The Christian and Work



The Christian and Work

(Proverbs 6:6-11; 10:4,5; 13:4; 15:19; 18:9; 20:4; 24:30-34)

“Work is for those who don’t know how to fish.” “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go!” “I’d rather be shopping.” People have all manner of slogans and bumper stickers by which they express a certain work ethic or disposition toward work. Some are humorous, others are pathetic, but they all reveal an attitude toward work which hardly becomes the Christian. So tell me, what should be our attitude toward work? Or to put it another way, what’s so great about work?

Work exercises body or mind. God blessed us with minds, and bodies to cart them around in. Part of our stewardship of these gifts is to strive for strength and health of body and mind. Work most definitely contributes to this end (provided we also know how to rest from our labors). This makes a good place to note that if our work is strong in one dimension of exercise, we ought to discipline ourselves to exercise ourselves in the other dimension. In other words, those whose work primarily exercises their body should find ways to exercise their mind as well. And if your occupation mostly occupies your mind, then make times for exercising your body. You are steward of both mind and body.

Work builds and fortifies character. Work disciplines the worker in many ways — scheduling, promptness, quality, self-discipline and self-denial are just several. Who feels like getting up in the morning? Well, if you’ve got a job you don’t have to feel like getting up! Who wants to do such and so? If you’re job demands it you don’t have to want to! If I don’t know how to do it, can I just let it go? If my job requires it, the answer is no. Ah, so many ways work does marvelous things for our character!

Work enables service. In one form or another, work empowers us to serve. Farmer, secretary, doctor, programmer, carpenter, nurse, assemblyman, mother — we can easily see the ways of service. And if you find yourself in an occupation that somehow doesn’t seem to allow you to serve others directly, then direct a portion of your earnings to service. In addition to that, ask the Lord to show you how to serve those with whom and for whom you work.

Work makes people productive. Life is more than fun. And life is more than just doing something. God has given us this precious gift and He expects that we expend and invest it wisely. He wants us to present Him with some fruit at life’s end. It is not good that we just “bum around”–we must be productive contributors to society…and to the Kingdom of God. So, if you would “rather be fishing,” then perhaps you should join a fishing crew. Or become a missionary and fish for souls!

I know. Work can become drudgery. Work can darken life. Work can dampen and stifle the soul. Work can ruin the body. If you already find yourself in such a work situation, or if you are anticipating joining the work force and want to avoid such a lot, begin by asking God to build or renew in you a godly disposition toward work. Then ask the experienced workers for advice. Devise a simple question to ask, then save and study the answers. And whatever you do, do it with heart, soul and spirit as unto the Lord! Remember that slothfulness and carelessness in one area of your life will surely reproduce themselves in other areas as well. So if you discover an unhealthy disposition toward one type of work…be warned and strive to be healthy!

Lesson 10 — third quarter 1998, August 9, 1998

–Mark Roth, copyright 1998, Christian Light Publications


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