In a national survey of 180,000 American workers, 80 percent indicated a dislike for their jobs. That’s a sad commentary, especially since people who dislike their work are rarely successful at it. It’s a lose-lose situation.
Dobie Gillies once said, “I don’t have anything against work. I just figure, why deprive somebody who really loves it.” In that comment rests a universal challenge: To put excitement and enjoyment into work, we first must be willing to work. The satisfaction, fun, and fulfillment we experience in work are benefits we can give ourselves.
I. A biblical overview
Work is not something out of God’s concern. It is a major part of human life that God takes very seriously. Work has intrinsic value - it is inherently worth doing. Why? There are two reasons:
A. God is a worker
God is a worker. The fact that God calls what he does work and calls it good means that work must be significant, that it must have intrinsic value.
B. God created people to be his coworkers
Man was created in the image of God and since God is a worker, man - created in God’s image - must be a worker, too.
C. The Bible does not differentiate between secular and sacred work
We need to dispense with the idea that work is carved into two categories: secular and sacred. Selling pigs or stocks or real estate or shoes not something outside God’s concern.
II. The significance of work
For the next few minutes I want to encourage you to think about who you are and what you should do with the rest of your life. When a person’s work consumes 60-80 hours per week, we had better ask ourselves some serious questions.
A. Why do I work?
Some people work for money. They are the living embodiment of the bumper sticker that reads: I owe, I owe, so off to work I go. We need jobs because we need money. We want to make our lives and our families more comfortable. We want to provide the necessities of life. That is a valid reason
B. For whom am I working?
Are you working for a boss, your spouse, your family, or yourself? Or, are you working for God? If God is a worker and he calls us to be coworkers with him, then our work must be for him.
C. Can you give all of your heart to your work?
We may not have the most glamorous or the best paying job in the world, but we can still give that job the best we have to offer. If we are coworkers with God, and God does his best, then we too must do our best.
D. Is it worth it?
Paul tells us that those who do their work faithfully, recognizing that ultimately we serve the Lord, will “receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord” (Col. 3:24). As far as God is concerned, a slave’s labor in the wheat fields, when done in faithful submission to God, is as worthy of a crown as was Paul’s preaching at Rome. It is something for which he, too, will receive a reward.
When we work for ourselves or for others, we have nothing beyond a paycheck and the material goods it can buy. These cannot ultimately satisfy. But for believers the thoughts of standing one day before Jesus and hearing him say, “His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master's joy!'” (Matt. 25:23) drives us on. That will be far greater than any Oscar, Pulitzer, Nobel, or Grammy prize that the world offers.