It’s hard to turn one way or another without catching an earful of someone telling you how to relate to the concept of work. Everything from “Get a job you love doing every day” to “do whatever work you have to so you can retire early and enjoy the rest of your life.”
But work is so much bigger than the job we do to earn money. While we are doing our “day job”, we also have a job to do for God—one from which we will never retire, that has no end no matter our age, or health, or any other circumstance. What’s important about our work is that whatever we’re doing, we do it in such a way that we honor God and either simultaneously or additionally make time to fulfill the commission—the eternal work–He’s given us.
So we should often be assessing: am I paying enough attention to the work of the Lord? Am I approaching all the work of my life with balanced focus and attention to the things that matter?
I’m here to serve God. How’s that “working” out?
What is Work?
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines work (in the context of this blog) as “activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something; activity that a person engages in regularly to earn a livelihood.”
The Bible addresses the subject of work in various ways and in many different contexts, including: the work we do for God, the work we do for a living, and the kind of work we will do for eternity. The culture of biblical times was extremely labor-intensive, as there was no such concept as retirement for the common person; they worked until they were not physically able, and then their family’s livelihood was often taken up by the children and continued on into the next generation.
God is very clear about the kind of work He expects His people to do and about the attitude we should present in a working environment. This subject is extremely crucial in this day and age, when often people are trapped in jobs they dislike and wondering how to behave in a godly manner in such environments and in their relationships there. It’s important to remember that regardless of where we work or how we feel about our job, we are still representing Christ and we need to show up in a way that serves as a good witness for him.
What Does the Bible Say About Work?
1 Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Ephesians 6:5-9 – Servants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh with fear and trembling, and with a sincere heart, as you are to Christ. Be obedient not only to win their approval when they are watching you, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the depths of your soul, serving with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to people, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will be paid back the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or is free. And masters, act the same way toward them. Stop threatening them, because you know that he who is both their Lord and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with him.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 – For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
How Can I Become A Better Worker?
God makes it clear, particularly in places like Colossians and Ephesians, that in whatever work we do, we should do it as if we were personally serving Him. This doesn’t mean we should stay in abusive or dishonest work environments, but simply that when we do labor, we should remember it’s not about earning praise from or pleasing the whims of men; we should be glorifying God with our work ethic.
In the Book of Proverbs, God rebukes the mindset of a sluggard, one who does the bare minimum just to get by. In order to do work in a way that’s pleasing to God and brings honor and glory to Him, we must be willing to give our best effort and conduct ourselves in ways above reproach, regardless of how our coworkers are behaving.
Many people struggle with the feeling that if they are not doing “Christian work”—such as pastoring a church, working for a Christian ministry, or leading a worship team—then they aren’t really working for God. But God makes it clear that while He calls some to service in ministry, He also needs His people in other positions bringing His truth to all different social spheres. We can do the work of the Lord even if we are not exclusively serving His people, because working for God is a matter of attitude, not job title or position.
- For those in positions of service, God makes it clear they’re to serve with humility and sincere hearts, as if they were serving Him.
- For those in positions of leadership, God warns that they should treat those subordinate to them with humility and sincere hearts as well, because God is impartial to both positions.
Whether we work as bosses or employees, we should always represent God in just, honest, humble, and kind ways, so that He receives glory through our conduct.
How can you better serve and represent God in your job this week?