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A Biblical Perspective of Work

I love to work, and I think it is because my father taught me how to work. My wife and I taught our three children how to work. Work is supposed to be something we enjoy.  It is surprising how many people say that they don’t like their work. I recently was told by someone that when asked by his boss what he most liked about his work, he replied, “The paycheck!” I asked him if he still had a job. He replied that he does but doesn’t enjoy it; however, it pays the bills. What a sad commentary on how many people look at work. It may be one reason we have thousands of people not working who are capable of doing so.

God saw work as useful, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Gen 2:15). Adam was delegated essential responsibilities to fulfill. The Apostle Paul said, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Col 3:23). We are supposed to put our heart and soul into our work. Solomon said that hard work brings its own reward, “He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment” (Prov 12:11).

Work is a place for us to glorify God by the excellence we put into it. It is time that Christians evaluate the quality of their work and their attitude toward work. Without realizing it, many believers are influenced by prevalent attitudes such as, “Work is a necessary evil” or “Why do I have to work when others don’t have to?” or “I am looking forward to the day I don’t have to work” spoken by a teenager.

Widespread beliefs, such as “The government should pay everyone whether they work or not,” have crept into Christian thinking or “The envy of wanting what the rich have so I won’t have to work.” These attitudes and beliefs are antithetical to biblical principles.

Work is a place for us to demonstrate our faith and principles. It is where we can strive to be creative and produce outcomes that bless others. The scientist discovers a cure for a disease, the engineer builds a bridge, the attorney defends our rights, and the soldier fights for our freedom. Nehemiah was a great planner and leader who completed a significant project of building a wall despite adversity. Moses used Holiab, a craftsman and designer (Ex 38:23), to create the tabernacle. Solomon took advantage of Huram-Abi, a man of incredible skill, to build a magnificent temple (2 Chron 2:13-14). Work has a way of bringing blessings to many people when we dedicate our energies to God’s glory.

As believers, there has never been a time when we needed Christians more to display their skills for God’s Glory; whether in public office, business, finance, science, medicine, the arts, the media, academia, the legal system, and on and on. As parents, we can inspire our children to see work as an avenue to serve God and bless their fellowmen.

Our priorities always need to be in alignment. Our primary focus is God; second is our marriage, third is our family, and then our work. If work comes before God or our marriage and family, we will pay dearly for our misaligned priorities.

In the book of Genesis, Joseph is a prime example of someone who valued his work, whether working for Potiphar or in the jailhouse or as viceroy of Egypt. He sought excellence and was successful. God will bless hard work when our heart is in the right place. I have always loved this verse from Proverbs: “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men” (Prov 22:29). God has a way of rewarding the diligent! Do your best and leave the rest in God’s hands.

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