Work, it’s something we do a lot of. I am not sure if you have ever figured it up, but on a 40 hour work week, you will spend over 2,000 hours a year working. Over 30 years that amounts to roughly 62,000 hours or 2,600 straight days at work. I think it is safe to say that work is a big part of our lives.
Work is also a necessary part of our lives because without work we wouldn’t survive. We have to pay for the place live, the food we eat, the car we drive, the clothes we wear, and the things we do. So work is not only a big part of our lives, it’s a necessity.
Since we work so much, and retirement is far away for most of us, it’s important we have a biblical understanding of work.
How Should Christians Work?
(1) As Christians, our work should always be genuine
One of the first long-term jobs I had out of college was at a staffing company. I began working for them in Atlanta and ended up moving to Dallas to help open a satellite office. I didn’t move to Dallas alone. Four other people from the corporate office moved with me. Everyone who moved to Dallas had done really well in the Atlanta office, which only makes sense, after all, you aren’t going to trust your brand new satellite office to those who are having a hard time with sales or recruiting at the Corporate office.
Our new office looked promising. There, however, was just one problem, no one was appointed as the head of the office. Instead, a bunch of twenty-somethings was thrown in an office half-way across the country and told to work without any oversight. While it wasn’t a total bust, most of us worked hard, there was one guy in our office who didn’t. It is not that he didn’t do anything. He made a few obligatory calls, participated in our daily office meetings, made sure I was working on the few jobs he had pulled in, but the rest of the day he watched videos on his computer, talked to his friends on the phone, and joked around with people in the office. That was his daily routine until one of the executives from the Atlanta office came out to check on things.
When the executives were there, his work ethic picked up 100%. He was on the phone all day setting meetings, pulling in jobs for me to work on, as well as he made it a point to talk up all that he had done in the office, or was supposed to be doing. You see, his goal was to be head of the office in Dallas. He knew if he wanted that position, he had to impress the executives, which is exactly what he set out to do, but only when they were there and they could see him.
Now, the way he worked is the exact opposite of how Paul calls Christians to work in Colossians 3. In verse 22 he says,
“Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.” (Col 3:22)
According to Paul, we aren’t just to work hard when our bosses are watching. Instead, we are to work with “sincerity of heart“. In other words, what our boss sees when in the office should be what they can expect when they are out of the office. Our work, then, should always be genuine.
Our genuine work should be driven by our fear of the Lord. When the Bible talks about fearing God what it means is that we are to live in awe and wonder of Him, that we are to have an intense love and respect for Him. Those things should be what drives us to work well.
When we allow the fear of the Lord to drive our work, people will see a difference in the way we work. They won’t just see us doing things for attention, accolade, or promotion, like many of their co-workers, or even themselves. Rather they will see us as genuine. People appreciate people who are genuine, even if they aren’t genuine themselves.
Being genuine not only pleases God, but it also opens up a conversation with others about why we work the way we work. It gives us an opportunity to tell other people about Jesus. How He has changed our heart, and how that has affected our work.
So as Christians, our work should always be genuine. We shouldn’t seek to please man, but God.
Question for Reflection
- Is your work genuine?
Post adapted from my sermon How Should We Work from a Christian Perspective?