Daily Work - Your Character is Revealed
Through Your Work
Work, Work, Work!
Work – it is a concept that many dread, but work is not designed to be a bore, but a joy, not a curse, but a blessing. God instigated work; He made the heavens and the earth, all the living creatures, plants and man in six days and rested on the seventh. Some believe that it is their prerogative to work one day and rest the other six but this is not a biblical precedent! We are told to work six days and rest on the seventh and not the other way around.
Work is generally our first physical priority in life, simply because we have to work in order to survive. We spend the vast majority of our lifetime being employed so that we can buy food and pay our bills in order to survive and hopefully we will be satisfied from the fruit of our labour. For those who are self-sufficient, making sure the crops are sown and tendered is the biggest priority in relation to work. ‘Prepare your outside work, make it fit for yourself in the field and afterwards build your house’ (Proverbs 24:27).
Thankfully in the West, the vast majority of jobs run from Monday to Friday, a five day week thus enabling people to doing ‘their own work’ on the Saturday, of running repairs and essential chores. In Britain during the late 1990s and into the twenty-first century, changes to Sunday Trading Laws trapped multitudes of people into having to work on Sundays.
The only thing in common with work and laziness is that you can die of both; burn-out or rust-out! To think that the world owes anyone a living is a wrong mindset. Each individual must pull his or her own weight and try to get a job and hold it down. Someone once said, “The only place you’ll find success before work is in the dictionary.”
‘I went by the field of the slothful and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; and there it was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; its stone wall was broken down. When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest; so your poverty will come like a prowler and your want like an armed man’ (Proverbs 24:30-34).
The Concept of Work
In the beginning, God had jobs for Adam to perform, to tend the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15) and to name the animals. This was before sin entered into the world, which resulted in the land being cursed so that it had to be tilled with sweat and toil (Genesis 1:21-36 and Genesis 3:17-19). Let us never forget that, ‘In all labour there is profit…’ (Proverbs 14:23). Working is not an option and never has been. God said “Six days you shall labour and do all your work” (Exodus 20:9).
For most people the only reason they go to work is to pay the bills and sadly, for multitudes time drags, as they watch the clock and are desperate to clock-out at the end of the monotonous day. Work is a necessity and for those who have been unemployed, desperate to make ends meet, it is a luxury. Surprisingly upon retirement a good many ‘pensioners’ become bored after just a few months, not knowing what to do with themselves and return to work in some form or another whereas others have to be told to retire and prised from their addictive jobs. In developing countries where many live from hand to mouth, there is no such concept of retirement. You work or die.
Alongside the concept of working to live, is that all Christians should be working towards advancing the Kingdom of God here on earth. This is fulfilled by each individual playing thier part in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15) and doing everything they can with all their might (Ecclesiastes 9:10a). Your work on this earth needs to be able to withstand the fire of God as this is God’s test for the value of your labour on earth (see 1 Corinthians 3:13-15). Can you stand firm and say with the same conviction the words of Jesus? “I must be about My Father's business” (Luke 2:49).
Jesus said that, “…A worker is worthy of his food” (Matthew 10:10b). As those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:14), which practically means that churches (where possible) should financially support pastors, missionaries, evangelists etc. as a labourer is worthy of his or her rewards (1 Timothy 5:18).
A Day of Rest
The Bible reveals that we are to work six days and rest on the seventh and this is one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11). What day you decide to have off is your choice, but try to be consistent where possible. Some jobs like hospital workers, transport staff and services personnel have little say in when they can have a day off.
There is a saying which goes, ‘The devil makes work for idle hands’ which implies that if you do not keep yourself occupied you will fall into sin. This does not mean that you have to work fourteen-hour days, six days a week but that it is best to keep occupied.
A preacher from the eighteenth century once said, “Laziness grows on you; it begins in cobwebs but ends in chains.” ‘He who loves pleasure will be a poor man…’ (Proverbs 21:17a). Even Jesus and the disciples rested and they were very much in constant demand, Jesus said to the disciples, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile” (Mark 6:31).
