Working for Jesus (Bob Calder)

Worship on the Lord’s Day
10:00 am September 05, 2021
Online & Onsite (Mixed Presence) Gathering as a Worshipping Community
Led by the Rev. Bob Calder
Music director: Binu Kapadia
Elder: Jane de Caen
Children’s Time: The Rev. Bob Calder

We gather to worship God

Music prelude

L: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you
P: and also with you

Lighting of the Christ candle

Welcome and announcements

Silent preparation for worship

Opening words
L: Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth
P: God’s steadfast love endures forever
L:  Lift up your hearts!
P: We lift them up to the Lord!

Opening praise: Here I am to worship

Light of the world, You step down into darkness.
Opened my eyes let me see.
Beauty that made this heart adore you
Hope of a life spent with you.

Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that you’re my God,
You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy,
altogether wonderful to me.

King of all days, oh so highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above.
Humbly you came to the earth you created.
All for love’s sake became poor.

Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that you’re my God,
You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy,
altogether wonderful to me.

Songwriter: Tim Hughes © 2000 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) Reprinted with permission under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI

Call to worship

L: Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and heavy laden,
P: And I will give you rest.”
L: We come in the name of the Spirit, resting from our labors,
P: Let us worship God!

Prayers of approach and confession

Holy God of Joy, we rejoice in the reality of who you are. We live within the joy of your love for us.

Our contentment comes and goes.

Our happiness ebbs and flows.

Our feelings depend upon our circumstances, our physical health, our brain chemistry.

But our joy is deeply rooted in our identity as your beloved children.

And for this we give you thanks and praise.

Lord, you know how often we have resented our work;
Forgive our ingratitude for having work.
And you know how often we have neglected using our capabilities;
Forgive our poor stewardship of time.
And you know how often we’ve wasted time on the job;
Forgive our heart’s insincerity.
And you’ve seen how shoddy some of our work has been;
Forgive our carelessness.2

And you’ve heard how often we’ve said we can’t wait to get out;
Forgive us, Lord, for not working with all our heart.
And you know that we’ve often worked only to please others;
Forgive us for failing to remember it is you we are serving.

Hear our prayer, and in the mercy of Jesus Christ,
cleanse us for his name’s sake. Amen.

Response: Lord Jesus Christ, son of God

Assurance of God’s love: God is tender-hearted and gracious to all and has forgiven you through your faith in Jesus Christ. Trust in God’s grace and be kind to one another, forgiving others as God has forgiven  you.

Response: Be still and know

We listen for the voice of God

Song: Can a little child like me  vs 1,4

Can a little child like me thank the Father fittingly?
Yes, O yes! be good and true, patient, kind in all we do;
love the Lord and do our part; learn to say with all your heart, Refrain

Refrain: Saviour, we thank you!
Spirit, we thank you!
Great God our Maker,
we thank you!

For the laughter for the tear,
for the love that meets us here,
for the lessons of our youth, honor, gratitude, and truth,
for the great gift of your Son, for your work in us begun.      Refrain

Words: Mary Dodge © The Presbyterian Church in Canada, 1997 Music: W.K. Basswood © Public domain. Reprinted with permission under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI 

Children’s Time                   
The Lord’s Prayer

Song: Who made the earth vs 1,3,6

Who made the earth and the heavens? Mighty hands!
Who made the man and the woman? Awesome hands!
Who made the tree and the garden? Loving hands!
Who’s got the world in mighty hands?

Who made the swan and the swallow? Mighty hands!
Who made the wind and the willow? Awesome hands!
Who makes today and tomorrow? Loving hands!
Who’s got the world in mighty hands?

You’ve got the whole world, Mighty God!
You’ve got the whole world, Awesome God!
You’ve got the whole world, Loving God!
You’ve got the whole world in your hands!

Words and music Andrew Donaldson © Andrew Donaldson 1997,1996 License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE.

Scripture: Colossians 3:22-4:1 (NRSV)

Response: Glory to the Father            

Message: “Working for Jesus”

During the middle 1800’s there was a popular set of rules for the office that showed up in one form or another. They all resembled something like these which were posted in Zachary Geiger’s establishment:

  1. Office employees will daily sweep the floors, dust the furniture, and showcases. Each day they must fill lamps, clean chimneys, & turn wicks
  2. Windows must be washed once a week.
  3. Each clerk will bring in a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s business.
  4. Make your pens carefully. You may whittle your nibs to your individual taste.
  5. This office will open at 7:00 am and close at 9:00 p.m. daily, except on Sunday, on which day it will remain closed. Each employee is expected to spend Sunday by attending church and contributing liberally to the cause of the Lord.
  6. Men employees will be given an evening off each week for courting purposes, or 2 evenings a week if they go regularly to church.
  7. After an employee has spent 13 hours of labor in the office, he should spend the rest of his time reading the Bible, any other good books while contemplating the glories and building up of the kingdom.
  8. Finally, The employee who has performed his labors faithfully and without fault for a period of 5 years in my service, and who had been thrifty and attentive to his religious duties, is looked upon by his fellowmen as a substantial and law-abiding citizen, will be given an increase of 5 cents per day in his pay providing a just return in profits from the business permits it.

