Here is the outline of a sermon I preached at Park Hill church of Christ in Fort Smith, AR on April 7, 2013 …
1. My sons, assisted by my wife, gave me a very thoughtful (and much needed, I might add) gift for Fathers’ Day last year – a digital picture frame
a. Linda took a great deal of time to load many, many pictures onto the frame
b. She created a slide that starts the series of pictures (Slide 1)
2. This thought (“Why you do … what you do) gave me the idea for this lesson this morning – a spiritual application
a. As Christians, we engage in many activities,
b. We “go through the motions”
c. We may lose sight of WHY we do what we do
3. Consider with me 3 areas in which you must remember why you do … what you do (Slide 2):
a. In Business/School
b. In Church
c. In Family
I. In Business/School – Temptation to compromise Personal Values
A. I had the opportunity last week to share this message with a group of college seniors who will be graduating from the Florida College Business program next month (Slide 3). I told them, “As you prepare to take your place in the business world, understand that you are entering a challenging place. Your faith may be challenged. You may be challenged to compromise your personal values. You must apply Biblical qualities of character which promote high levels of individual integrity. “I also told them, “You must understand the role that your personal values should play in your decisions as business managers. It is very important that you continue to exert your personal values in the decisions that you take part in. Stand for what is right! Have your conviction reaffirmed by the positive examples of the godly leaders that you have seen at Florida College.”
B. The corporate scandals of 2001 – 2002, that included WorldCom and Enron, revealed several weaknesses in our corporate culture (Slide 4):
1. Business leaders who appeared to be men in good standing in their communities led their companies to engage in fraudulent financial practices to disguise serious errors of judgment. Bernnie Ebbers, CEO of WorldCom, was a youth basketball coach and taught Sunday school, but when put to the test, his underlying personal value system failed him.
2. Mr. Ebbers developed a business strategy that targeted rapid growth through acquisition and merger. The financing of this rapid growth soon got him into financial trouble. He took down with him the WorldCom CFO, Comptroller and Accounting Director, as they all worked to disguise the company’s decreasing earnings in order to try to maintain the price of its stock.
3. The failings at Enron were very similar. At the end of 2001, it was revealed that it’s reported financial condition was sustained substantially by an institutionalized, systematic, and creatively planned accounting fraud, known since as the Enron scandal.
C. So is today’s business environment better because of lessons learned from these and similar business scandals early in this decade (Slide 5)? Many say no. Susanna Kim, in a Dec. 1, 2011 article posted at abcnews.com, “10 Things We Didn’t Learn From Enron Scandal” points out …
1. “… much, unfortunately, has remained the same, with new frauds and excessive risk-taking exposed all too frequently…. Conflicts of interest continue to occur… Many businesses “seem too good to be true,” and so they probably are. A business should make sense. If a company is growing at a fantastic rate and no one can determine how they are doing it, if the cash flows do not match the profits, if it is difficult if not impossible to understand exactly how the firm makes money, if no one can understand how the company is valued – these things should raise “red flags.”
2. Regulators and the regulated continue to debate – is there too much or too little regulation? …
3. Some companies just are not transparent enough. Transparency is vital….. Peter Elkind, editor at large with Fortune magazine, says that companies must clearly disclose the risks they are taking and regulators need to require them to do so. Stephen Lubben, law professor at Seton Hall University School of Law says however that those disclosures are too burdensome and too complicated for investors to understand. He prefers a simpler warning that would say something simple like, “this investment is not guaranteed; you could lose all of your money.”
4. Some companies are leveraged too highly, on the false theory that “more capital is better.” Companies are still lead by individuals with questionable personal values and those values trickle down to others in leadership positions. Preferred stockholders still get preferred treatment, companies still build fragile financial structures and those who are important still make mistakes.
D. You young people are not involved in a business environment yet, but consider the school environment in “your world.” Do you sometime lose sight of “WHY you do what you do” in school (Slide 6).
