How Should Christians Work?Posted: February 22, 2012
Think of the hardest workers you know. Picture the people in your life who stay the latest, produce the highest quality work, and are continually on the move throughout the day.
Now how many of those people are Christians?
I often see Christians who defend their half-hearted efforts at work because it’s not what God “called them to do”. On the contrary, as Christians, we are called to work wholeheartedly in all we do, regardless of our current profession (Colossians 3:23-24). It’s not always easy, and it certainly can’t be done without the proper perspective, but we must understand that we are exactly where we’re supposed to be for the given time. Even if you have been led to a job because of sin or not seeking God in prayer, you are still in the right place at the right time (Romans 8:28).
But before you ready your arguments, I want you to understand that I am just as guilty of this sin as everyone else. Each post is written from personal experience and is typically an outpouring of a topic that is weighing heavily on my mind at the time. In the past I have been unfaithful, I have not given my all, and I have repented of this sin and am now seeking to glorify God in the work I’ve been given. Despite my past failures, they have been a blessing as they have allowed me to learn the Biblical view of work.
Here are three key principles for shaping your Biblical view of work.
Work is Biblical. Retirement isn’t.
The very first image we have of God is one of Him working (Genesis 1:1). The rest of the Bible follows suit, and God continually uses people who are tax collectors, government officials, shepherds, military leaders, bankers, and fisherman, all for the glory of His kingdom. It’s interesting to note, however, that none of these great stories from the Bible happened during retirement. Most people believe that retirement is a Biblical concept, yet retirement isn’t mentioned in the Bible a single time. From the beginning of creation, God created us to work our entire lives. When Adam and Eve sinned, work was not given as a curse, but instead was made harder than originally intended (Genesis 3:17-19). This is why work can be tough sometimes. Not because work is a curse, but because it’s a gift that has been marred by sin.
Work is an extension of our walk with Christ.
Work doesn’t define who we are as a person, but it certainly reflects our walk with Christ. Each of us has been given a unique vocation and skill set that God specifically crafted in us to complete before the world began (Ephesians 2:10). As Christians, we are accountable to this vocation. A vocation gives us a higher view of work that allows us to wake up with vigor each day, and serves as a roadmap along the way. By walking closely with Christ, our vocation becomes clearer and we have a better understanding of the work that He has prepared for us to carry out. However, until this vocation is fully revealed, we are simply practicing in the meantime. Our current work is just a part of the journey that gets us to our destination. Without work, we don’t progress.
If you don’t like where you’re at, change it, don’t cheat it.
It’s easy to justify a poor work effort when you’re in a job you don’t enjoy. It’s even worse when you know your vocation, but your current job just isn’t fitting the bill. I’ve been in those jobs before and it’s not fun. It’s easy to become impatient and begin pursuing your vocation before the proper time, but remember that God’s timing is perfect (Ecclesiastes 3:11). He brings us exactly where we need to be for the given season in our lives. Until God opens a door for you to leave, your home is exactly where you are right now. Instead of becoming frustrated, try something different today; stop looking for ways to leave your current job, and use this time as a training ground to prepare yourself so that you will be fully ready when God finally calls you to something different.
Despite what phase of life you’re currently experiencing, in the end it’s all about glorifying Christ with your work. No matter what phase of life you’re in, God calls us to be ambassadors in the workplace and set the tone for other people to follow. Set an example in the workplace and start honoring God today with your work today.