The Bible warns about overworking and doing too much – it is not good for you. Moses was over worked with the burden of being the only judge among the people of Israel. His father-in-law gave him some great advice, to delegate responsibility and to have other judges under him who would reside over the lesser cases (Exodus 18:13-24).
The Bible states and warns that mankind should not to strive for riches but be content with what they have, whilst living for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31 and 1 Timothy 6:6-11). This means that it is not necessary to work extra hours for more overtime and bigger bonuses for the sake of buying new and improved unneeded gadgets or accessories. Why not consider giving more disposable income towards world missions and those in need? No man can serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24).
‘Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding cease’ (Proverbs 23:4). Learn to pace yourself and take regular breaks at the allotted time during office hours and enjoy your holidays, relax and put your feet up for a time, to recharge your physical and mental batteries.
In regards to hard work, it is foolish to burn the candle at both ends; you cannot constantly walk long hours and still get up early, day in day out without something having to give. Heed the warning of the psalmist: ‘It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late…’ (Psalm 127:2a).
Consider the Ant
The book of Proverbs reveals that we are to consider the ant and to think upon its industrious ways. ‘Go to the ant you sluggard and consider her ways and be wise…’ (Proverbs 6:6). The ant collects her supplies in summer and gathers her food in the harvest without being told what to do by any superior such as a captain, supervisor or ruler (Proverbs 6:6-11). The ant knows its job function and gets on with it whilst working for the good of the colony without needing supervision.
There is wisdom in work: to gather food to eat and survive which is what our ancestors did (hunter gatherers – living from hand to mouth) or up-to-date farmers and self sufficient landowners. Whilst the more modern concept, which grew out of the eighteenth century Industrial Revolution, took people from the fields into the cities to be employed, to earn money so that we can purchase food and survive. ‘He who works his land will be satisfied with bread, but he who follows vain things is devoid of understanding’ (Proverbs 12:11).
‘How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from the sleep? A little sleep a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep – so shall poverty come on you like a robber and your need like an armed man’ (Proverbs 6:9-11).
‘The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare there food in the summer’ (Proverbs 30:25).
I Will Not Work
The Bible is very clear that a refusal to work is sin and such a person deserves to go hungry. Jesus said, “…A worker is worthy of his food” (Matthew 10:10b) – not a slacker, but a worker. King Solomon wrote: ‘The desire of the slothful kills him, for his hands refuse to labour’ (Proverbs 21:25). The apostle Paul wrote: ‘Nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labour and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you…For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat’ (2 Thessalonians 3:8, 10).
In the previous Scripture, it states ‘if anyone will not work,’ and naturally, there are those who are physically unable to work (who would if they could) and these people are exempt and need our help and this too is biblical. For those who are able: plant and harvest your own food, get a job, earn a living to buy food, or go hungry.
The world owes no person a living and we cannot go through life living of the backs of others – for these minded people take heed, ‘There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death’ (Proverbs 14:12). There is only one-way and that is to work, ‘A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth, and the recompense of a man shall be rendered to him’ (Proverbs 12:14).
The wise virtuous wife from Proverbs 31 is an example to us all. She willingly works with her hands, she rises early to get on with her work, and she is good at investing, buying fields and planting crops. She helps the poor with the proceeds from her financial gain. She also makes and sells her wares, linen garments, she refuses to eat the bread of idleness and fears God greatly (Proverbs 31:10-31).
Illnesses verses the Lion
Some people have illnesses or disabilities that will restrict them from working and this is perfectly acceptable yet others, who are physically,
mentally or academically able, do not want to work which is unacceptable. There is nothing wrong in those who are supported by benefits when the
need arises, but some people refuse to work and make the most laughable of excuses as to why they do not want to leave their house to find a job.
‘The slothful man says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!” ’ (Proverbs 22:13).
The slothful mans says, “There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion in the streets!” ’ (Proverbs 26:13).
