Our Issues with Work
My work is to be done from the heart.
Work is always an interesting topic. Unfortunately, it seems many Christians still have the wrong perspective of work.
Among many Church communities, work is that ‘thing’ that many Christians want to eliminate in order to have time to do ‘the Lord’s’ work’, but is this perspective biblically true?
Many Christians are in environments where going into the ‘full-time ministry’ is perceived as one of the most sacrificial things anyone can do ( full-time meaning that your income now comes from the contribution of the church congregation). Now don’t get me wrong, I believe just as the bible says that “If someone aspires to be an overseer, he desires an honourable position” 1 Tim 3:1. Therefore, my conviction is that those who ‘hear the call’ should go ahead. The bible also teaches that “Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching” 1 Tim 5:17. I am totally in support of well paid ministers but this post is not about that.
My point is that does being in the paid full-time ministry make those who are not less spiritual?
Why do I bring this up? As a Learning & Development Consultant, I have realised that it is fundamentally essential for a person to believe that the work they are doing has meaning, that it is making a contribution or a difference. If the person can’t see this at some point, they will lose commitment and drive even if the job pays well. Now if it pays really well, they may stay at it for longer but from what I have experienced these same people when asked “what would you really like to do if you had all the money you need”? will end up telling you that they would love to do meaningful work.
Now the bible gives us a very important clue and clear principled expectations about Work. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” Col 3:23
I think there is a lot to glean from this one Verse that can give us a more biblical perspective of work.
1. Whatever you do
First of all, the bible never supports any fraudulent, illegal, or sexually explicit type of work. It obviously is encouraging any type of work which adds value. In the verse before this, the Apostle Paul has just directly spoken to Slaves, so the type of work he is referring to would include domestic work, administration, sales, marketing, IT solutions, inventing, writing computer scripts, managing projects, research, science, childminders, sports, musician etc., all types of Jobs that we can earn a decent living from.
2. Work at it with all your heart
It is important for us to note that the expectation is not to do what little you can to get by. It is not to work just to earn money to pay the bills. The expectation is not to be half hearted. Paul writes that our work should benefit from our passion, focus and drive. Our work demands our creativity, our innovations and our ideas. All our heart is all our heart. Is your workplace getting the best of you?
This is an area many of us struggle with and have issues with. For some reason some believe that the only thing that is worth all my heart is “the Lord’s work” but the bible teaches that your current work deserves your whole heart too!
Many of us love the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis, who went from Slave to Prime Minister. He is a perfect example of someone that worked with his whole heart in every situation.
3. As working for the Lord
The Apostle Paul then goes on to give us the reason why we should work with ‘all our heart’. He writes that because the one who ‘disciples of Christ’ are working for is not the CEO, Manager, etc. but it is the Lord himself- and he is worthy of our best efforts.
Why is this important? I believe this is important because in the New Heaven and New Earth we will still be working for the Lord. (I hope you are not disappointed!) Many of us are not aware that work has always been part of God’s plan- even before the fall of man in Genesis 2. The remaining verses in Col 3:24-25 remind us that there is a reward for working on this side of life no matter what the job role is.
This, I hope, helps us to see that all good work is of value in God’s eyes and actually there is no such thing as secular and spiritual work. If it were so, God wouldn’t say we do it with all our heart and also reward us as well. God sees all the work his people do as contributing to his ultimate will and God’s ultimate will is that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. What would this look like with regards to work? His people work with all their hearts in Honour of Him!
How do you view your work? Is it something that you are doing with all your heart as the scripture teaches? What has shaped your view of work? Share your views below, ‘like’ this post and feel free to share it with your friends.