3 Reasons God Wants His Children to Work

God created humans to work

God set an example of diligence and work in the act of creation, Genesis 2:1-3. The text says “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done.” In creating the world He mad humans to work.

Genesis 2:5 notes that there was no man to work the ground. In verse 15 man was created and given work in the Garden of Eden. When the first couple sinned and were sent out of the Garden they still had to work but it would be more challenging.

The Sabbath

Under the Old Law, the Jewish nation was commanded to observe the seventh, or sabbath, day. The sabbath was a reward for work and a time to honor God, Exodus 20:8-11. Exodus 23:12-13 describes it as a time of refreshing. After the release from Egyptian bondage it was to be a time of rest and remembrance of their freedom from slavery. God did not intend for us to work all of the time but to take rest as well.

Purpose of work

Provide for our needs

  • Proverbs 12:11 and 14: Work of a man benefits him
  • Proverbs 16:26 – Our hunger is motivation
  • Proverbs 28:19 – “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.”

The worthy woman highly praised in Proverbs 31 is a diligent hard worker:

  • V.13 – works with wool and flax
  • V. 14-15 – works to find and prepare food for her family
  • V. 16 – invests in a field to make a vineyard
  • V. 18 – works late and has pride in her work
  • V. 19 – making garments for her family and to sell (v. 24)
  • V. 27 – she does not eat the bread of idleness
  • She is praised by her husband, children, the Lord, and those who see her for her faith and works

Be generous to others

Part of the reason we work is so we can have something to give to those in need. The worthy woman just discussed was generous to the needy, Proverbs 31:20. In the Old Testament farmers were commanded to leave the edges and anything that was dropped for the poor to come gather (the gleanings).

In the New Testament our work is tied to generosity. Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:28 to not steal but work to give to others in need. Notice he commands them not to take anything from anyone but to work to provide for one’s needs and to have something to share with the needy. He also commanded the materially rich to be rich in good works and generous, 1 Timothy 6:17-19.

We see examples of the early church in sharing what they had to help their needy brethren in Acts 4:32-37. During the Judean famine Paul observed that even those in poverty gave generously to help their Judean brethren, 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 11-15. They let their abundance supply what their brethren lacked.

To honor God with our possessions

There was an important principle in the Old Law: The firstfruits and tithes, Deuteronomy 26:1-19. The law commanded that the first and the best was to be offered to God. This was a great act of faith for it is trust that God would continue to bless their harvest and herds.

The gift was to provide for those who are in need or who are dedicated in service to the Lord’s temple. The giving action was to be done with the complete heart and soul recognizing God as the giver of all things.

Proverbs 3:9-10: “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”

Under the New Testament we are not commanded to tithe but are to bring freewill offerings and to be generous with what we have been given. Previously we noted how God wants us to be generous with what He has given us. As the offerings paid the expenses for the upkeep of the tabernacle, and later temple, and met the physical needs of the priests dedicated to its service, so our offerings today help us to maintain a place of worship, provide financial support for those dedicated to preaching the gospel, purchasing materials for our Bible classes, and helping our brethren in a time of need.

Proverbs 15:17 – Fat, Rich, and Miserable

Funny how we look at beautiful houses in nice neighborhoods and think of how great our lives could be if we lived there. Without love it is a well decorated prison where even the best food loses its flavor.

“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.” Proverbs 15:17 (ESV)

It was one of the nicest houses I’ve seen. Secluded with a view of the mountains, a clean blue pool surrounded by a beautiful garden, a porch made for celebrating outdoors, large immaculate rooms, and every comfort you could imagine. It was hard to believe that the husband and wife inside had such contempt for each other and were ready to divorce.

But I’d seen it before. Beautiful houses, well furnished, and miserable occupants: a husband and wife who barely talked without arguing, children alienated from their parents and one another, and little happiness to be found. They drove nice cars, were successful in school, business, and the local society clubs but had contempt for one another within the walls of their suburban mansion. One daughter told me, “everybody at church thinks my parents are so great but they would cringe if they knew how they talked to each other and us kids at home.”

I’ve been in homes where guests sat on hand-me-down furniture,  sparsely decorated, and if there was a garden it was probably for vegetables to provide relief to the grocery bill. The working TV might be on top of the non-working TV and, if the gathering was sizable, the place setting at dinner wouldn’t match. Yet you would often find particle board bookshelves filled with religious books and pictures of family past and present on the walls throughout the house. Arguments would be the exception, not the rule, as mutual respect and affection were evident in their interactions.

Not all rich houses are occupied by miserable people who loathe one another and some humble houses have contemptible abusive people. The size of the house is not important nor is the prestige of the address or the furnishings. The love the occupants have for one another makes a home. The finest food loses its flavor if eaten in a house filled with hatred. A dinner of herbs found in the yard will seem like a feast for royalty if you are surrounded by love.

Happily, the couple in the opening paragraph rekindled their love for one another,  found a deeper love for God, have used their house and their home to be a blessing to others, and help the cause of God in so many ways. And there is love at their table.

It’s Not About The Money

Would you prefer a job that was high paying but not fulfilling or one with average pay but enjoyable?

Some believe they want a high-paying job even though they might not be fulfilled by their career. This is a mistake that can cause a lot of stress in your life and you may find that no matter the pay you can’t stand the job. There are many stories of people who leave careers in medicine, law, and other high paying occupations because their work is not fulfilling. Considering that people spend most of the average week at work, it is worth spending time to find a career that will allow you to meet your financial obligations, give generously to the Lord’s work, and do work that provides satisfaction. Even the best fitting jobs have tough days and unpleasant tasks but the pleasure of the job overall will compensate for that.

No amount of money should influence you to choose a career that would include work that is immoral or immerses you in an immoral environment. Many Christians have changed careers later in life because they felt their work environment was leading them away from Christ. Some have become so frustrated with the extreme worldliness in some work environments that they simply found other work. Sadly, some Christians have left the Lord due to the influence of ungodly work environments.

A final consideration is choosing a career that allows you to worship God regularly (Hebrews 10:25). Choosing a career that regularly keeps you away from worship or even a location that is far removed from a church to worship with can be hazardous to your spiritual health. You might be able to start a local work in a remote location–which would be a good thing–but be aware that it is a tough road. The wisdom of God is evident in the establishment of the church as a place where Christians can be edified and encouraged and we cut ourselves off from a great source of power and strength when we are regularly absent from worship services.

As you contemplate your career choices, don’t forget to keep your relationship with God a the center of your decision. No amount of money will make you happy if you don’t.