What Does the Bible Say About Work?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 11, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

After last week’s post about what the Bible says about money, writing on what the Bible says about work seems like a natural follow up. Many people have a particular job simply for the money and not necessarily because we have a passion for that type of work. But is that the attitude we should have? What does the Bible say?

God created work in the Garden of Eden, even before mankind fell into sin. Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” One of Adam’s purposes was to work in taking care of the garden. But without sin in the world, that work would have been completely enjoyable! However, after sin, work got significantly worse. “To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it.’ Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.’” (Genesis 3:17-19)

Because of sin, work is not always a fun thing for us humans, although we were created to do work - God’s work. God didn’t create us to sit around and be lazy all day (more on that next week), but to work at what He has called us to do, to accomplish His purposes. That doesn’t mean we’re all called to full-time vocational ministry, but whatever we are doing in life we should do in a way that glorifies God.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” (Colossians 3:23)
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” (Proverbs 16:3)

We know that when we work hard, we will profit from it in some way. “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense” (Proverbs 12:11). “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23).

We should set an example to those around us through working hard, doing our tasks well, and working with integrity in all that we do. Titus 2:7-8 says, “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

One of the most important things to remember about work is that we will reap what we sow. If you sow good things such as working well, you will reap good things; if you sow bad things such as doing as little as you can and with a bad attitude, you will reap bad things such as punishment or no longer having that job. Galatians 6:7-10 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Ephesians 4:28 encourages us to work to get what we need, rather than through stealing or other dishonest methods: “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.” Work makes us productive members of society, helping those around us.

Finally, we are commanded to do what God instructs us to do, whatever kind of work that might be. James 2:14-26 tells us that without works (doing what God instructs us), our faith is dead. James 1:22 says that we should not just listen to God’s Word but do what it says.

The Bible tells us that work is a good thing, created by God and for mankind to do to fulfill God’s purposes. We work to serve and glorify God and to help those around us, so that in all things we might honor the God who created us. I encourage you to make that your attitude as you go into this work week.

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