Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24)
"Faith and Work"
What word best describes what you like to spend your time doing? In answer to that question, how many said “work”? On any given day, many of us can relate to the words of the country artist, the late Johnny Paycheck, who sang, “Take this job and shove it, I ain’t workin’ here no more!”
From culture we get a view of work that can vary widely. Ringo Starr observed, “It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been workin’ like a dog!” In the movie 9 to 5, Dolly Parton commented on the plight of many in the workforce when she sang: “Workin’ 9 to 5 / what a way to make a livin’ / barely gettin’ by / it’s all takin’ and no givin’! ” At one end of the spectrum work is drudgery—you work like a dog just to barely make a living.
On the other end, “Work”, Henry Ford proclaimed, “is the salvation of the human race, morally, physically, socially.” President Coolidge said of work, “the man who builds a factory builds a temple, the man who works there worships there.” Another perspective on work is found in the sign above the Nazi Concentration Camp at Auschwitz, which reads "Arbeit Macht Frei", or “work makes you free”.
In light of these contrary perspectives, Christians must ask: What does the bible have to say to us about work?
Starting on page 1, the bible describes God’s work in creation (Genesis 1:1-30). Scripture tells us that it was for his pleasure that God created all things (Revelation 4:11). It pleased God to work and he was pleased with his creation, pronouncing it “very good.” As creatures made in his image, God gave us work to do (Gen. 2:15). The work God gave to mankind was a blessing—a reflection of his image within us.
However, work became cursed when sin entered the world (Gen. 3:17-19). Ever since, people have struggled to keep work in its proper perspective. Theologian Os Guinness, says we often have upside-down values: “We worship our work, we work at our play and we play at our worship.” When this happens, our sense of value, identity, meaning and worth become tied up in our vocational position, power, or prestige . Our résumé becomes our righteousness.
A biblical understanding of work requires you to redefine your boss: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not men… It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24). From the Lord you have received vocational aptitudes, gifts and abilities. When you put these to work in the service of others, it is an honorable thing, no matter what you do. As Martin Luther understood, “the works of monks and priests, however holy and arduous they be, do not differ one whit in the sight of God from the works of the rustic laborer in the field or the woman going about her household tasks, but that all works are measured before God by faith alone… Indeed, the menial housework of a manservant or maidservant is often more acceptable to God than all the fastings and other works of a monk or priest, because the monk or priest lacks faith.”
It’s been said that work is the gracious expression of creative energy in the service of others. Your work matters to God! Redefine your boss and then do your work whole heartily, as unto the Lord!
Where do we find the motivational power to do this? By remembering the work of Christ—the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep (John 10). As you remember what it cost the Lord Christ to serve you at the cross, you will find the power to redefine your boss and serve Him in your workplace. After all, He is the only one with the power to make you truly free. Amen!
How to pray...
- Thank God for your job and pray that He would enable you to see your work as a good thing and an avenue in which to serve Him.
- Pray that through your work God would grant you to the opportunity to witness by your life and words to the goodness of God.
- Pray for co-workers who need to experience the love and forgiveness that is found in Christ. Pray that God would provide an open door for you to minister to them.
- Pray for those from LBC who are currently without work. Pray that God would provide steady employment for them in which they will be able to utilize the gifts and passions.
For the Family
A common question we ask children is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Work, or what we “do”, is a big part of life. In fact, we often push kids in school to help them succeed in their work later on in life.
Our work is a way that we can serve our Lord. The work that the Lord gives us might not fit in a typical 9-5 day. It may be parenting and caring for you family, reaching out to your community, sharing the gospel with others, working in an office or working from home.
Ask your child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” But this time do some follow-up questions to get to the heart of their thoughts.
- What is it about that job that gets you excited?
- Who would you want to help if you did that job?
- Is there anything about that job you think you wouldn’t like?
- What are some of the qualities that a person doing that job needs to have?
- How could someone serve the Lord while doing that job?
Share with your child that they have a job now... even before they grow up! They can serve the Lord each and every day as they are growing; they don’t have to wait until they are grown up! They can serve the Lord in so many ways: friendships, schooling, family, church, decisions and talents! What a great mindset for our children to grasp early in life—that their life can be a life of service and worship to the Lord!
"Faith and Work" - Jim Cunningham
Jim Cunningham is an elder at Lake Baldwin Church. Jim has been a Personal Injury Lawyer in Florida since 1977. He holds a Masters in Biblical Studies in addition to his Juris Doctor from Florida State University College of Law. Jim has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Central Florida. Jim and his wife, Joyce, were instrumental in establishing a fund which provides scholarships for needy children to attend FCA camps in North Carolina. Jim and Joyce also served on the Board of Directors of Family First, an organization based in Tampa, Florida and dedicated to strengthening and improving Florida's families.
"For the Family" - Michelle Crouse
Michelle Crouse has served as the director of LBC's children's ministry—SPLASH Kids—since the end of 2011. She and her husband Joshua were married in 2002 and have 2 children. Michelle grew up outside of Boston and graduated from James Madison University in Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She loves being with kids and loves the opportunity to be a part of teaching children how much they are loved by God, and helping them grow in their understanding of what that means.