Over a 50-year span, the average American spends approximately 100,000 hours working.
Unfortunately, millions of Christians are duped into believing that there isn’t the slightest connection between what they do all day and what they believe God wants to accomplish on this Earth. Nothing could be further from the truth. Work is not something we do apart from God. Work is not something beneath God’s dignity or concern. Not only did God ordain work itself, but your work matters to God.
We find at the beginning of the book of Genesis that God created man in His image as a worker.
The Genesis account of mankind ruling over the other creatures, subduing the creation and eating from the produce of the earth all point to man as a worker. As a human created in God’s image, you are inherently significant, and when you work, you are doing something very Godlike. There are very clear guidelines in God’s instruction manual, the Bible, that tell us how we are expected to work as followers of Jesus Christ.
Work unto the Lord
We are actually serving the Lord in our work; we are not serving people. In essence, we work for the Lord, and we perform for an audience of one – the one true God. We are called to take literally the principle of work in Colossians 3:23-24: “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.
It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” The key is that we look to the Lord for our rewards, and in doing so we find His standards of conduct are so much higher than man’s expectations that we surpass our bosses’ expectations every time.
Being God’s ambassador on the job is not difficult; it’s impossible with our individual strength. Only by yielding our rights to Christ can the world really get a glimpse of Him through us. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).
The only way a Christian can avoid the traps of ego, pride and resentment is to know that God is in total control of all circumstances, and strive to please Him.
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). In Scripture, hard work and diligence are encouraged; laziness is condemned. “He also who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys” (Proverbs 18:9).
However, hard work must be balanced by other primary priorities of life: our relationships with Christ, our spouse, and our family. If work interferes with any of these three relationships, you are working too much. Balance can be defined as the ability to maintain equilibrium, to estimate the relative importance or value of something. My wife Julie and I have found that it takes a constant effort to balance our lives and keep the pendulum from swinging wildly past center.
The Bible is very clear about our responsibility in the areas of work, faith and family. For example, Deuteronomy 6:6-8 states that I am to teach my children as I sit in my house, as I walk by the way and as I lie down and rise up. Sitting, walking, lying down and rising up require a lot of time!
In Proverbs 22:6, we are told to “Train up a child in the way he should go.” The Bible is also clear about our responsibility to provide for our families. The apostle Paul said if we do not provide for our families, we are “worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8), and if we do not work we should not eat (2 Thess. 3:10). The key is that we spend the time carefully planning each of these important areas of life so that we are not out of balance.
Work with integrity
Integrity includes honoring our commitments every time. If we guarantee delivery on a product within 48 hours, but it takes a week for the customer to receive the shipment, our promises soon lose their value. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to undermine confidence in the entire organization if, as individuals, we fail to honor our pledges. As Moses instructed the people, “When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said” (Numbers 30:2 NIV).
The same principle of honoring commitments applies to our responsibility as employees. If we promise our boss that a report will be turned in on Monday, but the deadline slides on by, we lose credibility and create an element of doubt about our integrity. We become what the apostle Paul calls “mere talkers.” We’d all be better off not making promises than making vows that we cannot or do not keep.
Everything about you is to be involved in loving God. It makes sense that your work must be involved as well. Just think about how much of your heart, soul, and energy go into your work.
Imagine, then, as you expend yourself at that task, being able to say, “I’m here to do something God wants done, and I intend to do it because I love Him.”
Rob West is the Training and Communications Director for Kingdom Advisors, a non-profit Life that exists to equip and disciple Christian financial advisors to integrate their faith and profession. Please send questions and comments to [email protected].
The information in this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute advice. You should not rely on any information in this article to make (or refrain from making) any decision or take (or refrain from taking) any action.