To think that the world owes anyone a living is a wrong mindset. King Solomon wrote: ‘In all labour there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty’ (Proverbs 14:23). Often this mindset is moulded as a child grows up into a teenager and is exempt from doing any of the household chores, such as tidying their room, washing the dishes or drying the dishes etc. For other young adults, who have never had to earn their pocket money by doing chores or by getting a paper-round or Saturday job, they will not learn the value of money and will expect society to give it to them. Some are plain lazy and idle who have nothing better to do than to think about themselves and their world and perhaps even their problems without wanting to do anything about it. ‘The soul of the sluggard desires, and has nothing…’ (Proverbs 13:4). Others have fallen through gaps in society and through no fault of their own, have simply not been shown the right way and / or have no role model to look up to.
An incorrect mindset of ‘the world owes me a living’ could be financed through crime, being unduly dependant on benefits or handouts; or living of credit cards or loans which can only last so long. The latter cycle will ultimately lead to a persons downfall and low self-esteem all because they have not learnt the value of money and how to manage it. Work save and buy. Don’t buy things with money you don’t have as it will cost you in the end!
Working to Help Others
The Bible heeds all believers to try to help other people when they have the ability too, especially fellow brethren. The apostle Paul wrote to Titus, a young pastor saying, ‘Let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful’ (Titus 3:14). Paul wrote ‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand that we should walk in them’ (Ephesians 2:10). These works do not get us into heaven as salvation is free gift of God, faith in Jesus Christ, but these works are a sign of our salvation as work’s without faith are dead (James 2:14-26).
Nehemiah, from the Old Testament was a team leader and godly ruler who led by example. He returned to Jerusalem under the divine command of God and the favour of King Artaxerxes who wanted to help his loyal servant. Nehemiah, formerly the king’s cupbearer was granted permission to return to the land of his fathers to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
On returning to his homeland, Nehemiah along with certain leaders, goldsmiths, perfumers, Levites, priests and merchants got his hands dirty in the practical side of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 3:1-32). Unfortunately, some of the leaders thought that manual labour was beneath them and sat back and watched. ‘[The] nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of the Lord’ (Nehemiah 3:5). Nehemiah and his team built the entire wall around Jerusalem up to half its height in the record time of fifty-two days as the people had a mind to work, even though there was much opposition to this massive building programme (Nehemiah 4:6 and Nehemiah 6:15).
The early church needed seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom who could be appointed over the business of distributing to the needs of widows (Acts 6:1-8). The church leaders commissioned them to this ministry of helps by prayer and the laying on off hands. These men served food and cleaned tables, yet their commission was high and holy and some of these seven, as the book of Acts records, went on to do mighty thing because they were faithful in the little and thus received promotion. If you fail to use the talents that you have been given, you may lose them (Matthew 25:14-30).
If you are incapable or cannot be bothered to do the mundane and the not-so-great things, like the cleaning of pots and pans or chair arranging for a Sunday morning service (1 Chronicles 9:31-32) then you will not be qualified for ministry as Jesus is looking for faithful servants (Matthew 25:23).
Whilst we are commended to serve each other, we need to be careful that we do not do our good deeds so that we can receive admiration and praise from men – the Pharisees were great at praying publicly, fasting and giving alms with trumpets sounding to get everyone’s attention, but Jesus condemn this type of display. By helping others we will feel good, but sometimes, people ONLY help others in order to feel good and there is a big difference. If we only help others so that we will feel good in ourselves then we have done the deed with impure motives.
If you are serious about desiring to do God’s will then you will need to be considered faithful. Have a heart after God, seeking Him and desiring to do that which is right in His eyes, but we should all be faithful, regardless of who are employer is and do a full days job for a full days pay.
Faithfulness involves a commitment that will not casually make excuses to be exempt without hesitation or remorse for the slightest of reasons. Jesus said, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” (Luke 16:10-12).
