EARNING | Sep 14, 2023

Working as Unto the Lord

More stress doesn’t always equal higher salary and if you bring home the stress along with the salary, is it really worth it? If that describes you, maybe it’s time to re-think the purpose of your work.

Some statistics claim that 54% of American employees are happy with their jobs. Others claim that 83% of us are suffering from work-related stress. Whether those are accurate numbers or not, we all know from just looking around that people are stressed out and work is often the cause.

What does all this mean for you? If work-related pressure is getting you down, what do you do? Quit? Re-train and change jobs? Grit your teeth and keep going?

Step back and ask a different question: As a believer in Christ, why are you working in the first place?

The desire to do productive, meaningful work is in our D-N-A. In fact, when God created Adam and Eve, He immediately set them to work naming the animals, and tending His beautiful garden.

Unfortunately, along with everything else, work was twisted by sin after the Fall. Now, instead of always being productive and satisfying the way God intended, work can literally make us sick.

In Colossians 3:23-24, we see the key to rediscovering meaningful work: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Serving God in your work, whether your job is secular or not, is the key to contentment on the job. The verse says “whatever you do”, so it’s not the work itself that matters, it’s the boss. And if you’re a Christian, your boss is Jesus, not you, and not even your employer.

For an example of someone who did her job as unto the Lord, look to the woman in Proverbs 31. We don’t know her name, but her virtue is clearly stated. She’s referred to as “A wife of noble character.” Her actions and attitudes are worth studying and imitating, no matter who you are.

  • One characteristic of this Bible hero that stands out is her work ethic. You can ask yourself, “Does this describe me, too?
  • “She works with eager hands…” A person of noble character has a positive attitude towards work, knowing that diligence can produce many benefits.
  • “She gets up while it is still dark, she provides food for her family…” The Bible makes it clear that providing for your family is a primary responsibility. She takes it very seriously.
  • “She considers a field and buys it…out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.” Part of the biblical work ethic involves expertise – gaining useful skills and using them to benefit your family and community.
  • “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks” This hero is aware that living well requires strength and determination. You don’t get there sitting on the couch watching YouTube.
  • “She opens her arms to the poor” This woman of character is so successful in her work that she is able to be generous with her surplus. Are you working just for yourself, or so you can help others also?
  • …she speaks with wisdom…” A person of noble character develops enough experience to teach others. Her work ethic is the water that raises all boats, because everyone benefits from her industry.
  • “She does not eat the bread of idleness”. It’s pretty clear that a biblical work ethic means NOT being lazy.

The most important quality of the woman of noble character is that she follows and honors the Lord: “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”. Everything she does comes from a desire to serve God, and all of her success springs from this priority. We can learn a lot from the Proverbs 31 woman about working as unto the Lord.

For even more encouragement as you consider your own job stresses, remember Proverbs 3: 5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

You can also listen to a related podcast on this topic.

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