How Then Should We Work?
"For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat."1
According to an article by Eric Metaxas in BreakPoint Daily, "More than 5,000 people jammed a sports arena for a conference featuring motivational speakers…. One of the speakers asked a simple question: 'If you went home tonight and found that a long lost relative had died and left you ten million dollars, would you be at work tomorrow?'
"Almost in a single voice came the boisterous reply: 'NO!'2
"Friends, I can tell you, if I'd been there, I would have stood up and shouted, 'YES!'"
Had I been there, I also would have stood up and shouted, "YES!" … and would have immediately prayed and researched how I could use this money to reach more people around the world with the saving gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is a vital part of what God is doing in the world today.
The BreakPoint article also stated that 77% of Americans hate their job.2 This is extremely sad because all legitimate work is God-ordained. Think of all the people in today's world who are out of work and want to work. I can't even begin to imagine what that must be like to experience. For many it has to be devastating. Today's Scripture, of course, would not apply to those who truly want to work, but can't find a job. It is also clear about those who could work but don't want to. This reminds me of a sign on the San Clemente pier, which is close to where we live, that says the following:
"Don't feed the birds. It makes them over-dependent on people,
and they forget how to fend for themselves … and die."
If we have work, let us be thankful for it, and realize that no matter what we do we are to do all for the glory of God; and regardless of our position, we need to ask God to help us to be an effective witness for Jesus, and to be "as Jesus" to all those with whom we work—including the boss.
But I can "hear" some saying about me that I am just lucky because I have work that is very fulfilling. This is true; however, over the years I have worked cleaning filthy machines in a pie factory, scrubbing floors and being a janitor at a church at night time and over weekends, and doing whatever work I could find to put myself through several years of college. I was very thankful for this work which made it possible for me to eat and to pay all my college bills.
If you are in a job that you hate, I encourage you to get well trained to do the kind of work that you would find fulfilling, and pray that God will help you find such a job. Remember, too, that we serve God by serving people, and we can do that in any job.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to appreciate the fact that all legitimate work is God-ordained. Help me to know what work would best suit my God-given abilities, and where to get the training necessary to qualify me for this type of work. Also, please help me to find a job that would be fulfilling and give me the satisfaction of knowing that I am working to bring glory to your name. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (NKJV).
2. Eric Metaxas, BreakPoint Daily, October 25, 2012, http://www.breakpoint.org/.