If you cannot be faithful in the small things of life, like cleaning your room, keeping the communal kitchen tidy, looking after your car, tithing, managing your finances, loving the brethren, witnessing to those in your hometown, then you are probably not faithful in many things. If you cannot be faithful in the small things that God has entrusted to you, you will also be unfaithful in the bigger things, therefore God will not entrust to you bigger works (Luke 16:10).
Do each task with equal determination and dedication, never quit or leave the job half done. Don’t run away if things are difficult as it is a learning curve and maybe God is trying to teach you something. Leaving a job because you have had a disagreement with the manger is not a reason to quit. Quitting is for losers – it is the easy option to run away. ‘If the spirit of the ruler rises up against you, do not leave your post…’ (Ecclesiastes 10:4).
However, if your superior constantly gives you unfounded hassle then maybe it is best to look for another job and hand your notice in using the correct procedure. But before you do that, spend time with God and ask Him if you should leave, as you are in that position now for a reason and perhaps God is trying to teach you something as ‘all things work together for good’ (Romans 8:28).
Do not hand your notice in until God had told you very clearly to do so, sometimes it can be wishful thinking, your flesh or the devil, trying to confuse you. If you get made redundant, or sacked (you may call it unfair dismissal), this may be God trying to get your attention. Pray for God’s will to be revealed (Colossians 1:9).
Targets, Goals and Assignments
Always commit the day to God, and any works, assignments, tasks etc. that you know you will be doing. God will guide you into wisdom and discernment as you commit the day’s affairs to Him. God gives people abilities and talents to do specific jobs, pray that these talents would come to the forefront so that God receives full glory for the work that you do as unto Him.
If you start a God-given project, a job, vision, task or objective then finish it with Him. If God has given you a task to do, then set a clear target, goal or specifics to aim at, not too big or too small, something that can be within your reach and fulfill your God-given assignment. Goals can always expand but you have to start somewhere. Do not allow your friends or circumstances to dictate to you what or how you should do it, take godly counsel and advice but obey God. Well meaning people can give wrong advice, see Job 12:12 and Job 32:6-10.
Diligence in Work
Be diligent in your labours as man diligence, his attention to detail, the quality of his or her workmanship is his precious possession. The apostle Paul writing to the Romans recorded: ‘Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord’ (Romans 12:11).
How diligent you are in your work is a reflection of your character. What you reflect is what you believe, and what you believe is what you are, or what you live and stand for. ‘Lead a quiet life, mind your own business…work with your own hands as we have commanded you, that you may walk properly towards those who are outside, [your lifestyle will earn you respect] and that you may lack nothing’ (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).
Less-than-perfect service is always better than the best of intentions, as it is all good training. The more you do, the more you will learn and the more experienced you will become. It is all part of your growth in God, maturing and character building that will put you in good stead for the future.
The apostle Paul wrote to Titus, a young pastor and told him to set an example by his lifestyle and work practices following the doctrines of Jesus ‘Showing integrity… [so that your ] opponent, may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. Exhorts servant to be obedient to their masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not stealing but being honest…adorning the doctrines of God our Saviour in all things’ (Titus 2:7-10).
The writer to the Hebrews exhorts the Christians to continue to be diligent in their work, not to be sluggish but to imitate those who set a godly example all the days of their life (Hebrews 6:10-12).
To be diligent in a practical sense would be to take pride and honour in what you do, as ‘godliness is next to cleanliness’ as the old saying goes. Keep your desk or work place tidy. Dress appropriately for the job that you have. Do proper study and research and hand your assignments or tasks in on time. Stick to deadlines. Respond to people enquires promptly. Return phone calls if you have promised to get back to someone. If you give your word, keep it.
