Few people in the world really enjoy their jobs. It is one of the tragedies of our times. Yet, did you realize your attitude toward your occupation has a lot to do with your reward in God’s Kingdom, as well as the spiritual character you build today?
Why do you go to work? Just to feed the family? Would you perhaps not work at all if you had the means to sustain yourself indefinitely? Do you work because you want to enjoy the “finer things of life”? Do you work only to please people, the boss, the wife, or friends?
Are you eager to be the first one out of the plant or office so you can do something you really enjoy? Do you as a church member think: “There is nothing ‘spiritual’ about my job; I am just putting in time until Jesus Christ returns”?
Let’s notice Rev. 22:12: “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
You probably have supposed this scripture refers solely to your “spiritual works” and has nothing to do with your particular job whether laborer, office worker, housewife, student or whatever. But the Greek word for “work” in this verse is ergon, meaning “toil (as an effort or occupation), doing, labor, work,” This is the same Greek word used in Titus 3:14,”And let us also learn to maintain good works (perform honest trades margin) for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.”
Having the right attitude toward one’s job is important because whether one is a working man, housewife or a student, each is being judged by his or her works and performance in these day-to-day tasks.
Yet, some members seem to think, “If only I had a “spiritual” job like the ministers, then I could really put my heart into it.” What they don’t realize is that as far as their reward in God’s Kingdom is concerned; their job is just as “spiritual” as a minister’s. And the ministers’ job is often just as physically tiring as theirs may be.
God is a practical God. He had a purpose in mind when He said “Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work” (Ex. 20:9).
But Satan, the god of this world, has permeated the occupational area of life with falsehood just as he has mightily influenced the religious and educational systems of society. Modern labor is constantly pushing for less work and more pay, greater “fringe benefits,” etc. The same arch rebel who spawned the heaven myth and set a false goal of a life of eternal leisure, floating ethereally on clouds, plucking a harp, with no work, no challenge, no fulfillment wants to influence God’s people as well!!!
The same spirit that has permeated this society can affect us and our attitude toward our jobs if we’re not careful!
There was a time when people lived to work instead of working to live. What we see in the world today (and to an extent even in God’s Church) did not occur overnight. But a Satan-guided evolutionary process has occurred which has resulted in bored workers, and has made employee unrest and disinterest the major problem facing employees in the United States and Western world today.
It is certainly not wrong to receive pay for your work. It costs money in this developed, commercialized world to live, to support ourselves and those who depend upon us, and to support the Work of God.
It is not even wrong to be rich, if God has so blessed us because of our own or our predecessors’ diligent application of God’s laws regulating financial success. After all, God does want to bless us. He inspired John to write to Gaius, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health” (III John 2).
The Bible also tells us that “A wise man lays up for his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just” (Prov. 13:22). But the point is that the accumulation of money should not be our goal. The wages and material blessings should not be ends in themselves. They should be considered as benefits which come along with first seeking the Kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33).
Many today worship money. A representative poll showed most people felt their financial problems would be solved if they got a 35% raise. Get, acquire, grasp is a way of life for too many.
Another poll, conducted several years ago, showed $150 a week would satisfy one man, while a banker considered a cool million a year not too much. It often depends on one’s immediate financial status. Such is the greed of human nature.
Notice the admonition in I Tim. 6:5-10. God inspired Paul to warn of “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supporting that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich (that put money before God) fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a (not the) root of all evil: which some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pieced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Again in verses 17:19, “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in (the) uncertainty of riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate (share); laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
So don’t’ work only for money! Seek God’s Kingdom first (Matt. 6:33) and “if riches increase, set not our heart upon them” (Ps. 62:10).
What is the most enjoyable physical activity in your life? Is a sport golf, tennis or skiing? Eating a steak? Drinking a cold drink? If you think about it, and are completely honest with yourself, you will admit that your happiest moments were during work real production, fulfillment, accomplishment, building. This pride in accomplishment is not wrong. Solomon advised that “a man should rejoice in his own works” (Eccl. 3:22). He was also inspired by God to say, “Whatsoever thy hand finds to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Eccl. 9:10). Put your heart into your work! Learn to enjoy it!
Some of God’s people, knowing Christ’s coming is near, have used this as an excuse for their lack of initiative and zeal on the job. Many have subconsciously thought, “There’s no need for extra schooling or trying to better myself on the job since time is so short.”
The identical problem was apparent among some of the ancient Thessalonians. Some in the church there “closed up shop” when they supposed Christ’s return was imminent. Paul had to severely reprimand them. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” Some had actually quit their jobs.
“For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But you, brethren, be not weary in well doing” (II Thess. 3:10-13).
You must work at your job as if there were years and years to go. That way you will be productive, fruitful and happy in your work, and prepared for Christ’s return! Jesus said, “Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when he comes shall find so doing” (Matt. 24:46), and “occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13).
This is actually the conclusion of the whole matter: work for God! Put Him first (Matt. 6:33; Ps. 37:4). This and this alone must be your prime motive in how you work, as well as the attitude you have while you work. Any other prime motive is wrong.
Servants (employers) obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as men pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever you do, do is heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Col. 3:22-25).
This is the starting place. Only by working for God can you properly reap the secondary benefits of work financial blessings, enjoyment of your work, promotion to your highest level of competence and fulfillment, proper relations with those you work with.
But most important of all, doing your work as if every individual action were directly a service to God is one major way you will be building the spiritual character you must have to enter the Kingdom of God, and receive a greater reward.
How about it? How does your overall attitude and approach to your job stack up in the light of what God says about working? How are you doing on your job? If you are slothful and lackadaisical in your work ethic isn’t it about time you “got to work?” Remember, you are not just working for another human being or corporation, you are working for God!