If we’re honest, we’ll all admit that we’ve complained about work from time to time. Some of us love work, some of us hate work, and the rest of us put up with work. We all wish that we could have a job that we absolutely love, but that’s not always the case. 

I once heard that if you’re in a rough patch at work there’s one easy way to help you get through it. Walk into a pharmacy, purchase a Johnson & Johnson thermometer. Not just any kind, but a ‘rectal’ thermometer (that’s right, I just said that). Open the box and read through the literature. In fine print you’ll see, “This product has been personally test and sanitized”. This will put to rest your complaining. You will say with confidence, “I am so thankful for my job”. End of story!

Sometimes work isn’t fun. Really. Our job’s can get tricky. So it’s good to remind ourselves why, first and foremost, we actually work – it’s to make a living. We know what the ideal is; we know that it’s really nice when your passion and your job actually intersect, but it doesn’t always happen. If that’s the case, and even if it isn’t, let’s remember, we are called to be responsible for something, to provide for ourselves and our families – that’s called, making a living.

In Genesis 2:15, we read this, “The Lord took the man and put him in the garden, to work it and take care of it.” After God does his work, he gives Adam a job to do, ‘oversee my creation’. God says, ‘I made this garden, you can take care of this garden, and you can eat from this garden.’ God essentially does the same for us. How? He gives us a similar job – take care of the space I’ve given you to live in. We should start, if we haven’t yet, to see our jobs in that light. What will help us take ownership of our responsibility is narrowing things down to essentials – if I want to eat then I must work.

The Scriptures most common understanding of work is that we make a living by it. Just read these verses and see what we mean:

Proverbs 28:10 leads the way by saying, “Anyone who
tills the land will have plenty of bread, but one who follows worthless
pursuits will have plenty of poverty” (Proverbs 28:10)

Paul says…‘If you don’t
work, you won’t eat’ (2 Thess 3:10)

The bible also says that when we work, we must be wise, strategic & diligent – not lazy. This goes for saving and planning as well. 
A sluggard’s appetite is never
 but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. (Proverbs 13:4)
Sluggards do not plow in season;
so at harvest time they look but find nothing. (Proverbs 20:4)

Do not love
sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare. (Proverbs 20:13)

We need to ask ourselves if we  have this attitude in our minds and hearts when we work? Are we those who think ahead – those who work hard, no matter the job we have – those who are diligent in getting work and then doing our work well? 
Working is our invitation from God to care for the space he’s given us to live in. Working leads to Eating. Working involves strategy, diligence and wisdom, and shouldn’t be done with laziness. There’s one more thing we can say about work – it should be done well, with our true Master in mind.
In Colossians 3:22-25, Paul says what might be the most profound thing about a Christian’s perception of work. “Servants, do
what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that
will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for
God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your
inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is
Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being
a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.” (The Message)

We are called to something higher – in every area of our lives, including and most definitely, work. As we become followers of Jesus we are compelled to do our best, in our homes, in our relationships and in our work places. The whole of Colossians 3 is a challenge to something greater than our society asks of us – to live differently, and better, with friends, family and co-workers. Why? Because we don’t just work for our boss or for our company, we serve Jesus. Our work is yet another way for our faith in Jesus to shine brightly. 
So know this, there is honour in providing for yourself and your family, it’s our first purpose of work. Bringing home the bacon is a human and spiritual responsibility. However, while doing your work, in a job you love or one that you don’t like so much, remember to do it with all your heart, with excellence, with skill, because, as Paul says, Christians should be known for good work, and God is (really) the one paying the bills, the one who provides for us, no matter who’s signature is on the cheque. 

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Small(er) Groups Discussion Questions:

What are your first impressions? What resonated with you? What caused you to question?

What do you think of Genesis 2:15? Adam’s first job to work the garden & take care of it? How does that apply to us? And do you feel God invites us to do the same by calling us to work in the space he’s given us to live in?

Is there anything spiritual about making a living? I mean, is it just a given or is there something honourable in providing, for yourself and/or your family?

What do we learn from some of the verses in proverbs? Pick one or all of them to discuss. You might want to read through Proverbs 6:6-11 as well.

How can working well, working with excellence be a reflection of your faith? Do you think it even matters? What do you get from Colossians 3 (above); regarding our calling to live differently, to a higher standard perhaps?

Take some time to pray…
– for your work places
– for your skills and passions
– for those who don’t have work
– for a heart that is grateful for God’s provision