<<employment, effort>>

From creation God purposed that humanity should work so view it as a privilege not a curse, even though sin blighted this activity, with nature pitted against humanity and labour becoming a burden instead of a joy (Gen 2:15,19,20, 3:17-19). Finding satisfaction in our work is a gift of God which requires a positive attitude from us, diligently applying ourselves to the tasks assigned – even in boring menial tasks that are not to our liking. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your ability…Do all as unto the Lord”, to whom you are ultimately accountable (Eccl 3:13, 5:19, 9:10; Eph 6:5-9; Col 3:22-25).

A job is a means to earn money by trading time and expertise while building your life and developing character. Our lives are being refined through the challenges and trials of working and

A job is where we are paid to develop character!

we also make a worthwhile contribution back into society. Aim to excel in useful employment, as it is a major avenue for gaining life skills and boosting self-esteem (Gal 6:4). Choose your career pathway carefully as the work environment will consume a vast amount of your time on earth and will become an expression of who you are (Eph 4:28; 1 Tim 6:18,19).

To become proficient workers, there must be some instruction, ranging from short on-the-job training to years of specialized tuition. All life is a learning experience, so we should be continuously upskilling as new methods arise and advances are made. Share your knowledge with others to help develop their potential and when necessary enlist their help to carry your load (Ex 18:13-26).  As we are faithful and diligent in the small, seemingly unimportant things we will gain a good reputation and be entrusted with more responsibility (Mt 25:21).

Thank God for the ability He gives you, the creativity released and the sense of worth gained. Like a human body, as each one does their part of the job we complement each other, though we will be held answerable for our own actions or lack of them (Deut 8:18; Mt 25:14-30; 1 Cor 12:12-26). Work should bring stability, structure and discipline into our lives – see it as a place of learning and ministry in itself.

The work environment, or marketplace, is the largest and most significant meeting place of Christians and non-Christians, so as we interact with this world, with its different values and in its lostness, we have a mission field. We are given the opportunity to validate Christianity by our work habits as we ‘let our light shine’ (Mt 5:16; 1 Thes 4:11,12). Am I a good advertisement for the Kingdom of God, aware that commitment, obedience and submission to authority are vital requirements in both the secular world and in God’s? Work, not just to receive a pay packet, but to ‘live out Christ’ to your work colleagues, and by friendship evangelism influence them for Christ.

Christians should always live by higher ideals and principles than the world so if you are unemployed, rather than just receiving welfare handouts, offer your services to any of the worthwhile charities that desperately need voluntary help and ‘give back’ or ‘pay forward’ to society, knowing the Bible

Do your work conscientiously as if doing it for Christ – Ephesians 6:7

states, “Do not be idle. Those who don’t work shouldn’t eat. Idleness creates busy bodies” (2 Thes 3:6,10,11).

Some biblical perspectives on work

1/. Even though Christ may return at any time we are to work diligently, knowing that nothing is done in vain. We will reap the benefit if we don’t give up as He will (impartially) judge and reward our works (Lk 19:12; 1 Cor 15:58; Gal 6:9; Col 1:10; 1 Pet 1:17; Rev 22:12).

2/. Although we can’t earn our salvation we should be working on our way to heaven, labouring at what will last for eternity by “Always giving ourselves to the work of the Lord” (Mt 6:19-21; Jn 6:27, 15:16; 1 Cor 15:58; Eph 2:8,9; Phil 2:12).

3/. Rather than working for God, which infers independence and lack of connection, work with Him in the intimacy of relationship, a closeness of co-operation and support (Mk 16:20).

4/. “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Prov 14:23). Our work should be productive and although there will be challenges these will become the means of growth and will strengthen us as we walk with integrity. Learn by your mistakes, forgive yourself and try again.  Real failures are only those from which we don’t learn or when we refuse to try again.

5/. As the pressure of work can cause people to fall away from their faith, maintain a balance between being and doing, receiving and giving out, rest and work (Lk 10:38-42).  God instructed the Israelites to work for six days, then have a day of rest devoted to Him (Ex 20:8-11; Mk 2:27,28). A workaholic spends an excessive amount of time in the areas where they consider they are successful and feel good about themselves or as a means to escape other responsibilities. Instead our lifestyle should include family and relaxation times as well as work, with God honoured in all and nothing else superseding the priority of worship and becoming like Him.

6/. We should be a worker for God but also a worshipper of God – the two are interwoven so make work your worship and worship while you work. Faith and good works must function together (Jas 2:14-17,24).

The work of God

1/. When Jesus said, “I must do…and finish, the work God sent me to do”, He was referring to destroying the work of Satan and providing the way of salvation thus bringing glory to God (Jn 4:34, 5:17,36, 9:4, 17:4; 1 Jn 3:8). Paul said, “I want to complete the work God has given me” and at the end of his life he declared, “I have finished the race” (Act 20:24; 2 Tim 4:7). We are privileged to participate in the work of God – bringing His kingdom to fruition – and we can depend on Him for enabling to stay the course.

2/. Christ’s earthly ministry of revealing the Kingdom of God was mainly related to people’s physical bodies and confined to Judea but this was only preliminary to His great work upon the cross, redeeming sinners from death (Jn 17:4; 19:30). Jesus also said we too would do such works, and even greater (Jn 14:12)! His mandate to believers was to preach the gospel of salvation throughout the world (sometimes with thousands becoming Christ followers in a single day), along with seeing miracles performed in His name (Mt 28:19,20; Mk 16:15-18; Act 1:8, 2:41, 4:4, 10:38). Modern communication and technology has greatly aided in the spread of the gospel and enabled the one message to be proclaimed in a multitude of places at the same time.

3/. “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me…do not abandon the works of your hands…We are God’s workmanship” (Ps 138:8; Eph 2:10). Christ who began a good work in us will continue by His mighty power to transform our life from sinfulness and selfishness to be more like Jesus, a vessel useful

Am I committed to fulfilling the task God has uniquely chosen me for?

for God’s work as we choose to walk with Him and live out His life (Rom 8:29; Eph 3:20; Phil 1:6, 2:13; 2 Tim 2:20,21; Heb 13:21; Jas 1:22-25).

See also: ability, authority, being and doing, burn out, character, employment, good works, idleness, job (work), relaxation, rest, self-esteem, stress, Sunday, volunteer.