Happy Labor Day Weekend!
According to the Pew Research Center, less than 50% of Americans are very satisfied with their jobs. Of part-time workers, most of the people you work with say that their job is just a job to get them by. This is great news for Christians and provides a unique opportunity for us. The Christian who goes to work very satisfied with gratitude and contentment stands out against the backdrop of half the workforce who does not.
Labor Day Celebrates You, the Worker
Labor Day celebrates the contributions and achievements of American workers. A federal holiday since 1894, Labor Day is more than the unofficial end of summer. This day annually honors all those who work diligently to make businesses of every type successful.
What should make Christians the best employees?
Work is a gift from God. Christians should recognize that the privilege to work is a gift of God. Enjoying the good of his labor is one of four gifts God provides mankind. Solomon says that every man should eat, drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor – it is the gift of God (Ecclesiastes 3:13).
The wealth you gain from working is also part of God’s gift. Solomon writes, “Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-19).
Therefore, the Christian goes to work with a fundamental sense of gratitude. As each day dawns, it is a privilege to work, to receive wages, and be able to invest in others. Whereas many may view work as a drudgery or a drag, a distraction from what they would prefer to do, the Christian, on the other hand, arrives at work with a settled disposition of appreciation for the gift of God to work.
Work is an extension of one’s worship. The Christian’s work ethic is not simply based upon personal character; rather, it is part of one’s worship of Christ. Paul writes, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23). The heart motivation of work is to honor Christ.
Can you work to enjoy the benefits of the wages? Certainly. Can you work for the fulfillment of a job well done? For sure. Can you be motivated by seeking a promotion? Yes. These and many other things can provide motivation for doing a good job. However, the ultimate motivation for the Christ follower should be worship of Christ.
On the day your employer disappoints you… On the day your supervisor is grumpy… On the day your manager harshly criticizes you… On the day your assigned task is seemingly meaningless… On the day your raise dissatisfies you… On the day your coworker saddens you… On these days and all the others, you work hard because you desire to work unto Christ. You have an audience of one. You see past the immediate circumstances and work as unto the Lord. As such, work is an extension of worship.
Work is a demonstration of one’s doctrine. As the Christian goes to work, whatever he does, whatever she thinks, and whatever attitude gets expressed, in all cases the conduct, beliefs, and spirit of the Christian employee flow out of one’s functional theology. Essentially, the worker is a living demonstration of his or her personal theology. Even though he or she may confess love for Christ and claim to be a disciple of Christ, what one does communicates what he or she truly believes.
Paul discusses Christian conduct in his letter to Titus. He tells him to communicate the behaviors that flow out of good doctrine (Titus 2:1). In this discussion, he uses slaves as a cultural example of those who work and respond in a work setting. He challenges the Christian to be an easy employee with whom to get along, honest in everything, hard-working, and always faithful to the gospel that has saved him (Titus 2:9-10). He explains, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age (Titus 2:11-12; cf. Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:17).
If you say you love Jesus and follow Him, then your behavior at work must demonstrate that faith. Your work ethic, your submission to authority, your honesty and integrity, your attitude, and your productivity all provide proof that Jesus has saved you, that you walk in the Spirit, and that you love Jesus supremely. A failure in any one of these areas misrepresents the gospel that has changed you. Your ungodly behavior mixed with indulging your lusts distorts a clear view of the transformation in you by Christ. Ultimately, your work should demonstrate good doctrine.
Celebrate work, celebrate God, and celebrate the gospel
As we celebrate the American worker, take a few moments to consider how you either represent or misrepresent Christ in your workplace. Do you see your opportunity to work as a gift from God or do you complain, murmur, and grouch? Do you recognize your work as an extension of your worship? Does your work clearly demonstrate good doctrine? In addition, does your work magnify Christ?
Join the Conversation
Considering this past week, what examples can you remember where you lived either consistent or inconsistent at work with being a Christ-follower?
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