How many of you would enjoy having a job like that? How about those on zoom?

Can you imagine working under those conditions?

Can you imagine being happy in that type of atmosphere?

Could you imagine living in a world where you had no choice in the matter?


Well, back in the days of the Colossian church, that’s pretty much how the “workforce” lived. The primary workforce was composed of slaves:

  • People who were owned by others,
  • Who had no personal property
  • Who had no control of their destiny
  • Who did pretty much what the slave owners desired.

Today, we don’t have slaves and slave owners, but we have something that many believe is a lot like it.

It’s called labor and management.

You go into some work-places and you might hear people talking about their bosses as being “slave drivers” and you might run across people in management who think of their employees as little more than slave labor.

While there are distinct differences between the life of a slave and that of a laborer in our day, the principles that Paul laid down for the behavior of workers and owners still holds true for bosses and laborers today.

I. First – let’s consider the owner, or the boss, or the person in management.

To those Paul writes: “provide your (employees) with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven” Colossians 4:1

The problem that Paul is addressing in Colossae is that of the slave owner (manager or the boss) who forgets the value of the people for whom he is responsible. Paul is warning the person in authority to be careful how they treat their employees. Even today, there is a tendency (for some in positions of authority) to look down on those they supervise.

They say things like: “I’m the supervisor… I’m the boss…” meaning others are just common laborers.

When the book of Colossians was written, slaves were the work force.

And this work force was scorned by many in their society.
Both Greek and Roman societies treated slaves as personal property, basically nothing more than living tools.
Paul is writing to the Christian employers of his day and warning them: “Don’t you dare behave like that!”… because – as far as God was concerned not only was it not true (these workers were important, especially to God),

BUT it was also a dangerous attitude.

Paul says: Remember, “you (employers) also have a Master in heaven” Colossians 4:1

Paul advises Christian bosses: “provide your (employees) with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.” Colossians 4:1

What about you?

If you are a boss or a manager?

How do you treat other people?

Do you look at them as equals, as people who are important to God?

As we go through life, whether we are “bosses” or not, we need to treat others with dignity, fairness and respect.

II. On the other side of the coin, the working person might say: “if my boss treated me the way that Paul describes, I could respect him a lot more”…

“if my boss treated me with respect, I’d work harder”…

“if my boss was fair to me, then I’d even come in early and work longer hours”

“BUT he’s such a jerk… I hate going in and even being near him.”
Sorry slaves… (I mean) those of you who work in a factory or office or wherever… God holds you accountable too.

To you God says this: “obey your earthly (employers) in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
We are ALWAYS to work as if we were working for Jesus … obeying our employers as if we were doing the job for God Himself.

  • This includes not only the work we do for pay but the volunteer activities we undertake.
  • We should always strive to be the hardest working and volunteering people in our area, to be a vital cog in the wheel of life.
  • Our work should always be the best we can do
  • Someone has said our conduct should always be like that of person entering worship.


If we are going to work and volunteer for Jesus, then every day is a day of worship.

  • This can be a time to declare to our God the love we have for Him.
  • And as a result, each day at work or in the community should be filled with anticipation and excitement.

Because this is a time of worship for us we should be finding ways to be worshipful:
We should be building up the people around us.
We dare not be guilty of griping or complaining.

You see, how we conduct ourselves at work or in  the community or at church is a reflection of our faith.

We witness by how we behave.

We show that our faith makes a difference in how we live our lives.

BUT, if we behave like unbelievers… why would anybody want to be like us?

Why would anybody want to follow the Saviour we follow?

III. But, you might be thinking: do you mean that I have to behave this way even when my boss or those I volunteer with are harsh and ungodly?

Yes, those are the people who need your witness the most!

Those harsh ungodly men and women need Jesus.

Your witness on the job or on a community committee, may be the only chance they have to see Christianity in action.

While this applies directly to those who are employed, I see this as applying to people on volunteer committees, in community groups where people volunteer, and even at church!

When you are asked to do something for the church do you grumble and complain?

