As Americans enjoy this Labor Day holiday away from work, it occurs to me that work is one of the most misunderstood concepts we face as adults. Most of us will dedicate more time and energy working than any other single endeavor in our lifetime. And yet, I find that most people don’t understand the biblical concepts behind it.
There are three basic purposes for work:
1. Work is a GIFT.
Some people think of work as punishment – something we have to do. But work is a privilege, it’s something we get to do. God instituted work in the garden, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15, NIV)
How you view your work will determine how you do at work.
The Bible says, “The diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work.” (Proverbs 12:24, The Message)
If you are healthy enough to work and God has blessed you with a job, then you should show more gratitude than attitude.
2. Work is for GAIN.
The greatest self-esteem booster on the planet is when we earn our own living. The Bible says, “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done…” (Galatians 6:4, NLT)
When we work hard for our wages, we earn more than just a paycheck, we build dignity and self-respect. Paul said, “Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”” (2 Thessalonians 3:10, NLT)
Perhaps the greatest disservice we could possibly do to a human being is to pay them not to work. Again, Paul said, “Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” (Romans 12:11, NLT)
God has ordained the sacred system of provision through production.
3. Work is for GROWTH.
Just as family is the environment where we grow relationally, work is the environment where we grow vocationally. The word vocation comes from the Latin for “calling.” God’s purpose for us goes way beyond punching a clock. He wants our lives to make an impact. In order to use us He first has to grow us. That’s why our workplace is not just a job, it’s a lab for growth. God grows us in the workplace using these three tools:
How many people run from job to job trying to find the perfect workplace when often it’s not the environment that needs changing? People tend to find that they are working in the kind of job that they have earned. The Bible says, “Do you see any truly competent workers? They will serve kings rather than working for ordinary people.” (Proverbs 22:29, NLT)
A Christian should be the most valuable employee in a workplace.
While everyone else is working for the weekend, God wants us to work to be like Him.
So as you enjoy this holiday, take a minute to thank God for allowing you to work and provide for your self and your family and commit to become a better Christian because of your job and not in spite of it. Remember, Who’s your real boss:
“Whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly as though you were working for your real master and not merely for humans. You know that your real master will give you an inheritance as your reward. It is Christ, your real master, whom you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23–24, GW)