Five days a week, we wake up to the sound of an alarm. We get dressed and ready for our day, a litany of tasks and responsibilities running through our minds before we pour that first cup of caffeine. Some of us will grab a computer bag and hop in the car, others will listen for little feet to come running down the hall demanding breakfast. And so the work day begins.
Work is an integral part of who we are. It’s how we spend the majority of our waking hours during the week and occupies much of our thoughts even in our “off” hours. As such, having a biblical view of work is incredibly important. From the beginning to the end, the Bible shows us God’s rhythm of work and rest. It tells us that God gave Jesus work to do: “…For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me” ( John 5:36). It tells us that God gave Adam work to do: “ The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:14). God gave work to the apostles and to Paul and to the other disciples, thus it would only make sense that God gives us work to do as well.
Some work God gives is easily seen as “Christian”—pastors, church staff, missionaries. These are obviously called to minister to others and spread the gospel to this and future generations. But what about other jobs? What about people who work for big banks or small law firms, who teach in public schools or sell insurance? God calls us there, too.
God called Adam to be a farmer and a conservationist; he called Noah to be a shipbuilder and Nehemiah to organize the Israelites to build a wall; he called David to the lonely and demeaning job of shepherd.
The Bible gives us absolutely no grounds to divide our world or culture into “sacred” and “secular.” There is no distinction between the two for Christians. All of our life is sacred and that includes our work, regardless of what kind of work we do. So how does that idea affect how we view our work?
“Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man” (Ephesians 6:5-7).
No matter what our job responsibilities are, we are to perform them to the best of our ability, with a glad heart and a positive attitude, because we are ultimately working for God and not for our boss.
Doing our work well is how we worship God. If you’re a computer programmer, writing code is not how you pass the time between the really important efforts of serving God. Writing code is how you’re serving God. Studying, practicing, learning everything you can to write excellent code so that your company does well is how you are worshipping God. Imagine how history would have been different if Noah had not been an excellent shipbuilder!
There are many times in our lives that we are doing work that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with advancing the gospel, but God is always using the work we do. I had no idea that the years I spent sitting at a desk writing highly technical software manuals were providing me with the skills I would need to help produce our church’s devotional guides. I couldn’t see 1,000 miles and 20 years down the road, but God could, and the career path that I followed is exactly where God placed me.
Your work right now is exactly where God has placed you for his purposes and his glory. Put forth your absolute best effort for that reason and no other. God will use your work in ways you cannot see and could never imagine.