Do you think you are badly done by?

As the chair of a committee do you expect everyone to always follow your orders or do you cut them some slack and allow them to be creative?
Until your new minister comes you may have an opportunity to serve the Lord in a special way.

Conclusion: The sign in the window read: “Boy Wanted”.

Young John Simmons, though he was lazy, saw his opportunity and applied.

He was quickly hired by elderly Mr. Peters. The pace was leisurely so he enjoyed the job.

Toward the middle of the afternoon, he was sent up to the attic — a dingy place full of cobwebs and infested with mice.

“You will find a long, deep box there,” explained Mr. Peters.

“Please sort out the contents and see what should be saved.”

John was disappointed.

It was a large container, and there seemed to be nothing in it but old junk.

After a few minutes he went back to the ground floor.

Asked by the proprietor if he had completed his work, he replied, “No, sir, it was dark and cold up there and I didn’t think it was worth doing.”

At closing time he was paid and told not to return.
The next morning the sign “Boy Wanted” appeared in its usual place.

Crawford Hill was the next to be employed.

When he was asked to tidy up the same box, however, he spent hours separating the usable nails and screws from the things to be discarded.

Suddenly he raced down the stairs all excited.

“At the very bottom I found this!” he exclaimed, holding up a 20-dollar bill.

At last the store owner had discovered a conscientious boy to whom he could entrust his business when he retired.

Years later Mr. Peters said, “This young man, who is now my successor, found his fortune in a junk box!”

Friends, we must never lose sight of the fact that we honour God by what we do, however meager or menial, however great or glorious we may perceive it.

Song: We are God’s people  vs 1,4

We are God’s people, the chosen of the Lord,
born of the Spirit, established by the word;
our cornerstone is Christ alone,
and strong in him we stand:
oh let us live transparently
and walk heart to heart and hand in hand.

We are a temple, the Spirit’s dwelling place,
formed in great weakness, a cup to hold God’s grace;
alone we die, for on its own
each ember loses fire:
yet joined in one the flame burns on
to give warmth and light, and to inspire.

Words: Bryan Leech © 1976 Fred Bock Music Co. Music Johannes Brahms © 1976 Fred Bock Music Co. Reprinted with permission under One License, License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

We respond to serve God

Prayer of Gratitude

Great God who calls us to follow Jesus,
You delight in curiosity, invention, ingenuity.
We give you thanks for those minds that are able to bend and flex despite restrictions of Covid-19,as they strive to help us deal with the pandemic.
We thank you for neighbours willing to talk across fences rather than face to face,
those who call from balconies, and wave through windows.
We are thankful that there are strangers who carefully keep their distance on footpaths.
There are those who earn our trust and try to allay our fears of Covid-19 and we give you thanks for them.
We give you praise be for those who signal love and human warmth in a time when we must meet at a distance. We pray these prayers in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Response: Praise God from whom all blessing grow

Reflection on giving: We have been giving faithfully even though there is no offering plate has been passed in the sanctuary since March 15, 2020. It may be a while before some of us return to the sanctuary, but we are all committed continuing the ministry and mission that define Dayspring – using the various ways described on the screen and in Dayspring Weekly News. Thank you all for your contribution, which comes freely from hearts full of gratitude.

For those of you in the sanctuary, if you have offering envelops with you— simply put them in the offering plate at the back of the sanctuary as you leave the service today.

Prayers for others and ourselves

O God, we are a restless people. We fret and stew about life’s many tasks. We forget to look to you for our provisions and for direction in our lives.

As we are buffeted by the winds of life that blow from many directions, take us above the battle that we may glide in the steady flow of your grace. We know that if we but ask, you will provide the forgiveness and the joy that comes from living within your will.

As summer comes to a close, we ask a special blessing on those returning to school. Our children need special graces in these troubling times. We trust them to your care, especially as Covid-19 continues to swirl around us.

We also ask that you bless the work of adults who now return from vacations to a more intense period of labor. Even though it is often difficult to walk in another’s shoes, may those who labor and those who manage seek to understand each other and their needs.

Some of us are retired from our jobs and professions. Bless the work that we do as volunteers, grandparents, and participants in the creation of better lives for all. Our work is also important. We are aware of those who cannot participate in many activities because of illness or advanced age. Their lives are also important. Provide them a healing grace and a hope for tomorrow.

We would especially remember those who have serious illness. Hold their hands as they travel the difficult paths of pain, debilitation, and possible death.

We remember their families and the care-givers who need your supporting grace.

We want to thank you for all you have given us. We are a people who have been richly blessed. Teach us to share our Spiritual and physical wealth with a world that is in great need.

