Have you ever felt like your work doesn’t really matter or is a waste of time? Have you ever felt like God doesn’t care about what you do for work?
When you hear the word “work,” what comes to your mind? What do you think about your daily tasks at the factory, deli, coffee shop, home, restaurant, or design studio?
- Is it a means to an end?
- Is it a waste of time and not valuable to God?
- Is it a waiting period until God brings you into your real purpose and calling?
- Is it a necessary evil in which you have to participate to live in this world?
Even more important than the question of what you think about your work is the question: what does God think about your work? What is the biblical approach and attitude to work?
Did you know that most of us will spend ⅔ of our lives working? Whether at the office or pounding nails, the vast majority of our lives will be spent making a living for ourselves and our families.
This being the fact, if we think incorrectly about work, then we are basically saying that 60% of our waking life is wasted and doesn’t really matter. As you can see, the consequence of thinking wrongly about work can be devastating.
If we think that our work is merely a waste of time and that God doesn’t really find value in or care about it. Or if we think it’s only a waiting period before we really do what matters later in life. Or if we think it’s really only a necessary evil, then we will go day to day without maximizing the opportunities in front of us.
These 4 truths have helped me pack up every morning and go to the office with intentionality and purpose knowing that my work at the office is just as important to God as my work at the church.
Whether you’ve heard these truths before or not, I’m always encouraged when I am reminded of them again.
1. God is the Original Worker
Work finds its first and primary origin in the nature of God who was the Original Worker.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation.”
Genesis 2:1–3 ESV
Look around you at our beautiful world – the mountains, the oceans, the animals – and see the work of God’s hands. At the pinnacle of that creative work is us, the human race.
2. God Created Us to Work
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”
Genesis 2:15 ESV
Humans are to be image bearers, or reflections, of God. Being such, we are workers just as God is a worker. God created man to work and to enjoy and delight in work. We are to be innovators, cultivators, craftsmen, or in other words, mini-creators.
3. Jesus Worked
Jesus worked as a carpenter, which in those days would have likely included rock masonry as well. He worked with His hands in this difficult job for around 18 years, then spent only 3 years in His primary ministry role as a miracle worker, prophet, and discipler. Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior of the world, spent a 6-to-1 ratio (18 years to 3 years) of His time working in a simple, normal, down-to-earth job.
During His ministry, Jesus said, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”1
Was there ever any moment where Jesus’ life actions were not important or meaningful? No way! Everything Jesus did was important and meaningful, including his carpentry.
What does this mean for you?
4. All Work is of Equal Value to God
Possibly the most tragic view of work is to somehow pit God against work: a view that you can either serve God or work in a secular job. This view says you have to be in full-time ministry – a pastor, social justice worker, or missionary – to really serve God. But this is not true. All types of work that God created are of equal value to Him. The pastor and the police officer are of equal value in God’s view. It’s just a matter of obedience to how He’s called you to serve in the seasons of your life and with the time He’s given you. “Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called,”2 writes the apostle Paul. God’s more interested in the quality, excellence, and faithfulness of your work than the type of work it is.
Yes, each person’s roles and responsibilities are different, some are followers and some are leaders, and some roles call for particular respect (1 Peter 2:17; 1 Timothy 5:17); but the actual work itself is of equal value in God’s Kingdom. God wants pastors, masons, mechanics, carpenters (He especially likes these 😃), businessmen and women, computer programmers, marketers, stay-at-home-moms, lifeguards, military personnel, and many others to be Jesus-loving disciple makers who live effective and productive lives for the glory of God and the good of those around them.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Whatever you do, work heartily (with one’s whole heart), 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: 17, 23-24 ESV
No matter what your work is I hope that you are encouraged by these truths, knowing that what you do matters and is important to God and His Kingdom when it is done with love as its motive and Jesus’ glory as its object. All diligent work done in the name of Jesus and for the love and glory of Jesus will make an impact on those around us – as impactful as if you were working for Jesus Himself!
- John 5:17 ESV
- 1 Corinthians 7:20–24 ESV
How do these truths impact you? What will change about how you approach your work?
Share your Responses, Thoughts, and Ideas in the Comment!