In my previous post I said that work was good. Most of the readers of this blog will either be working outside the home in the business world or in the home as a housewife. How should we conduct ourselves? How should a Christian work? Here are a couple of principles that must be worked out in our different areas of work.
Work is an area of Christian freedom
Contrary to what many people think, God is not a grumpy old man in heaven with a big stick ready to whack people. God gives us a great amount of freedom in his good world. He said to Adam and Eve, “Here are two million trees to eat from, just not this one.” By obeying God’s command Adam and Eve were demonstrating their love for God and their willingness to live as creatures not as phony Creators. Work also is an area of Christian freedom. God has given us commands and guidelines – for our own good – and within those guidelines we are free to work in whatever field we choose or prefer. If you want to study or work in law or medicine, be a sales rep or accountant, a singer or a teacher, do it – as long as while you are studying or working you are not breaking God’s commands.
Of course, getting a job editing pornographic magazines, owning a casino, or running an online prostitution service would be wrong. These jobs are not good work. They are evil work and entice others to sin.
The Christian does their work well
1 Corinthians 10:31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”. In all and everything we do, whether preaching or auditing accounts, our aim is to do it in a way that will honour God. That means, among other things, we will blatantly refuse to be unethical, immoral or corrupt. We also won’t be a sluggard or a workaholic.
Don’t be a sluggard
God is not honoured by laziness. Laziness is exemplified at work by those who are forever on a smoke break; always late; always leave early; always have (illegitimate) family “emergencies”; and often spend work time on private matters. This is not glorifying to God.
Don’t be a workaholic* either
Work may be a God-thing to you instead of a good thing. You may be a workaholic and, possibly unintentionally, be sacrificing your family on the altar of success, money and power. This is also not glorifying to God.
Work is a place of witness
Here’s the thing: You are a witness for Jesus, either a good one or bad one. By your conduct and standards, you’re either giving the name of Jesus a good name or bad name. The third commandment says, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain”. If you profess to be a Christian, and are a bad witness, arrive late, take liberties, fudge the figures, operate unethically, use coarse language at work and flirt with the married women or men, you are misusing, misrepresenting and blaspheming God’s good name. The last half of third commandment says, “the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”
The Christian works to give
Ephesians 4:28, “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labour, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”
The Apostle Paul not only endorses work, but commands it. Here is another reason for work: so that we can give to those in need. The Christian works in order to give financially to the gospel ministry of his or her local church and to help those in need. God’s church and God’s people are supported by God’s church and God’s people.
Are you a Christian? You may be a very hard worker, a top performer and very fair in all your dealings, but are you are Christian? Hard work won’t and can’t save you. Only Jesus can save. Maybe you are a Christian. As a Christian, is every area of your life lived in submission to God and for God’s glory? There ought to be no hidden compartments, no secret files, and no excluded areas. Jesus is King over all and therefore Lord over every area of our lives, including our work, whether it be preaching or plastering.
*How do you know you’re a workaholic?
1. How did you spend last weekend?
Relaxing with your family and friends or at work – again?
2. With whom do you spend most time?
Your wife or your boss?
3. On the weekend, do you?
Dial 0 to get a line out or always fret about getting your work clothes ready for Monday morning?
4. On holiday, do you?
Spend the week handing out business cards to bathers by the hotel pool and phoning the office on an hourly basis.