When we read the Bible it’s clear that we were created to work. Labor began in Genesis 1:28 with Adam and Eve being told to care for the earth, and then later receiving responsibility to care for the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 2:15) God’s people were told to work six days and then rest on the seventh. The reminder in this command is that God’s creation was His work, and He rested from that labor. (Exodus 20:8-11) Working may be hard at times, but there is more fruit that comes from it than a paycheck.
The work we do helps us is in our relationship with God. “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does….” (Ephesians 6:7-8) Part of our reward is the growth of our knowledge and the shape of our character from faithful service to a job. “The highest reward for man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it.” John Ruskin
Our labor also impacts the way others feel about us. When we read Proverbs 31 we see what someone may become in a community. What is said of the noble woman because of her domestic and business labors, a woman who does not eat the bread of idleness, is quite memorable. “Let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” (Proverbs 31:31)
But we’re not to approach labor with the presumptions that our work is the most important thing in life and we’re the center of attention. Gordon Dahl gives an important warning: “Most middle-class Americans tend to worship their work, work at their play, and to play at their worship.” We need God to lead and help us in our work. He gives us strength, knowledge and wisdom. “Unless the Lord builds the house it builders labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1) God’s doing the work through us. When we worship God each week we must offer Him thanksgiving for our employment and the ability to render service at our jobs. We’re to rest in Him, knowing that He will take care of all needs. The Lord is the one to whom we report. In talking to slaves The Apostle Paul writes: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men….” (Colossians 3:23) Those are good words for all people for truly God is the ultimate supervisor for the jobs we hold.
When we read the book of Nehemiah we discover the impact of co-laboring in the strength of God. The people building the walls of Jerusalem made an impact on their adversaries. “…they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.” (Nehemiah 6:16) The testimony that our labor should bring is that we could not have done this without the Lord. He deserves the praise and the glory for all that I have accomplished. Our work is a witness to God!
Pastor Ken Atchison
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com