I pray for Dayspring as they search for the minister that you have chosen for them. Help them to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Give them a vision for the future as they continue to serve you.

We pray for the people of Afghanistan. Keep them safe during these difficult days.

Most of all we thank you for caring enough to send us your very own Son, who set out on a path that led to his death and resurrection. He encourages us follow him down that same path. We tend to stray from that path, and yet your grace gently pulls us back. Hold our hands as this Fall we boldly take the next step on our journey.

Hear us now as we bring to you our personal prayers in a moment of silent prayer.

May the Holy Spirit touch all of us today. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour, Master and Lord. Amen.


Friends, this is not a Dayspring Table.
Neither is it a Presbyterian Table.
It is a Table for all humankind – for men and women, girls and boys, who are seeking, or have found, a relationship with Jesus Christ, whose Table this is.
Jesus is in charge of this Table and Jesus says that all are welcome.

Song: Let us break bread together

Let us break bread together on our knees;
let us break bread together on our knees;
when I fall down on my knees with my face to the rising sun,
O Lord, have mercy on me.

Let us drink wine together on our knees;
let us drink wine together on our knees;
when I fall down on my knees with my face to the rising sun,
O Lord, have mercy on me.

Let us praise God together on our knees;
let us praise God together on our knees;
when I fall down on my knees with my face to the rising sun,
O Lord, have mercy on me.

Words and Music: African-American spiritual; public domain

Affirmation of our faith: The Apostles’ Creed

Communion Prayer

As we partake of this bread and wine, we honor Creator and creation.

As we bless and share these gifts, we celebrate the Table fellowship of Jesus.

All are made worthy by Jesus – adults (old and young and in between), teenagers, children.  All are welcome!

As we receive the fruits of Spirit, we celebrate the communion and community of all humankind.

Creator, Christ, and Spirit dance as one. So may it always be.

And now we pray …

O God, we give you thanks and praise.

You brought the universe into being, instilled all creation with life, and shaped us humans as Your people.

In Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life and the True Vine, You feed us with the Word. And You nourish us with Your Love poured out in abundance upon us.

O present Spirit, help us recognize the risen Christ in the breaking of the bread.

Feed the world and us with this bread.

Bring joy with this wine.

May Bread and Wine be leaven, salt, and life in us – a community of faith strengthened by this symbolic meal.

We pray in the name of Jesus who came among us – a deep mystery of faith.

Come, Holy One, come.

Bless and inspire this community of faith and service.

Bless and inspire our lives, that justice and love may be the measure of our individual and community witness.

Sharing of the Elements

The Bread
Because there is one bread,
we who are many are one body,
for we all partake of the one bread. I Cor. 10:17.
When we break the bread,
it is a sharing in the body of Christ. I Cor. 10:16.
The Wine
When we bless the cup, it is a sharing in the blood Christ.      I The wine, like Christ’s blood, is poured out as a declaration that we can have life and have life more abundantly.

The prayer after communion

Eternal God, we give you thanks for this holy mystery in which You have given yourself to us symbolically and we have experienced your Real Presence.

We thank You for all those who have shared in this mystery, and thus in You – here and in many places through two millennia.

Grant that we may go into the world in the strength of your Spirit, to give ourselves for others in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Song: I the Lord of sea and sky

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard my people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin,
my hand will save.
I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
who will bear my light to them?
whom shall I send? Refrain

Refrain: Here I am Lord, is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people’s pain.
I have wept for love of them,
they turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my word to them,
whom shall I send? Refrain

I, the Lord of wind and flame
I will tend the poor and lame
I will set a feast for them,
my hand will save.
Finest bread I will provide,
till their hearts be satisfied.
I will give my life to them, whom shall I send?  Refrain

Words and music: D. Schutte; © D. Schutte and New Dawn Music 1983. Reprinted with permission under One License, License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

Sending out with God’s blessing
We have come to this place seeking community.
We have come to this place seeking God.
We go from this place in mission and in service.
Friends – as you go, know that God, Creator, Son and Holy Spirit, goes with you.

Response: God to enfold you

““I will give you rest””  Jesus

Bob Calder retains the copyright on all original material presented by him.

The language of the Communion liturgy, with the consent of Bob Calder, was provided by John C. Carr and is based on the Book of Common Worship of the PCC (1991) with modifications by John Carr based on various sources.

Otherwise, as far as the authors are aware, of the material presented is their own creation or is in the public domain. Unacknowledged use of copyrighted material is unintentional and will be corrected immediately upon notification being received.

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Posted in Recent Sermons.