BEING A GOOD WORKER
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 9:10; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:22–15
Memory verse: Colossians 3:23
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters."
Bring to class a one-litre container, a half–litre container, a one-tea cup measure, and a two-tea cup measure for use in an object lesson. You will also need a large bucket of water.
Begin this week’s lesson by filling the one-litre container with water. Tell the students that the capacity of the container is one litre. Next show the students the half–litre container. Hold the one litre container over the bucket of water and pour all the water from the one–litre container into the half–litre container. As the half–litre container runs over, tell the students that the half–litre container will not hold as much as the one–litre container because it has a smaller capacity.
Hold up the one–teacup measure and the two–teacup measure. Fill the two–teacup measure with water. Pour its contents into the two–teacup measure. Show the students that the two–teacup measure is only half full because it has a larger capacity than the one–teacup measure.)
(Stress to the students that people are somewhat like these containers. People who do not do their best at a job are like pouring one–teacup of water into a two-tea cup measure. Hold up the two–teacup measure as you speak. Explain that such people have the capacity to do much more than they do. Other people are like the half–litre container. As you speak, fill the one–litre container again. Then pour its contents into the half-litre container. Explain that such people try to do more than they are capable of doing. This often leaves them feeling stressed and frustrated.
Tell the students that this week’s lesson is about doing things at our full capacity. When we learn to do this, we can avoid a lot of frustration, both spiritually and socially.
Hearing God’s Word
(Begin the lesson by asking the students to name some of the things they feel they do well. Then ask them to share some of the things they feel they do not do well.)
Ask: “Do you work harder at the things you do well or at the things you feel you do poorly?” (The answers will probably vary. Some work very hard at the things they do well, but others do not work up to their potential; simply because the job is easy for them.
Others work very hard at things they feel they do poorly because they want to do better. Still others don’t even try in areas they feel they do poorly because they don’t see any use in it. Apply these attitudes to various subjects in school and note the students’ reactions.)
Giving Our Best Effort in All We Do
A young man was walking along a country road, whistling carelessly. A boy hoeing weeds beside the road said, “Is that the best you can whistle?”
The young man stopped, grinned, and replied. “No, but can you beat it?”
The boy said he could and proceeded to demonstrate it. When he finished, he said, “Now, see if you can beat that.”
The young man whistled again, much better this time. “How do you like that?” he asked.
“Much better!” the boy exclaimed. “But if you can whistle that way, why were you satisfied to whistle so poorly?”
That’s probably the way God feels about us sometimes (Ask someone to read Colossians 3:23.)
The words “whatever you do” (NIV) in our memory verse mean just that. It includes everything we do 24 hours a day. (Repeat the verse together several times. Then ask a student to read 1 Corinthians 10:31.) This verse uses the same phrase but adds something to emphasise what God is saying to us.
Ask: “What does this verse add to the ‘whatever you do’ of Colossians 3:23?” (Allow responses.)
Nothing could be more ordinary than eating or drinking. How does God want us to do these things? (Instruct the students to compare Colossians 3:23 and 1 Corinthians 10:31. Write “with all your heart” and “for the glory of God” (NIV) on the chalkboard. Then ask someone to read Ecclesiastes 9:10. Write the phrase “with all your might” (NIV) on the chalkboard. If possible, read the first five words of Ecclesiastes 9:10 from The Living Bible. Opposite the words “with all your might” write the phrase “do well.”)
Doing Our Work for God
According to our memory verse we are to do everything “as working for the Lord” (NIV). If we do everything as if we are doing it for God himself, we will always do our best. The Bible says God will be glorified because of this. That is because when Christians always do their best, God is honoured and their lives become effective witnesses for Him. People notice Christians’ dedication.
Sometimes Christians make the mistake of dividing their lives into two categories. In one part they think of all the ordinary, everyday things they do. In the other part they place spiritual, church-related, Christian duties they call “God’s work.” They often feel the ordinary tasks are not very important. They are sometimes tempted to do less than their best in these areas. But God uses people in all kinds of situations to bring glory to Him.
