By Bruce Reeves
The work ethic of the Christian is a topic of great importance. In this article, we will take a serious look at Gods teaching concerning a godly work ethic. Worldliness is invading the Lords church even today. One manner in which this is happening is the unscriptural ideas many Christians have concerning the role our work should play in our lives.
While doing research for this article, some of the titles I saw concerning the loose attitude many have when it comes to ethical principles in business was disturbing. This very attitude seems to be working its way into the Lords church, and it alarms me to see such an attitude on the part of Christians. Some of the titles I saw were as follows: “Honesty, Is it Still the Best Policy?”; “Ethics For Sale”; “Whose Ethics are the Most Ethical?” We will look at what Gods Word reveals to us concerning the work ethic of the Christian.
What The Work Ethic Of The Christian Should Be
In thinking about what the work ethic of the Christian should be, the first principle that comes to mind is the truth that the Christian ought to be honest in everything he does, including his work.
I am still a young man, but one thing my parents have always impressed upon me is that since I am a Christian. I ought to give an honest days work for an honest days pay. There is a prevalent attitude that everyone wants to get all he can and give as little as possible. Especially, is this true with the attitude of people toward their jobs. It used to be that an employer could expect an honest days work for an honest days pay. Many employees spend their time complaining either to fellow employees or to their bosses about what the other person is not doing and how hard they are having to work. God has instructed us in his word that-if a man does not work, he should not eat. He also gave us some guidelines whereby we are to work. (I Thess. 4:11-12: “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”)
As Christians, we need to think about what God commands us regarding our jobs and our attitude toward our employers. We need to realize as children of God, that we are to be servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With goodwill doing service; as to the Lord, and not to men.” Do we render service with goodwill or do we do so with a sullen attitude! The Christian should not be the one who is a burden to those around him. Rom. 12:11: “Be not slothful in business; fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.”
When we make mistakes in our work places, do we admit them and correct them? Or, more often, do we look for reasons to blame them on someone else or refuse to admit we made them in the first place? Peter said, “for what glory is there, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently …?”
Too many Christians possess a dishonest and difficult work ethic rather than an honest one. Sometimes we seem to be the ones who cause envy and strife in the work place. By the things we say, we hurt others, all in the name of “business.” 1 Peter 2:1 says, “Wherefore laying aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisies, and envies and all evil speakings.” Brethren, as Paul has said in Romans 13:11-14, its high time we awake out of sleep, and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you living a lie? There may be one looking at you! (One who looks at a person who claims to be a Christian may develop the opinion that if this is what a Christian is, he wants no part of it.) Through a sinful work ethic, will you be the one guilty for turning them away from the Lord? Some of us seem to cast Gods will aside when it comes to work and have decided that we can do what ever we choose regardless of whom it may hurt. Some would do anything, in order to advance in their work, including: social drinking, lying, cheating, all sorts of wickedness. Paul says, we ought to practice a work ethic that adorns the doctrine of Christ (Tit. 2:9,10)
Many Christians are very active in the worship service and do a great deal of speaking upon the subject of “Putting God First.” Yet in their daily lives, will go to the work place and completely forget about their service to the Lord and Gods instructions regarding the Christians work practices.
Adorn The Doctrine Of Christ
Do you possess the type of work ethic that adorns the doctrine of God? As some have said, “If one could be arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Can those we work with see our dedication to Christ by the way in which we conduct ourselves? In Matthew 5:13,14, Jesus speaks of the servant of Christ as the salt of the earth, and the light of the world. Can our fellow-workers see the light of honesty, justice, and faith shining through our hearts by our behavior? Or do they rather see “salt that has lost its savor and is good for nothing, but to be trodden under foot,” because of our distasteful and disgusting hypocrisy? Folks, its time we come to the realization that we must be Christians in all aspects of life including earning our daily bread. 1 Peter 2:9: “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.” We are Christians! We are special, sanctified, separate.
If we will strive to adorn the doctrine of God in our work place, we will chew forth a worthy influence to those around us thereby glorifying Gods name. Paul says in Colossians 3:17: “But whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord.”
Put First Things First
In having a proper attitude toward our work, a Christian should “put first things first.” Of all people, Christians ought to be a people who have their priorities straight. Often times we allow the Lords church and our families to take a backseat to our work. We should ask ourselves the question, “what type of sacrifice am I offering Christ?” Romans 12:1,2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice.” Not only are our lives our sacrifice to God, but our worship is as well. Many of us have been putting Gods kingdom on the back burner for too long! Do we really think God is going to be pleased with a lame, sick and half-hearted sacrifice such as that? Brethren, we need to give him our most dedicated offering, by putting Gods kingdom first. (Matt. 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God …”)
The Home: Our homes are of precious value. The family is a beautiful treasure created by the hand of God. The future of the kingdom of God starts in godly homes. In order for our homes to be what they should, they must be directed by the word of God. This loving haven of rest doesnt come by accident. It requires our time and care. It forever seeks our priority. For too long our families have been neglected and the kingdom of God has had to pay the price. In Ephesians 5:23-29, Paul depicts the importance of the home. Paul teaches that the husband is the head of the family and is to love his wife as Christ has loved the Church. The wife as well has a great responsibility to God and to her family. She is extremely important to the structure of the home. She isnt just a “housewife”; she is the keeper of the home and the heart of the family. Children ought to see parents who put Gods kingdom first, who love their homes, and who are honest in everything they do. So often when we fail to put first things first, destruction sets in. There are too many Christians today who have focused their efforts in their work and have given the Lords kingdom nothing! The church was so important to Christ that he gave his life to purchase it. Shall we fail to give the church which Christ died for the priority it deserves?
Worship and Work: There seems to be a trend among some young Christians that is very upsetting. It is great for young Christians to work, but when they are missing worship services to work, something is wrong. If working were an absolute necessity, it might be understandable. But its not a necessity to have a better automobile, or more of what we already have (Matt. 6:33). Young people, we should put first things first.
The future of the Lords church is in our homes today. Are you neglecting your families in order to possess more things. This time is precious! Someday your children are going to be gone from your home. Our homes demand our love and time. According to a University of Maryland study, parents have been spending an average of about 17 hours per week with their children. Although our work plays an important role in our lives, the first thing in our life should be God. Christ should be the center of our lives. When we leave God out of our lives; our lives will be void of any lasting love or joy!
Often times some would forfeit their Christianity for material things. What would you say to Jesus if he were standing before you now? “Lord, Ive been a Christian everywhere but at work,” seeing that he gave and sacrificed everything for our souls. Realizing as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane with sweat as great drops of blood pouring down his face, “Not my will, but thy will be done.” Friends, Jesus would say to us, as he did in Peter in Matthew 16:23-26 “For thou savourest not the things of God, but those that be of men.” Jesus has said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” In verse 26, he tells us that even if you gain everything in the world, and yet fail to gain the salvation of your soul everything was vain.
I would hope that through a proper understanding of the importance of the Lords church and our families; we will recognize the relationship they ought to have to our work.
Principles For Developing A Godly Work Ethic
(1) Understand the difference between temporary and eternal things (2 Cor. 4:18).
(2) Love the Lord! (Jn. 14:23)
(3) Set your affections on heavenly things (Col. 3:1-3).
I would hope this article would not only help us to develop a godly work ethic, but also godly lives. As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 14 p. 18-19
July 15, 1993