Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

What Does the Bible Say About Work?

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It may surprise you that the Bible has a lot to say about work, both God’s work and our work. Here are just a few passages for you to consider:

The “Creation Mandate”

  • And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)

God is a worker

  • And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. (Genesis 2:2-3)

Jesus is a worker

  • Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? (Mark 6:3)
  • I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. John 17:4

God honors all kinds of work:

  • Nehemiah 3 lists and names all of the laborers that worked together to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem.
  • In Exodus 31 God fills all of the artisans with the Holy Spirit to empower their work in the temple.

We are to be good workers

  • The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)
  • A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. Proverbs 6:10-11
  • A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame. Proverbs 10:4-5
  • Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense. Proverbs 12:11
  • In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. Proverbs 14:23
  • Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys. Proverbs 18:9
  • Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men. Proverbs 22:29
  • Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty. Proverbs 28:19
  • Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Ephesians 4:28
  • For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12
  • But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8
  • It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 2 Timothy 2:6

We are to do our work for the Lord

  • So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. (Romans 12:1 – The Message)
  • Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24)
  • And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)
  • Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. (Proverbs 16:3)
  • Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. (Ephesians 6:5-8)
  • So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
  • Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
  • In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Paul’s direction to older women, which includes the teaching and mentoring of younger women

  • Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. (Titus 2: 3-8)

Our work for the Lord will be rewarded

  • But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded. 2 Chronicles 15:7
  • Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! Psalm 90:17

We should take joy in our work 

  • I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. Ecclesiastes 3:12-13.

God helps us in our work  

  • And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God. Nehemiah 6:16.

A charge to pastors to do their work well 

  • Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15.

Are there other verses from the Bible that you would add to this list?

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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 38 years and a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Before retiring I served as a manager at a Fortune 50 company; I'm a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and 2 Corinthians 5:21 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

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