What follows is “help wanted” ad to which anyone would respond:
Executive position – job entails sitting with feet on desk from 10am – 4:30pm watching others work. Must be willing to play golf every other afternoon. Salary starts at $2000 a week. No experience necessary.
Here’s the thing. No one really has any job openings like that, but that is the job that many people want. Some even feel it is their right – as Americans – to have such a job (or one close to it).
Our culture is confused about work. Some quote…
- Thomas Edison – “Opportunity is missed by most people because it looks like work”
- Benjamin Franklin – “By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.”
- “Work fascinates me. I could sit and watch it for hours!”
- “Hard work may not kill me, but why take a chance?!”
- These are generally the same people who would… “Rather be fishing…hunting…skiing…sleeping,” etc.
There are two extremes: the workaholics who are always at work and the lazy, idle loafers who choose not to work at all. In between those two extremes is the great mass of people who work but have the wrong concept of work. Some think that work is a drudgery that must be endured; nothing joyous, just that which has to be done to pay the bills or to buy the toys that make life fun.
Please understand. Work is not one of the dirty four-letter words! While work can be viewed in a lot of ways, the Biblically Christian view should be this: I work as a way to serve and glorify God. The only way to have that view is to understand that there is no such thing as the sacred and the secular in terms of employment. Your Christian faith has sanctified every occupation. Therefore no difference exists before God between the secular and the sacred occupation.
For the Christian all of life is to be lived for God’s glory. This includes your work at home and on the job! Work is sacred in the sense that it is done to the Lord. Whether you are eating or drinking…whether you are washing dishes, scrubbing floors, taking care of children at home and maintaining the house, or whether you are in the financial marketplace doing accounting and bookkeeping, whether you are delivering mail or teaching school or driving a truck, or operating a machine, whether you are working in sales, whether you are developing a marketing strategy, or whether you are developing a potty training strategy…whatever it is that you are doing it is a service rendered to the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Work as if you were serving God, because you are! Inevitably someone will say, “You mean that washing dishes in my house is as important before God as what a pastor/missionary does?”
Yes! Before men it is not necessarily the same, but before God it is, for it is your service rendered to His glory. Colossians 3:22-24:
“Servants, [employees] obey in all things your masters [employers] according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
The Lord will reward you because it is the Lord Jesus Christ whom you serve. The work you perform is rendered unto the Lord. Your service is ultimately to Him, not your boss or the organization.
For the believer, work is not just a secular job, it is a spiritual duty. The believer is serving the Lord with his attitude and diligence. The believer is working unto Christ’s honor and glory. You are even serving mankind because what you do provides a service to man that helps them in their life.
Christians especially need to understand the value of hard work. The Bible teaches the value of work. The first worker recorded in the Bible is none other than God Himself:
- Genesis 2:2 – “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which God created and made.” God worked.
- John 5:17 – “My father works hitherto, and I work.”
- John 9:4 – “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work”
- Jesus worked with His hands, as well as with His heart. Jesus said in John 17:4 – “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”
God has worked in creation. God has worked in redemption and as the little chorus with the big truth states: “He’s still workin’ on me, to make me what I ought to be.”
There was work in the Garden of Eden. Work was not a penalty of The Fall. Work was not a curse of sin; before sin invaded the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve were commanded,
- Genesis 1:28 – “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea…fowl of the air…every living thing that moveth”
- Genesis 2:15 – “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it”
We will work even after Christ returns according to Isaiah 65:21-23. We will work in eternity. Eternity will not be perpetually fishing and napping! We will build houses and plant vineyards, but all of the toil of work that has been part of the curse will be taken away. You will not grow weary. The fruits of your labor will be yours to enjoy, and it will not be taken away.
Work was not a result of The Fall. God is a worker. God instituted work. Work is noble and proper. Christians should regard work as a creation mandate, as a component of the image of God, as a natural law invested with inherent dignity. God’s design is for man to work, and we work to His praise (Ephesians 4:28).
The Bible teaches the value and importance of hard work (2 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Timothy 5:18). Work is good! Laziness is foolishness. Work is good, and our work should praise and glorify God. The Proverbs have a lot to say about work and how essential a good work ethic is to a Godly character. The Proverbs illustrate the goodness of work by pointing out the foolishness of laziness. More about that next week, but until then read these Proverbs 6:6-11; 10:4, 26; 12:24; 13:4; 15:19; 19:15; 20:4; 26:13-16.