FOR WHOM DO YOU TOIL?
Summary: When we recognize that we are employed by Christ and not man, we will become more faithful to our tasks. Read to discover the five responsibilities that make our work for Christ more meaningful.
First assignment. During a fifty-year career the average person spends 100,000 hours working. Unfortunately, many people just endure their work. And this is because of a worldly view of work that keeps them focused on the fact that twenty-five percent of their lives is devoted to a distasteful job. In order to find satisfaction in our work and place ourselves in a position where we can possibly earn more income, we need to understand what Scripture teaches about work.
Even before sin entered the human race, God instituted work. Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” The very first thing the Lord did with Adam was to assign him work. Despite what many have come to think, work was initiated for our benefit in the sinless environment of the Garden of Eden. After the Fall, work was made more difficult. Genesis 3:17 reads, “Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.”
Work is so important that in Exodus 34:21 God gives this command: “You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest.” The Old Testament believer was required to work six days. In the New Testament Paul is just as direct when he wrote in 2 Thessalonians, “If anyone will not work, neither let him eat.”
A house builds a carpenter. A primary purpose of work is to develop character. For example, while the carpenter is building a house, the house is also building the carpenter. Skill, diligence, manual dexterity, and judgment are refined. A job is not merely a task designed to earn money; it is also intended to produce godly character in the life of the worker.
Scripture reveals we are actually serving the Lord in our work. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” This perspective has profound implications. Consider your attitude toward work. If you could see Jesus Christ as your boss, would you try to be more faithful in your job? The most important question you need to answer every day is: “For whom do I work?” You work for Christ.
The Lord wants us to work hard. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ec 9:10). And Proverbs 12:27 says, “The precious possession of a man is diligence.” In Scripture, hard work and diligence are encouraged, while laziness is soundly condemned. “He who is slack in his work is brother to him who destroys” (Pr 18:9).
But don’t overwork! Working too hard has reached epidemic proportions. A frantic, breathless, over-commitment to work pervades our culture. Hard work must be balanced with the priorities of our relationship with the Lord and our family.
If your job demands so much of your time and energy that you neglect your relationship with Christ or your family, then you are working too hard; perhaps the job is too demanding or your work habits need changing.
Exodus 34:21 reads, “You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest.” Rest can become an issue of faith. Is the Lord able to make our six days of work more productive than seven days? Yes! The Lord instituted this weekly rest for our physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Responsibility 1: Honesty
Several work responsibilities that we have were modeled by Daniel. Daniel 6:4 tells us that “No evidence of corruption” could be found in Daniel’s work. He was absolutely honest, and we must be as well.
Responsibility 2: Faithfulness
The second responsibility is faithfulness. In Daniel 6:4, Daniel is described as “faithful.” The godly worker needs to establish the goal of being faithful and excellent in work. Then he or she needs to work hard to attain that goal.
Responsibility 3: Prayer
Thirdly, the godly worker is a person of prayer. Daniel 6:10 reads, “Daniel” continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.
Daniel governed the most powerful nation of his day. Few will ever be faced with the magnitude of his responsibilities and the time demands that must have been required. Yet Daniel knew the importance and priority of prayer. If you are not praying consistently, your work is suffering.
Responsibility 4: Honor
Fourthly, the godly employee always honors his or her superior. 1 Peter 2:18 reads, “Servants [or employees], be submissive to your masters [or employer] with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.” One way to honor your employer is never to participate in gossip behind your employer’s back—even if he or she is not an ideal person.
Responsibility 5: Share your faith
The final responsibility of a godly worker is sharing his or her faith. At the appropriate time, Daniel spoke of his faith in God to those around him. Listen to what King Darius said in Daniel 6:20: “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?”
King Darius would never have known about the living God if Daniel had not communicated his faith at appropriate moments. Daniel’s profession of faith in God would not have as powerfully influenced King Darius if Darius had not observed how Daniel did his work. Daniel fulfilled his responsibilities with honesty and faithfulness while honoring those around him.
Daniel influenced his employer—one of the most powerful people in the world—to believe in the only true God. You have that same opportunity in your own God-given sphere of work. Let me say this another way. A job well done earns you the right to tell others you work with about the reality of Christ. As we view our work from God’s perspective, our potential to earn more income increases, dissatisfaction turns to contentment from a job well done, and drudgery is replaced with excitement over the prospect of introducing others to the Savior.
The article was written by Howard Dayton, Co-founder, and CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, Gainesville, Georgia., and previously printed in October-December 2002, Family Finance issue of the Dynamic Steward magazine, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 10, 11. Read the complete magazine here:https://stewardship.adventist.org/2002-6-4.pdf.