Holiness and Diligence at Work
Individuals should pull their own weight, being diligent and faithful as if working for God himself, not needing to be supervised at all times. This not only reflects well on God in whom you serve but it also reflects your maturity. The apostle Paul wrote about the holiness in daily work life, exhorting servants (employees) to obey their masters (employers) in full sincerity of heart, working as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:22-25). ‘Whatever you do, do it heartedly, as to the Lord and not to men’ (Colossians 3:23). This whole concept means that you have to do your best, even when your job seems mundane. If you can get into the right spirit of the work, however boring it may be, your entire outlook at work will change, enabling you to enter into joy and time will appear to go quicker. On the other-hand, if your job is boring and unfulfilling then it may be that you are in the wrong profession and perhaps its time for a career change. What is the will of God for you?
Often we may think that our boss / manager / superior does not notice our diligence or character (holiness) during office hours, but you will be surprised. Anyhow, God always does, and promotion ultimately comes from Him, the all-knowing all-sovereign God. ‘For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south, But God is Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another’ (Psalm 75:6-7). On the other hand, ‘…Shame shall be the legacy of fools’ (Proverbs 3:35b).
The apostle Paul writing to Timothy, a young pastor encourages all servants (employees) to honour their masters (employers), to show then due respect otherwise their faith and doctrine is worthless and may even be blasphemed (1 Timothy 6:1). Paul goes on to say that if your boss is also a Christian (like yourself), you should not despise him or her but serve them just as diligently because they are brethren (1 Timothy 6:2).
Prayer and work go hand in hand as was the custom of godly German peasants who carved the motto: “Ora et Labora” upon the front of their houses which translated: ‘With this hand work, and with the other pray, and God will bless them both from day to day.’ For fervent prayer begets work, and work in proportion as it is faithful and realised that it is for God, throws the worker back in prayer.
Having a lack of diligence and a lack of pride in your work only reflect badly on you and will give you a negative reputation. ‘He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer’ (Proverbs 18:9). ‘Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed…’ (2 Timothy 2:15).
The writer of Proverbs 26:13-15 parallels a door turning on its hinges as a slothful man on his bed. He is such a sluggard that eating is a chore and he even falls asleep at meal times! ‘The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly’ (Proverbs 26:16).
All of your labours should be done as unto the Lord, even when your boss is not looking. If you are a student, a mother, a factory or office worker you should always do the best you can. To many people’s shame, they always try to do the bare minimum, this reflects badly on them and especially on those who claim to be Christians as all people live under the eyes of an all-seeing God who judges the thoughts and motives of the heart. ‘…Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God’ (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Accountability and Wages
Most people are employed and have to give an account of their work to their superior, so do your job thoroughly and do not cut corners. The apostle Paul wrote ‘Servants [employees] obey in all things your masters [employer] according to the flesh, not with eye-service, as men pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men…you serve the Lord Christ’ (Colossians 3:22-24).
Often at work there are deadlines to meet, certain standards have to be obtained or a certain quota is expected per shift, so pull your own weight. ‘He who has a bountiful eye will be blessed…’ (Proverbs 22:29a). ‘It is required in stewards that one be found faithful’ (1 Corinthians 4:2).
Paul wrote to the Ephesian Church and told them that workers need to be obedient to their manager / boss / superior as if they were working for Christ Himself. Not merely doing well when the manger is watching over your shoulder but also when it is their day of, doing a good full days work as to the Lord and not trying to short-change the company (Ephesians 6:5-7).
A good day’s work does deserve a good day’s wage. If you have negotiated your wage to your satisfaction and find out later that your work colleagues are earning more than you, then is it right to complain about it? See Matthew 20:1-14 – but if you think you deserve it then why not seek a raise, but beware, you may not get it or may even be told that you are not worth it!
When you join a company you will be on a trial period, often as long as three months and your wage may reflect this. If some of your fellow works colleagues have received a pay rise without having to perform any extra duties then you should feel confident to speak to your superior (or even his or her superior) and ask for a pay rise. State your reasons calmly, clearly and precisely as to why you are worth the extra money. Moreover, remember to pray for your superior, ‘…pray for those who spitefully use you…’ (Matthew 5:44)!