We should put the same effort into a job we do for someone else as we would in doing it for God. Approach your tasks as if it was God Himself, not just another human being, who gave you your instructions. Though we might work for men, we will receive our reward from God. He sees the effort we put into our tasks. (Ask someone to read Colossians 3:23–25.)
Rewards for Doing Our Best
There are earthly rewards for doing our best. But there are heavenly rewards too.
Ask: “What will our reward in heaven be?” (Allow responses.)
We may not be able to do things as well as others, but God knows when we have done our best and He will reward us.
The Bible does not leave any doubt about how we should live our lives—with the right attitude and with our best effort. But sometimes knowing what we should do and actually doing it are two different things. Sometimes we need some practical help.
Here is a boy we will call Job and a girl we will call Ruth. They have jobs to do. Not all of them are particularly enjoyable.
Ask: “What can Job and Ruth do that will help them get their work done in a way that is pleasing to God?” (Let your group make some suggestions.)
Ways to Help Us Do Our Best
Quote this week’s memory verse. This helps us keep the right attitude, even though the job may not be much fun. When we remember we are doing things as if we were working for God Himself —because we really are —it makes the work seem much more important. Sing while you work. Singing always seems to lift our spirits. It gets our minds off what we are doing and onto something happy. Make a game of the job. Work goes much quicker that way. For example, see how many steps you take as you vacuum the carpet, or which bush holds the most beans ready to be picked.
Keep positive thoughts. Thinking things such as: “Thank You, God, that I am able to see and hear this little sister I am baby-sitting,” or “I am really improving the looks of this yard” are two suggestions. It also helps to recognize some of the “enemies” of doing our best.
Ask: “What might some of these enemies be?” (Allow discussion.)
Laziness, indifference, bad attitudes, and procrastination—putting things off until later —are all potential enemies good workers must fight.
Ask: “How can we fight them?” (Allow responses.)
Recognising Our Potential
One important idea we need to consider has to do with the word “potential”. You may not know what it means, but we all have it. Potential is not accomplishments or developed skills. Potential is promise or possibility. A person who has potential has the power to improve.
God expects us to develop ourselves the best we can. I might work hard at music lessons and never become a great musician. Eve might do her best at painting and never win first prize. Adam might put all his effort into math and still earn C’s. Why is this? It is because God has given different talents and abilities to each of us. Our memory verse does not say, “Whatever you do, do it better than anyone else.” The Christian is asked only to do the best he can with the abilities God has given him. You may not have the ability to run fast enough to win the 50-kilometre dash, but God wants you to run the best you can in it. It doesn’t matter if you win it; it matters if you do your best. When we are faithful to do our best, God will be pleased and our lives will serve as witnesses for Him.
Accepting God’s Word
Explain that God is interested in our daily tasks because He is personally interested in us. He valued us so much He gave His Son that we might have eternal life with Him.
The psalmist David exclaimed, “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” (Psalm 5:3).
This morning, O Lord, I come before You with an important request – for Jesus to be introduced adequately to the Wolof people. Many believers have prayed and gone to speak with them, and some Wolof have heard and believed. Thank You for these precious believers.
Still, more than 99 percent of this tribe remains untouched by the gospel message and lost in their sins. Lord God Almighty, I lay the following requests before You:
- Soften Wolof resistance to the gospel
- Strengthen Wolof believers’ resolve to preach the gospel
- Move by Your Holy Spirit across the Wolof homeland, convicting them of sin and creating a hunger in their hearts for an intimate relationship with You
- Make messengers from other people groups available to be witnesses among the Wolof
- Work with the messengers of truth, validating Your message with indisputable evidence – signs and wonders confirming Your Word.
Lord, the requests are now before You and I wait in expectation of the many Wolof who will accept You as their Lord and Saviour. Amen and Amen!
Study 15 | Jesus is Worthy/Witnessing | africaatts.org/go-teach