things you’re thankful for at your current workplace (or classroom), make a list of 3 people in your vicinity whose friendships you’d like to invest in, and a list of 3 things you can do for its pure enjoyment (leisure). Bring it with you next week and share with the group.

 

Footnotes
  1. Tim Keller, Every Good Endeavour, p. 37.
  2. Tim Keller, Every Good Endeavour, p. 37-38.

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