If since your contract has been negotiated and signed you are given extra work to perform or are expected to work longer hours, then your pay needs to reflect this. If you get paid over-time at time-and-a-half then this is an ideal situation to be in as some organisation will only pay the normal hourly rate. Some companies pay a flat rate per week or month but expect their employees to continually perform better whilst burdening them with extra responsibilities. This is not an ideal situation to be in and if you are overworked and underpaid then you need to speak with someone as soon as possible or seek the Lord about finding a new employer.
Procrastination, the putting of, a doing a job or task until another time is not wise as it may never get done; being pushed back another and yet another day. King Solomon wrote: ‘Because of laziness the building decays, and through idleness of hands the house leaks’ (Ecclesiastes 10:18). ‘He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap’ (Ecclesiastes 11:4).
The Israelites delayed entering into the Promised Land by a day and ended up entering forty years later! See Number 13:30-33 and Numbers 14:40-45. When they did enter the Promised Land, the half tribe of Manasseh, the children of Joseph procrastinated in getting their allotted territory, when all they had to do was chop down trees and drive out the inhabitants out of the land (Joshua 17:14-18 and Joshua 18:1-3).
Laziness and Hunger
The apostle Paul addressed the issue of laziness and scrounging in the church at Thessalonica. Paul stated that when he was on the Lord's work, he did not eat anyone’s bread for free, but worked [he was a tent maker Acts 18:3] day and night as he did not want to set a bad example to other missionaries or be a burden to the young churches which he founded. Paul went on to write: ‘If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat’ knowing that some of the brethren refused to work and were busybodies. Paul stated that the brethren must stop associating with these types of Christians so that they will be ashamed of themselves and turn from the error of their ways (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15).
Jesus said, “…A worker [not a slacker] is worthy of his food” (Matthew 10:10b). Those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:14) as a labourer is worthy of his or her rewards (1 Timothy 5:18).
Paul also denounces stealing and exhorts former thieves to get a job, to work with their own hands so that they may be able to financially assist others who are in need (Ephesians 4:28). Stealing is condemned in the Bible in all its forms. The apparent sweetness of stealing, taking someone else’s property will turn sour in your stomach. ‘Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man but afterwards his mouth will be filled with gravel’ (Proverbs 20:17).
There is a huge difference between someone who cannot work and someone who will not work. Anybody who refuses to work deserves to go hungry. The lazy man's field is all over-grown with thorns, he is devoid of all understanding. All it takes is a little sleep, a little slumber, a little of folding of your hands, putting your feet up and taking life easy and poverty will creep up on you like a prowler or like an armed robber (Proverbs 24:30-34). ‘He who works his land will be satisfied with bread, but he who follows vain things is devoid of understanding’ (Proverbs 12:11).
There is a world of difference between being lazy and resting. You rest when you are tired because you have been working hard. But, people are lazy because they do not want to work; therefore they quickly become bored and then feel tired. ‘Slothfulness casts one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger’ (Proverbs 19:15).
Sleep Verses Rest
Laziness or slothfulness is a sin which will lead people towards their own destruction as, ‘The way of the slothful man is like a hedge of thorns but the way of the upright is a highway’ (Proverbs 15:19).
Having too much sleep is just as bad as having too little as you will not be able to live to your full potential – Jesus and His disciples often rose early to spend time with God before the business of the days activity caught up with them (Mark 1:35, Mark 16:2 and John 8:2). Have you ever asked the question, “How much sleep do I need so that I can work effectively?”
By having too much sleep, the more you will want, and that can turn you into a lethargic person. The more lethargic you get, the more sleep you will want – it is a vicious cycle to fall into. ‘Slothfulness casts one into a deep sleep…’ (Proverbs 19:15a). Laziness grows on you; it begins in cobwebs but ends in chains. ‘Do not love sleep less you come to poverty…’ (Proverbs 20:13a).
Some people need more sleep than others. If you have a lot on your mind or are under pressure, it can be difficult to get to sleep so the best thing to do is to try and unwind and relax before you go to bed. Try reading a little, watching some sensible television or listening to some soothing music. ‘The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much…’ (Ecclesiastes 5:12a).