1. You may get frustrated with some of the subjects you must take – thinking they will never have any application in your life! Remember, your perspective is limited – things that you are doing now are helping prepare you for life as an adult
2. You may be tempted to “slough-off” – to give less than your best – because it does not really matter. Well, it does matter – God expects you to give your best at whatever you. There are many verses in the Bible that teaches this. Consider two of them …
a. We sing a song that is based upon Colossians 3:17 which says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
b. Consider: Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV): “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
D. What does God expect of us in our business ventures/dealings? Please consider (Slide 7):
1. 2 Cor. 6:14-18: If you are “bound together,” you must be able to exert your personal influences!
2. Prov. 6:6-11: You must be industrious, plan ahead, and whatever your hand finds to do that is good, do it with zeal and as unto the Lord!
3. Eph. 6:10-17; 1Cor. 15:58; Rev. 2:10: Stand for what is right! Don’t compromise with evil! You will receive the victory!
II. In Church (Slide 8):
A. Quarrels (1Cor 1:10-17)
1. Party spirit – who their allegiance was to – over who baptized them
2. Paul’s answer: Christ was crucified for you and it was in His name you were baptized and it was His blood that saved you from your sins
B. The Wisdom of God (1:18-31)
1. The Word of the Cross – perspective of the perishing vs. those being saved
2. The world would never come to know God of its own wisdom – it took preaching!
3. Who was called – the wise of the world or the mighty or the noble? NO – it was through the foolish, weak and base! Paul says God chose this way to shame man so that no one could boast!
C. Preaching that is:
1. Not “persuasive” words of wisdom
2. But in demonstration of Spirit and power
3. “God’s wisdom in a mystery” – not understood by rulers
4. Revealed to the apostles by God through the Spirit
D. Some may still be “infants” in Christ and still fleshly which partly explains their party spirit (3:1-9)(Slide 9)
1. Jealousy & strife among them
2. Walking like mere men
3. Workers in building churches: planters and waterers - God gives increase – workers together with God.
4. Building on the foundation – fire will test the quality of each man’s work
III. In Family:
A. My special gift for Father’s Day reinforces every day that (Slide 10) …
1. My “job” is not an “end” but rather a “means to an end”
2. My service to God, to my family and to my fellow-man is the “end”
3. Sometimes I get too wrapped up in my job, and lose sight of WHY I do … what I do.
B. I recently watched a movie that sent some compelling messages about fatherhood (Slide 11):
1. Our time is short with our children—sometimes shorter than expected—make the most of our time with them and show them the love of Christ.
2. We need to break free from past wrongs of poor or absent fathers and begin a new pattern for future generations of our family—multi-generational faithfulness. While no father on earth is perfect, there is a continual need for all of us who are fathers to repent of sins against our families—like neglect, apathy, and being a poor example and to model for them their Heavenly Father.
3. We need to decide to make a “Resolution” that we will endeavor to become the biblical fathers and husbands we need to be. In the movie, this “Resolution” was a formal document that they signed in a ceremony. Sometimes that helps add conviction and accountability to our actions.
(Adapted from http://christiananswers.net)
C. What God expects of us as fathers and husbands (Slide 12):
1. Eph. 6:4: Just as my children are expected to respect me, as their father, I am instructed not to frustrate them, but to raise them in a godly and gentle way.
2. Joshua 24:14-15: “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
3. Deut. 11:18-21: “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.
4. Eph. 6:22-33 As a husband, I am to love my wife, as Christ loved the church!
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[a] 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Conclusion (Slide 13):
1. As Christians, let’s not be guilty of simply going through the motions as we engage the activities and roles of our lives.
2. Let’s not lose sight of WHY we do what we do – In Business/School – In Church – In Family – we do it to serve God, to provide for our families, to help our fellow-man.
3. Let us fight the tendency to get too involved in the responsibilities of the moment that we neglect the preparation for the eternal.