The Bible says that on the seventh day, God rested (Gen 2:1), which was a fitting conclusion to a week of work. We are made in God’s image (Gen 1:27), and if God is a worker, then so should we be as well. I know that we as a nation are increasingly becoming an entitlement society, but we who are followers of Jesus Christ must never forget that “Protestant work ethic” that built America.
Keep these six simple things in mind as you labor along:
1. Work is a gift from God. It was blessed of God for Adam in the garden before the Fall and continues to be so after the Fall although we labor with more difficulty now (Gen 2-3). God intends for our time to be spent in gainful employment. In fact, work will continue on in Heaven, I believe.
2. Work is to bring glory to God. There are so many ways to bring God glory through work, but we could sum it up with “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father,” (Col 3:17) and “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God,” (1 Cor 10:31).
3. Work is for our well-being. This is true in two ways. First, it provides for the needs of those for which we are responsible. We are to take care of those who are ours and, if possible, those who are our neighbors. Second, it keeps us from falling into sin. I think it’s important to see what God through Paul tells us the product of idleness is: aimlessly milling around accomplishing nothing, gossiping, meddling, and improper talking (1 Tim 5:13). When we do not busy ourselves with work, we are prone to sin. The truism is true: an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
4. Work is for our joy. There’s just an awesome feeling to accomplishing something. At the end of the day, it’s good to know that you have earned something and made a positive impact on society for the glory of God.
5. Work provides freedom. There are many tempted to simply live off of the government. I understand that there are people who truly must and rejoice that there is a safety net here in America, but if it is at all possible, it is better to earn a living than to be given one. Why? Because living off of the government leads to less freedom. You will only receive what the government will give you, which really isn’t much, and you’ll be restricted from actually working, leaving you only limited opportunity to improve your income. You’ll be beholden to a bureaucracy and chained to the mailbox waiting for you next check. That’s not freedom!
6. Work is connected to Christian faith. It is actually a fruit of salvation. The one who is truly saved will work if he or she is able. Therefore, to simply choose not to work when you are able is to deny the faith. Paul is emphatic, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever,” (1 Timothy 5:8).
May you seek the blessing of work unto the glory of God who gave it!