Sacred Versus Secular Employment
The view of sacred employment versus the secular employment gives an unbalance view of the church, individuals and outreach. The individual who is part of the Body of Christ does not cease to be part of the Body in their secular employment, they may be the missionary in disguise. After all, the apostle Paul was a ‘tent maker’ who still found time to go from home to home, market place to market place and shared to the good news with those he came into contact with, with a few signs and wonders thrown in as attestation of the powerful transforming message of Jesus Christ! The message is the same; God is the same; why not through people like us? Let us step out in faith and obedience. God is interested in all the young people at your school or college just as much as the youth group in which you may attend. God is interested in all the factory workers down the road, just as much as our local congregation and those who you serve on the tills or at the bank.
Being a disciple of Christ Jesus means that your whole life has been given over to the Master. It is not a case of Sunday is for God and the other six days are for yourself. Holy, spiritual and anointed Christians work amongst us, in a variety of occupations from butchers to bankers, to judges to jewellers, from evangelist to entrepreneurs.
As an average, ninety percent of the people we meet from one day to the next and interact with do not know Jesus, they do not attend church and live on the other side of the fence. We all have our part to play. We have all been called to go and tell, to be faithful, and we must sow the seed of the good news and allow God to bring the increase as it is watered with faithful persistent prayer.
As individuals, we have to realise the potential that each one of us has in the place that God has assigned to us whether it be, school, college, work or even whilst on holiday. We need to live as salt and light, so that people can see that our faith is not merely a Sunday faith, but a weekly, monthly and annual faith that permeates our whole lifestyle.
Bosses, Managers and Employers
If you are in charge of personnel then look after them and take an interest in their wellbeing as a happy workforce will always produce a higher quality of work. ‘Be diligent to know the state of your flock [workforce]’ (Proverbs 27:23).
Lazy or incompetent personnel must be warned so that they have the opportunity to amend their ways. But show no partiality in correcting them and do not threaten your employees or those under your care. ‘Masters [supervisors and mangers etc.] ‘Give up threatening, knowing you’re your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him’ (Ephesians 6:9). Any form of superior should never take advantage off, or be heavy-handed with the person who is under them. ‘Not being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples…’ (1 Peter 5:3).
A good day’s work deserves a good day’s wage. In the UK for those over eighteen there is a minimum wage, but sadly in other countries many people are exploited and expected to work very long hours for very little money. ‘Masters give your servants what is just and fair, knowing that you have a Master in heaven’ (Colossians 4:1).
Many of the clothes and goods in British shops come from sweatshops in the Far East, especially designer labels that are sold at extravagant prices, yet cosy a pittance to make. All shops and companies have an obligation to their customers (when you ask them) to find out the employee conditions from where their goods are ordered, subcontracted and made. Major sports labels and other ethically aware companies routinely do inspections of these factories so see if their code of conduct is being adhered too, as to be seen as selling exploitive goods is detrimental to the companies image.
‘You shall not defraud your neighbour nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning’ (Leviticus 19:13).
‘You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy…each day you shall give him his wages, and not let the sun go down on it, for he is poor and has set his heart on it; less he cry out against you to the Lord and it be sin to you’ (Deuteronomy 24:14-15).
‘Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. Do not say to you neighbour, “Go, and come back and tomorrow I will give it,” When you have it with you’ (Proverbs 3:27-28).
‘Jesus said, “You know the commandments…do not steal…do not defraud…” (Mark 10:19).
Jesus said, “Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to who customs are due [wages to whom wages are due]…Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves has fulfilled the law…you shall not steal…you shall not covet…are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Love does no harms to its neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilment of the law” (Romans 13:7-10).
‘Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries are coming upon you!’ ‘Indeed the wages of the labourers who mowed your fields which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers has reached the ears of the Lord of the Sabaoth’ (James 5:1, 4).
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